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20th November 2013

Men’s makeup: eMANcipation?

Anna Sopel gives us her opinion on men’s makeup.

On November 15th 1994 a man called Mark Simpson started a small, perfectly groomed revolution. He was the first person to write in print about the ‘meterosexual man’. Fast forward nearly 20 years and the meterosexual man is everywhere. For those of you who have no idea what I am on about (where have you been?) let me provide a definition for you, the meterosexual man “is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping”. The poster boy for this revolution was undoubtedly David Beckham, possibly the most beautiful man who ever played the beautiful game. He was straight and yet unashamedly wore a sarong, a head scarf, painted his nails and changed his hairstyle as often as he changed his football boots. On an everyday level, you wouldn’t think twice about a man wearing gel in his hair, or lusting after a perfectly tailored suit, or even carrying a manbag. And yet, why is society so shocked, even opposed, to the idea of men wearing make up?

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I will be the first to admit that a touch of concealer has saved me on numerous occasions, whether it’s been to help me pretend to my lecturers that I haven’t been out drinking ‘til 4am or just to cover up an unpleasant looking blemish. Men should have the same opportunity to ‘fake it’ as well as we do, a spot of manscara, guyliner, guylashes, why not?  Surely this is the next step for the 21st century meterosexual man?

Head into your nearest Superdrug or Selfridges and it becomes clear that there is no shortage of male cosmetic products on the market. Only last month did Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs both bring out new make up ranges for men, with the latter proclaiming, “witness my brow and my luscious lips”. Tom Ford also told GQ that “Most straight actors I know get quite used to it. Even when they go out in real life they grab some sort of bronzer and they throw it on”. Although this may be a progressive step towards blurring the lines (…in the words of another controversial Metero man) of gendered fashion, most of the guys I spoke to said they had no desire or patience for “luscious lips”, but said they had no problem with guys who did. However sales of men’s make up would paint a similar picture. It would appear most men aren’t (yet) so made up about the idea of male make up.

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