What is happening in the world of male fashions? Are men redefining masculinity? New and somewhat feminine items are becoming the new fashion trends for men in 2021. Pink shirts and pretty handbags and even camisole tops. Are we ready to embrace this trend?
Women have forever been adopting men’s fashion in an attempt to add some elements of masculinity. But recently, in the Men’s spring/summer 2021 catwalk show, we saw strong feminine elements being introduced, transforming masculinity into a more feminized look. But this does not come as a complete surprise, as would the results of playing at a mobile jackpot casino might. We had glimpses of this during 2019 with men’s fashion trends showing pink handbags, kilts and even bra tops. These were, it seems, paving the way for what were to become future fashion trends.
These feminine trends are giving rise to more androgynous styling for men. We could call it “Girly menswear”.
Men are traditionally macho and are not expected to express their emotions. Expressing emotions, being softer and more pliable is traditionally what is expected from women.
These roles are changing on a global level. Women are coming into their own, involved in all kinds of traditionally male sports, like boxing, basket call and other contact sports. This may be challenging men’s traditional dominant role in these areas and forcing them to adapt to these new norms.
Being sensitive has never been considered part of a man’s basic makeup. On the other hand, sensitivity has always been associated with a woman’s identity. Male and female identities are becoming more fluid. It is possible that styling men in traditionally accepted female fashions and trends are allowing men to communicate the idea that they too possess female characteristics like sensitivity.
The promulgation of toxic masculinity
The idea of toxic masculinity has been around for a long time and in psychological and sociological discussions is generally associated with negative cultural norms which they say do not impact society and men in positive ways.
Traditional male characteristics like self-reliance and repressing emotions are said to increase stress, lead to depression and even substance abuse. Some particularly harmful masculine traits are said to be part of the accepted mode of behaviour found among men serving time in US prisons which could well be in response to the difficult conditions they find themselves in.
Of course, there are traits particularly associated with men that are not considered toxic like being good at sports, being a conscientious worker and providing for one’s family. Toxic masculinity was first coined by those involved in the ‘mythopoetic men’s movement’ when making a distinction between what they called “real or “deep” masculinity as opposed to those noxious cultural masculinity norms.
Societal ideas about men
There are a number of toxic male traits perpetuated by a society which centres around the idea of men having innate power and dominance. These are considered toxic because of their relationship to violence. For instance, misogyny, sexual and domestic violence. Promoting the idea that men are “just naturally dominant” makes violence seem natural and normal.
The psychological impact of this ideology
The “traditional masculinity ideology” has been very detrimental to the health, both mental and physical of men, according to the American Psychological Association. They would argue that “Men who adhere to traditionally masculine cultural norms, such as risk-taking, violence, dominance, primacy of work, need for emotional control, desire to win, and pursuit of social status, tend to be more likely to experience psychological problems such as depression, stress, body image problems, substance abuse, and poor social functioning”. We are ready for a change. Perhaps the time has come for men to re-interpret themselves.
The concept of beauty from a man’s perspective
It is estimated that the market for men’s personal care will reach somewhere in the region of $166 billion by 2022 – Allied Market Research.
There is a huge growth in men’s grooming. According to NPD’s iGen Beauty Consumer report, almost 40 percent of people between the ages of 18-22 are showing an interest in beauty products listed as gender-neutral. And sales of skincare products aimed at men have increased by 7% since last year.
In light of the data produced by NPD’s iGen Beauty Consumer report it would seem that young people today, the new consumers, are interested in a non-binary approach to beauty. Data from Euromonitor found that more than 56 percent of American men, who had responded, said they use some kind of facial cosmetics, either concealer or foundation or some other cream. In fact, last year Chanel introduced a new line of boy makeup, ‘Boy De Chanel’, into this blossoming male grooming trend. The line includes items such as tinted fluid in 4 different colours, a moisturizing lip gloss and eyebrow pencils in a number of different shades.
According to Brendan Gough, Professor of social psychology at Leeds Beckett University, who has been studying men’s behaviour for some twenty years says “Regardless of generation or age, these days, men are invested in their appearance to some degree”. He says there have been major changes in attitude towards appearance.
Men are becoming more interested in wearing makeup and it is a part of the daily grooming routine. However, makeup for men is more about skincare rather than about looking beautiful. According to Gough “Not so many years ago, the moisturizer was a taboo, and it’s now commonplace”. Men are now fully involved in most traditionally female areas like childcare and cooking and Gough says that “Makeup is one of the last bastions of femininity that men are encroaching upon”
Men and feminine dress trends
Today’s youth, Generation Z, will be in charge of defining the future of masculinity. Today’s young male personalities like Jaden Smith and Lil Uzi Vert, who often dress in skirts and feminine blouses are more open to gender and sexual fluidity, more so than the previous generation of millennials. “They’re now rethinking what masculinity means, what is means to be a guy, and painting your face or using skincare doesn’t make you a