Effeminacy is the manifestation of traits in a boy or man that are more often associated with feminine behavior, mannerism, style, or gender roles rather than with masculine behavior. Metrosexual on the other hand is a portmanteau of metropolitan and heterosexual, coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping as part of this. Traditional masculine norms, as described in psychologist Ronald F. Levant’s Masculinity Reconstructed are: “avoidance of femininity; restricted emotions; sex disconnected from intimacy; pursuit of achievement and status; self-reliance; strength; aggression and homophobia”. In contrast, there is also the view that metrosexuality is at least partly a naturally occurring phenomenon, much like the Aesthetic Movement of the 19th century, and that the metrosexual is a modern incarnation of a dandy. Fashion designer Tom Ford drew parallels when he described David Beckham as a: “total modern dandy”. Ford suggested that “macho” sporting role models who also care about fashion and appearance influence masculine norms in wider society. But what does that mean for relationships? Some women prefer “tough guys” and others prefer more sensitive types. Why? It could be because women face a trade-off when choosing a mate. In some circumstances, masculine qualities are more valuable. In others, a more feminine partner might be the better choice. The results of 15 years of research consistently show that women prefer masculine men more for a short-term fling than for marriage, perhaps because macho men are generally less committed. Or perhaps it has something to do with more feminine men being better dressed?
Story by Laurie Silvey.