June 29, 2005

The Leo Burnett Man Study.

The Leo Burnett ad agency recently released a study, based on interviews with over 2,000 men in 13 countries, about attitudes about masculinity.
Overall, findings from the Leo Burnett Man Study highlight the disruption of men’s sense of identity due to profound social and structural changes taking place across the globe. The study confirmed that men in most parts of the world are unsure of what’s expected of them in society, with half of those surveyed saying they felt their role in society was unclear. Additionally, a stunning 74 per cent said they believe the images of men in advertising are out of touch with reality.

"As the world is drifting toward a more feminine perspective, many of the social constructs men have taken for granted are undergoing significant shifts or being outright dismantled. It’s a confusing time, not just for men, but for marketers as well as they try to target and depict men meaningfully," said Bernardin.

The study revealed the existence of a "New Male Spectrum," characterised on one end by enlightened, evolved, modern men - or what have been popularly dubbed "metrosexuals," and on the other end, entrenched, more traditionally masculine "retrosexuals" who cling steadfastly to stereotypical male behavior. Both groups are engaged by the gender debate and see themselves in terms relative to women: either they’re more like women (Metros) or they’re aggressively asserting their difference from women, (Retros).

The agency cautioned marketers against becoming fixated on these men who are adapting - or not - to women’s new power and influence in society. According to the Man Study, fewer than 40 per cent of men define themselves this way: the majority of men surveyed (60 per cent) aren’t caught up in this gender debate and live by a more traditional set of standards for assessing their masculinity.

19 comments:

Meade said...

The greatest insult to a man, according to those surveyed, is that "He’ll never amount to anything" (29 per cent), followed by "Everyone laughs behind your back" (24 per cent) and "You’re stupid" (21 per cent).

"Yeah, but I'm President of the United States and you guys aren't."

Jeff said...

"..the world is drifting toward a more feminine perspective...'

"drifting"? Or being driven to?

Goesh said...

or " X has limp lettuce" but I think that is usually written in women's bathrooms with a man's name attached

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, I noticed that "drifting," and it offended me because of the way it suggests that femininity is a sort of loss of direction and determination -- where you end up when your floating, at sea, and can't steer.

vnjagvet said...

I guess there is something to be said for being a "senior citizen".

I think I am too far gone to change from hetero to metro back to retro.

Having lived the past thirty or so years with varying combinations of wife, five daughters, mother in law and now back to wife alond, I am not tempted to change persona. No one would believe it if I suddenly became "sensitive".

Curmudgeonism is alive and well here, thank you very much.

the wolf said...

Let's see...metrosexuals are "evolved" and "enlightened?" I think I found the problem.

Drethelin said...

I find it stunning that they find stunning the fact that most men believe images in advertising are unrealistic. Seriously, who the fuck believes advertising is in any way meant to advertise the real world? Especially if you use commercials for things like the Axe Effect as examples of behavior for men.

Joe said...

Curmudgeons are underrated, but get horrific press because they are the natural enemy of the PR Man.

HaloJonesFan said...

"We are a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need."

Pogo said...

Feminists have long argued that the portrayal of women in advertising and media was sexist, misogynist, confining, and wrong. Things have changed, albeit not necessarily for the better. My daughter sees 'empowered' women in films and TV shows, although intermixed with some inanities better suited to 1967. Good; she knows the difference.

My young sons, in contrast, are exposed to a hefty dose of man-bashing. Men are stupid, too dumb to care for themselves regarding buying food, cleaning supplies, medicines, ...well, everything. Anything men can do, women can do better. All men are rapists, or might be. You never know. Men are thugs, criminals, evil masterminds, bed-hopping movie stars, or cry-baby athletes. Boys stink; throw rocks at them. Women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. Unless they're gay, and then they're OK. It's cool to be gay.

One need only look at the state of the male in the urban black culture to discover what happens when this pattern of thought is widespread. Black males have no discernable role. 25% spend time in prison. Their only role models are selfish athlete child-men, and thug-rapper-misogynist-criminals.

Please avoid the suggestion that somehow I am blaming women for this outcome. There is no culprit as such; assigning blame is pointless. But we best look at where we are,and where this anti-male mindset is headed. For if men have no good societal roles to fill, they'll still find roles to fill, but they won't be good.

Freeman Hunt said...

Are there any women who find femininity in men (to the point of being "metro) attractive?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that you have to define what feminine males are, and that is not clear. For example, first fight with long time erstwhile girlfriend was over cooking over a grill. To her, guy's grill. I was not masculine because I couldn't (or actually, didn't really want to). To me, grilling is a female role, as my 83 year old father has never done such. My mother proudly did all the cooking.

I find interesting that she and my ex react to being somewhat masculine themselves quite differently. Ex married (after me) a guy who stays at home, paints, cooks, etc. Girlfriend goes the opposite direction, being most attracted to the biggest, most (stupidly in my view) macho guys out there.

Ann Althouse said...

Freeman: If that quality Johnny Depp has is feminity, then, absolutely yes.

Bruce Hayden said...

Girlfriend gets quite heated when I call her 3 1/2 year old grandson a girly boy. His younger brother is not. But they are being raised by a single mother and her single grandmother. Ultra polite. Opening doors and helping grandma into the car already. But just roll over a tiny bit too hard on the older one, and he cries and asks that I not be so rough. Younger one doesn't have this problem - he has an older brother always whacking him instead.

At one level, this older one is perfectly positioned to do well in a more feminine world. The teachers love him - so polite, smart, etc. Wants to please.

And yet, I don't think that it is in his advantage in the long run. Males (like dogs, etc.) sense weakness and exploit it. I see this starting fairly quickly in school. But I see it in my life as an attorney. Plenty of times that you might consider crying - but can't, because if you, as a male do, in public, before your opponents, bosses, etc., you will evermore be seen as weak. And in most organizations, all the women there can't protect you from the other men.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Bruce: You should never call a boy a girly-boy. Period. You are doing him psychological harm. In fact there is no reason for that term to be in the vocabulary of anyone dealing with a child. Even if it is not within his hearing, ripple effects can still occur, a climate develops around the child. Children become what people say about them. If you want to influence him to make him more masculine, do so in a positive -- yes, a gentle -- way by encouraging him in masculine activities. And if he can't be influenced in that direction, then calling him names will only add to his burden. I don't like to criticize or interfere with other people's childraising, but this sends out loud alarms in me.

Pogo said...

richard,
Absolutely keerect on the need to avoid calling a boy that name. At a minimum, such epithets routinely fail to cause the desired reaction (i.e. adopting a more manly tone/appearance/activity). While disparaging one's intelligence or calling someone a loser might spur them to fight against such appraisals in order to prove someone wrong, it usually fails, much along the line of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Moreover, the child will always despise you for it, even if you are never aware of that. and not undeservedly, I might add.

Pogo said...

Johnny Cash sang "A Boy Named Sue" about this very topic.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman: If that quality Johnny Depp has is feminity, then, absolutely yes.

In his case and on sight I agree. But would he still seem attractive if you were to see or thnk of him primping and preening each morning? (Note: I mean sexual attraction not aesthetic attraction.)

JB said...

The agency cautioned marketers against becoming fixated on these men who are adapting - or not - to women’s new power and influence in society. According to the Man Study, fewer than 40 per cent of men define themselves this way: the majority of men surveyed (60 per cent) aren’t caught up in this gender debate and live by a more traditional set of standards for assessing their masculinity.


Isn't that a lot more masculine than saying..."I'm a retrosexual or some such thing anyways?

That 60 percent is..."what assess what? What the heck kind of a idiotic question is that. Whatever."

(Can I just say though that breaking up concrete with a sledgehammer is disturbingly fun, and a lot more...masculine than assessing your masculinity. Although, it's probably defeats the point listening to Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer while breaking it up.)