“Hyper-Masculine” Fashion Bloggers Are Big Sissies

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.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:10 PM Women of America, Here Are the Cities Where You Can Find Marriageable Men
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 12:04 PM The Audio Book Club Debates Gone Girl, the Novel
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?