“Hyper-Masculine” Fashion Bloggers Are Big Sissies

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 12 2012 6:16 PM

“Hyper-Masculine” Fashion Bloggers Are Big Sissies

Is it just me, or is the New York Times style section really interested in defending the manliness of men these days? You know the type: regular dudes who drink beer and watch sports games, but who also use a daily facial moisturizer and care about the thread count of their dress socks. Because, man, being interested in those things doesn't make a guy effeminate or anything. He’s just keeping it fresh for the ladies!

J. Bryan Lowder J. Bryan Lowder

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

In “Straight Talk: A New Breed of Fashion Bloggers,” Alexis Swerdloff introduces us to five dudely fashion writers who eagerly assert that their love of fine stitching and accent bandanas does not make them girly. Not one bit. Because that would be icky.


One of Swerdloff’s totally butch sources explains:

There are hyper-masculine dudes who “look at men’s fashion the way other guys look at cars, gadgets or even sports,” said Tyler Thoreson, the editorial director of Park & Bond, a men’s retail site.

“There’s the same attention to detail.”

In other words, these are macho fashion bloggers, writing for a post-metrosexual world. “It’s translating this sort of very-guy approach to something that’s so traditionally been quasi-effeminate,” Mr. Thoreson added.

While I’m all for more guys caring about the way they look, can we please dispense with the weird angst and implicit sexism/homophobia conveyed here? I’m hoping against hope that this piece is tongue-in-cheek; but considering the Gray Lady’s history with these sorts of articles, I can’t help but take it seriously. Why Swerdloff felt the urge to insist that these men “feel secure in their manhood” is beyond me. Indeed, as her lede points out, there are fashion bloggers who aren’t a “15-year-old girl with an unhealthy obsession with Rei Kawakubo.” They, too, are grown men (Slate’s own Simon Doonan is a fabulous example), but perhaps their implied femininity makes their equally (if not more) comprehensive knowledge of style somehow less valuable.

Here’s the thing: Fashion need not be a gender- or sexual-orientation-defined realm. Men of all stripes have always been involved in the business of clothes; a few more wax-jacketed types have decided to join the fray. Great. But is it really necessary to portray them as some kind of redeeming force? I’m sure most men in fashion are perfectly comfortable with their interpretations of manhood; after all, if traditional masculinity is defined by self-assuredness, this kind of defensive posturing and thirst for approval is about as sissy as it gets.



The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer


Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.


Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.