Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fashion Nonsense

This is why I believe real news doesn’t exist anymore… at least not in any consistent form.
If you want to read my little rant please read the entire article first.
Move over Rambo, you're cramping new man's style
Okay, does the article even make any sense? Probably not, this is AFP after all and a feature story on fashion no less. First of all, I wonder exactly what the so-called study told these people.

I suspect that most folks who want to swap girlfriends, wives, or (to use the ever ambiguous term) partners are not in the habit of wearing tailored suits to business meetings, a simple blue shirt to the factory, or a flannel shirt to the lake. Of course, that’s pretty presumptuous of me… whatever.

Even the title sounds silly and clearly written by a Frenchman. “Move over Rambo”?!?!?! Rambo left the common consciousness about ten years ago, Froggie. This is lazy writing and lazy thinking… or the kind of thinking that looks down the long, gin-blossomed nose of a condescending Frenchman… or any non-English speaking European. Later in the article the writer holds up Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone as some kind of familiar name and image for the modern man. I’m sure the writer and the interviewee thinks so… such folks love to think these guys represent us in America. They probably believe it fits because both men do not appear to be very articulate… at least not at first glance anyway. (Just remember Arnold’s speech at the Republican Convention last year.) If you want modern men with bulk, known for being tough guys just look to the Rock (who has a great sense of humor, by the way), Vin Disel, maybe Ving Rhames and Michael Clarke Duncan… all of whom have yet to really become TV and film icons as big guys but they fit the physical mold. The long and the short of it… you Euros are SO stuck in the 1980s. Considering they are in the fashion business, that’s pretty funny.

PARIS (AFP) - Macho man is an endangered species, with today's male more likely to opt for a pink flowered shirt and swingers' clubs than the traditional role as family super-hero, fashion industry insiders say.

What a horrible sentence. I guess fashion industry insiders believe certain people prefer wearing a specific style of shirt to raising a family. (As opposed to the fashion industry’s outsiders?) No wonder why this industry has long since lost the pulse of normal people.

If you look ahead you’ll notice the study actually focused on young men aged 20 to 35… and European men at that. Sort of makes the lead graph look over-generalized. Hey, that’s modern news for you! ;)
"The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned," said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency's managing director.

Instead today's males are turning more towards "creativity, sensitivity and multiplicity," as seen already in recent seasons on the catwalks of Paris and Milan.
What a load of nonsense. Le Louet claims authority, infallibility, virility, and strength are traditional male values. (How would he know, he’s French? Not really a culture known for authority, infallibility, and strength… although we all know how virile the French are, they’d bonk anything.) He then suggests that creativity and sensitivity are not traditional male virtues and thus implies that a male cannot hold qualities from either group. Those two sets are hardly polar opposites.

Now I’m not sure, but I suspect Le Louet may use the qualities of creativity, sensitivity, and multiplicity (whatever that is) as a euphemism for something he leaves unsaid. What could it be? Hmmm… promiscuity? Maybe homosexuality? (Obviously, the two are not mutually exclusive, but folks say there is some cross-over.)

So this Le Louet is suggesting that more young adult Euro guys want to dress a little more fashionable and have access to a wider color scheme? I guess that suggests creativity and sensitivity. Wow, I’ve got a nice light purple shirt in by wardrobe… apparently I’m in touch with my feelings and I want to jump my friend’s wife.

Look, folks have been saying that men are getting away from the macho image and moving toward their sensitive or feminine side for quite some time. I seem to recall hearing this as a kid in the70s… not to mention in the 80s, the 90s, and a couple of times since 2000. Someone always pushes the concept that strong (and traditional) male images won’t fit in the modern day.

“As seen… on the catwalks of Paris and Milan”… when has that ever represented reality?
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are being replaced by the 21st-century man who "no longer wants to be the family super-hero", but instead has the guts to be himself, to test his own limits.
So traditional men don’t have guts enough to be themselves or to test their limits? Right. Tell that to Sinatra.
"He is looking for a more radical affirmation of who he is, and wants to test out all the barbarity of modern life" including in the sexual domain, said Le Louet…

Huh?!?!?! No man wants radical affirmation of who he is, unless he’s got no clue about himself. I’m only lukewarm on the idea of getting regular affirmation of who I am from too many folks, let alone radical affirmation. Who in the world is that clingy?

…adding that Reebok with its "I am what I am" campaign had perfectly tapped into this current trend.

So Popeye the Sailor Man was a metrosexual?

But even though society is changing, Jean-Pierre Fourcat, a director with consultants Sociovision specialising in discerning social trends, believes there are some common threads.

"There is an increasing desire for people to be in charge of their own lives, and an intolerance for any lack of autonomy," he told the debate.

People want to be in charge of their own lives? Wow, a real departure from the traditional world.

Today's consumer wants to feel pampered, but also to be able to take time out, feel good and feel alive.

I hate it when someone says people want to feel alive. That’s like someone saying they love life. What a useless phrase. “I love life… I want to feel alive.” Extremely deep these fashionistas and consultants are. Where would we be without them?

UPDATE: 8:35AM Friday June 10th, 2005

Lileks' new section, Screedblog, includes comments on this very article... look for 06-09-05, you're sure to see it.

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