The metrosexual is gone. Long live the 'spornosexual'
20 years ago, Mark Simpson coined the term 'metrosexual'. However, a new, more extreme, sex- and body-obsessed version has emerged today, he explains.
Lads who spent all their free-time pumping themselves up at the gym and posting their bodies online have been named as 'spornosexuals'.
Named by cultural commentator Mark Simpson, he describes it as men who go frequently to the gym, buff themselves up and post their body selfies on the internet. These men are said to use their bodies as the ultimate accessory and also enjoy tattoos and having waxed, tanned skin. They are often seen wearing skinny, tight-fitting V neck shirts in order to show off their inked skin and bulging muscles.
In 2014, as stated from last year's published news article from The Sun, spornosexuals were described as having the "sexed-up the male body and turbo-charged the male desire to be hot."The rise of the metrosexual was charted in the late 90s which brings us to the likes of David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo.
They were described as men who were image-conscious and weren't afraid to spend time on their looks or buy beauty products. However, this new generation of spornosexuals have combined this with individuals wanting to obtain the perfect masculine body and show it off online.
Mark Simpson believes it was a response to austerity facing the lives of young men in 2008.
He said many young lads turned to transforming their bodies as a way of feeling valuable to society. Though imminently, the word 'spornosexual' also describes men who has a body that isn’t exactly buff but still is sexy evidently.
"Towie’s Dan Osborne is the pre-eminent example of spornosexuality,” Simpson stated.
Just as male homosexuality was still stigmatised and partly criminalised way back then, the male desire to be desired – the self-regarding heart of metrosexuality – was scorned by many. Narcissism was seen as being essentially feminine, and while male vanity was at best womanish – it was at worst, perverted also.
A portmanteau of "sports", "porn" and "metrosexual", these words as described from The Independent, has defined spornosexuals as men who go to the gym in order to share eroticised images of their toned bodies on social media.
Although media interest in spornosexuals was first sparked in 2014, there is strong evidence which clearly suggests that more young men have been seriously working on their bodies and then posting images on social media for far longer.
According to the Active People Survey, one of the largest rises in participation in any type of sports was seen on a variety of 16 to 25 year old men who frequently go to the gym between 2008 and 2014.
In 2009, Men’s Health magazine became the bestselling title in the men’s magazine market, shifting nearly twice as many print editions as its nearest competitor, GQ. In 2014, sports nutrition products also increased their supermarket sales by 40 per cent. And we’re all familiar with men who post selfies of their muscular torsos on Facebook and Instagram. The Internet has all sorts of these glorious bodies of men circulating the web.
Grooming and beauty products
Metrosexuals and "male grooming" is still considered a backlash with at most confusion with its inclination to femininity. But still people failed to understand what was really going on with these men.
The telegraph UK has been blabbering on the momentous nature of the masculine revolution that metrosexuality represents which has been largely obscured by much of the superficial coverage it got. Mark Simpson points out, "Metrosexuality is, a paradox that have relished, not skin deep. It’s not about facials and manbags, guyliner and flip flops. It’s not about men becoming "girly" or "gay". It’s about men becoming themselves just as women have been encouraged to do the same".
In a study published at the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, they assessed to influence that a strong concern with appearance have been a relatively constant feature of consumer culture within a society. What makes metrosexuality different is the acceptance of many grooming practices - even products, which serves as a complementary explanation for consumer lifestyles and deepens pur psychological understanding of them.
This uptake by men of products, practises and pleasures previously centered around women and gay men is so normal now – even if we still need to be reassured with the word "man" or "guy" emblazoned on the packaging, it’s taken for granted by young men today who really have considered doing everything. So much that it can be too much to be taken entirely by the older generation of metrosexuals.
With their painstakingly pumped and chiselled bodies, muscle-enhancing tattoos, piercings, adorable beards and plunging necklines it’s eye-catchingly clear that second-generation metrosexuality is less about clothes than it was. Eagerly self-objectifying, second generation men have positioned their own bodies to become the ultimate accessories, fantasizing them at the gym into a hot commodity – one that they share and compare on social media.
This puts the "sexual" into metrosexuality. In fact, a new term is needed to describe them, hence the name ‘spornosexual’ is out.
But unlike Beckham's metrosexual ads, in which his attributes were possibly artificially enhanced, today’s spornosexuals have photoshopped themselves in real life.
Glossy magazines cultivated early metrosexuality. Celebrity culture then sent it into orbit. But for today’s generation, social media, selfies and porn are the major vectors of the male image of the ‘ideal’ man. They want to be desired for their bodies, not their wardrobe. And certainly not their minds.