By Trilby Goouch
Meet the ubersexual male; your George Clooney, Jude Law, Ryan Gosling or David Beckham who exhibit the standard metrosexual tendencies (fashionable, well-groomed, obsessed with self-image) along with the addition of strong masculinity. I first stumbled across the buzzword in my Consumer Behaviour textbook, and as I did more research it turns out this ‘ubersexual’ trend is gaining momentum. The word was coined by the vice-president of the global advertising firm JWT (J. Walter Thompson).
Contrary to the ‘metrosexual’ stigma, the new buzzword has seemed to be received with approval by both men and women. Men tend to avoid the ‘metro’ label at all costs for fear the preconceived notion that they’ll appear emasculated. Yet the media promotes the ubersexual male, offering men’s makeup, grooming products, a plethora of fashion choices, and the celebration of sleek, lean body (as opposed to the burly and rugged male stereotype). Cosmetic companies in particular are making great efforts at targeting the male demographic, going as far as designing eyeliners disguised as ballpoint pens; this is ironic, as companies that are attempting to break gender stereotypes are simultaneously reinforcing them. Ubersexual celebrities, in other words men who have a slightly feminine appearance while oozing masculinity, are considered handsome by women and admired by men; what was once considered ‘feminine’ in men is now considered stylish and charismatic. Ubersexual men are characterized as leading very heterosexual lifestyles (think Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love), where waxing their chests, acquiring stylized cuts, opting for skinny trousers and even manicures are considered socially acceptable. The ubersexual unabashedly watches The Food Network, chick flicks and reality TV shows, while simultaneously being an avid sports fan. This challenges the traditional beer-drinking, burly, sports loving male stereotype that we have learned to associate with masculinity. Rather than assuming an expertise in art or fashion, the ubersexual is considered to be more in tune with business, politics and social issues; in other words, more conservative interests. The ubersexual male is said to exhibit the look of a metrosexual, with the mind and interests of the traditional, masculine male.
Like all buzzwords, this need to label is clearly creating a stereotyped, fictional persona; it’s not to say every man who wears slim fitting blazers and face cream is reading Vogue, nor is it saying that hyper-masculine men lack artistic interests. These buzzwords are a product of our culture, and like it or not, these stereotypes develop without us even being aware of it. Do you think these stereotypes ring an element of truth? It’s safe to say that our culture is exhibiting a shift in what is portrayed as attractive in the traditional male; the rugged Sean Connery has been replaced by the artistic, passionate Bono. Like all trends, these preferences and definition of ‘what is hot’ come and go; though I don’t see the average male sporting makeup anytime soon, our culture is witnessing a changing attitude towards men and the definition of attractiveness. Granted we all have our own tastes and preferences, but the media has selected characteristically ‘ubersexual’ men and placed them on pedestals.
Whether the concept makes you laugh or scrutinize our society, the media has come up with yet another way to define and categorize what is attractive. My next question is: what’s the female equivalent?
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