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Culture & Religion

Why “Metrosexual” May Just Be The New Normal

A University of Cincinnati professor interviewed men in three cities and found that, despite different interpretations of the term, the overall meaning behind it isn’t as controversial as it was in the past.

What’s the Latest Development?

At this week’s American Anthropological Association annual meeting, University of Cincinnati professor Erynn Masi de Casanova presented her research on the use and interpretation of the word “metrosexual” based on interviews with small groups of men in New York, San Francisco and Cincinnati. The subjects ranged in age from 24 to 58, all but five identified as white, and all held a variety of jobs in the corporate world. The research, which was funded by the university’s Taft Research Center, is part of a larger study that will eventually be published in a book.

What’s the Big Idea?

Most of the men adhered to the aesthetic definition of the term — “men who were well-dressed and well-groomed” — and in general preferred to dress up despite the more relaxed dress codes of most American workplaces. Casanova also found that many of the interviewees saw increased fashion interest as a “still somewhat tenuous” bridge between gay and straight men, with some of the straight men admitting to taking fashion advice from gay men. This aspect isn’t exactly new: The popular TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” ran from 2003-2007.

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