Being 'metrosexual' means well-dressed and well-groomed to most men
A new University of Cincinnati study has found that men in general were taking more interest in a well-groomed appearance and that they felt the term, "metrosexual," was a stereotype that had run its course.
The study by Erynn Masi de Casanova, a UC assistant professor of sociology, is based on interviews with men in three major U.S. cities: New York, San Francisco and Cincinnati.
Some men who were interviewed indicated that they preferred dressing up and looking sharp - especially on weekends - even though many American businesses now promote workplace casual dress codes. This was prominently reported in New York.
The word, "metrosexual," came up in the conversation when Casanova interviewed 22 men, who were white-collar workers in three major metropolitan cities.
"I was really interested in finding out how individual men think about social categories, such as metrosexual," said Casanova.
The label was originally coined by British journalist Mark Simpson to describe a single, young (usually heterosexual) man with a high disposable income, who worked in the city, according to Casanova.
"I found out that people had contradictory opinions about what being metrosexual was. Sometimes one person would reveal both negative and positive connotations about the word," said Casanova.
She stated that the majority of the men referred to the aesthetic aspect of the stereotype - men who were well-dressed and well-groomed.
The men also said that the term was being used less and less - that it was likely a buzz-word that was fizzling out, or that now it has just become a label, as more men pay more attention to their appearance.
"One of the interviewees said it's just a new word for who used to be called a 'pretty boy,'" Casanova said.
Casanova's interviews also found that the metrosexual moniker opened up a way for heterosexual men to enjoy fashion without being stereotyped as gay, although others considered the term a more polite way of calling someone gay.
Some men, said Casanova, saw the interest in fashion as a possible way to bridge gaps between gay and straight men. Some of the heterosexual men interviewed admitted taking fashion advice from gay men.
"As many men confirmed, this bridge seems to be a relatively new - and still somewhat tenuous - development," Casanova noted.
She will present her finding at the 111th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco.