The dramatic changes in male vanity and sexuality
The only constant thing in this world is change… an irrefutable paradox of life. People, opinions, perceptions, feelings, relationships, and just about every other thing in this world is subject to change. As time elicit more changes, words continually change its meaning.
Even the centuries-old notions about male identity are now changing. Gone are the days when men were seen as Neanderthals who only use brute force to satisfy a need or an urge. Over time, men also underwent a process of refinement — through culture, education, and other norm-setting beliefs that were developed in each era of history. For example, in the olden days, it was common to see men wearing long gowns and tunics. This is evident even today in Scotland where men wear their traditional skirts that bear their family or clan’s “colors.” It is also true that in some countries, the mere sight of a man wearing something that looks like a skirt would automatically attract unfavorable comments and insults.
According to traditional masculine concepts, men are supposed to be unconcerned about fashion, grooming, and other so-called feminine matters such as shoes and accessories. There is, however, a new concept of how it is to be a man. New forms of “manliness” has been called “metrosexuality.” A metro sexual is a man who has special concern over grooming, fashion and other external matters that help improve one’s physical appearance or image. The term “metrosexual” was first used by Mark Simpson, a British commentator, to refer to men who always looks at a mirror in a clear demonstration of vanity. Metrosexual men, unlike the customary “dirt-loving” men, are described as having a strong regard for their appearance. It’s also noteworthy to see that these types of men have a “sharp eye” for fashion. Metrosexuals are said to be “aesthetically-concerned”… pampering themselves in salons, gyms, and other beauty-enhancing centers.
Metrosexuality is somewhat close to the concept of narcissism. The Greek myth of Narcissus, a man who loved himself in great excess is the origin of the word, narcissism. According to the story, Narcissus saw his reflection in a river and he grew to love his reflection so much that he reached for it in the water. Naricssus fell in the water and drowned. His love for his own face led to his own death.
Some observers of gender-issues view metrosexuality as a form of confusion of gender roles. Simply put, metrosexuals are “straight men acting like gays.” Others even say that metrosexuality is one of the avenues for “gay wannabes.” Those who are openly metrosexual defend their lifestyle by saying that their focus on fashion does not automatically make them gay. The firmly state that being conscious about clothes and accessories do not make them any less of a man.
But it is also viewed that metrosexuality should not only focus on externalities. Some say that this lifestyle should be exploited to promote sexual health. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health is not only about getting the right information to protect one’s self from sexually transmitted disease. It is also having the right attitudes toward sexual activity and relationships with the opposite sex.
Indeed, sexual health must be taught and promoted as a way of life, especially among men.