Metrosexuals in Mexico

The term Metrosexual is explained by  William Safire:

"The promotion of metrosexuality was left to the men's style press," wrote Mark Simpson in the British newspaper The Independent in 1994, coining a term that has made a home for itself in the vocabulary of the new millennium.

"They filled their magazines with images of narcissistic young men sporting fashionable clothes and accessories. And they persuaded other young men to study them with a mixture of envy and desire."

Simpson titled his article "Here Come the Mirror Men," evoking Narcissus of Greek mythology, the young man who pined away staring at his image in a pool and was transformed into the pretty flower that bears his name.

Last year, the coiner defined the term in its expanded form: "The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis -- because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are." ("Metro" is based on the Greek for "mother," as in "mother country," and "polis" means "city"; a metropolis is a chief city, though metropolitan now includes the suburbs. End of tangent.)

Straight or gay?

"He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual," Simpson writes, "but this is utterly immaterial, because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them."

The term has been embraced by at least one sports megastar. (A mere superstar is no longer a big deal, as top-billing inflation roars ahead; keep your eye on "gigastar.") The celebrity most often associated with the word is David Beckham, the British soccer player. Beckham wears designer clothes off the field, has been seen in sarongs and nail polish and boasts a different hairstyle every week.

He is proudly and indisputably a dandy, comfortable with what is called his "feminine side" (on the theory that each person's personality contains masculine and feminine characteristics).

We will now make reference to the 2003 TGI Mexico study.  Within the study, we are interested in the sub-universe of 'young men', which is defined to be between the ages of 18 to 39 years old.  There are 1,962 survey respondents who qualify.

How would we define metrosexuals?  That is by no means obvious since no formula is provided.  Operationally, we came up with these nine items:

And then we define a metrosexual as someone who scored two or more of these items.  Among the male 18-39 survey respondents, 12.1% would qualify as metrosexuals.  For confirmatory purposes, we show the incidences by the nine attributes.  Since these attributes are incorporated in the definition, they had better be correlated.  Indeed, they show strong correlations not only with the incidence of metrosexual, but also among themselves.

(data source: 2003 TGI Mexico)

When we proceed to look at the traditional demographic profiles of the metrosexuals with respect to their reference group (males 18-39), we find little or no differences.  This is not really about socio-economic level, education, occupation or marital status at all.  For example, the incidences among socio-economic levels AB, C+, C, D+ and DE are 15.2%, 9.0%, 11.2%, 13.1% and 12.1% with no obvious trend.  By occupation, the highest incidence is among professionals (19.7%), followed by technicians/mechanics (16.6%) and middle/lower management (16.4%).

In the next chart, we look at how this configuration of metrosexual attributes translate to actual product consumption.  All of the purchased products may be considered to be up-scale brand names, and in each case the metrosexual are more likely to purchase them than the reference group (bearing in mind that this is not solely driven by socio-economic level).

(data source: 2003 TGI Mexico)

A major problem confronted by advertisers is that the new generation of consumers seemed much less interested in traditional media consumption.  Every television season seems to lead to more panic about the missing young men.  The anecdotal explanation is that these young men would rather go out to a pub or club than stay home and watch television.  For the metrosexuals here, we have produced the incidences among those who say that they pay total attention to various media (note: the questions were posed in the form of a 5-point scale, with 5 meaning 'always pay total attention' and 1 meaning 'never pay any attention.'  For each medium, the incidences are always higher than the overall average.  On second thought, this should have been obvious --- how can a metrosexual follow fashion trends except by referencing media coverage?  However, this does not imply that they use more media than the reference group.  Rather, they are highly selective about their choice of media vehicles to which they may more attention than usual.

(data source: 2003 TGI Mexico)

Reference:  Metrosexual man goes for a more stylish look:  Machismo king in Latin America, but beauty appointments popular

(posted by Roland Soong, 12/08/2003)

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