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.
June 29, 2005
The Leo Burnett ad agency recently released a study, based on interviews with over 2,000 men in 13 countries, about attitudes about masculinity.