Skip to content

    Men's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ubersexual: The New Masculine Ideal?

    The authors who popularized the term "metrosexual" say a new type of masculinity is taking hold.
    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    The American Dialect Society named "metrosexual" the "word of the year" for 2003 after marketing consultant Marian Salzman helped popularize it.

    Now the "ubersexual" is replacing the metrosexual, Salzman writes in The Future of Men, a book she co-authored with Ira Matathia and Ann O'Reilly.

    Recommended Related to Men

    Andy Garcia Puts Family First

    Listening to Andy Garcia talk about his son's latest hobby, you get the sense that a toy caboose is just as important to the actor, director, and musician as the release of his latest feature film, Ocean's Thirteen, which opened last month to fanfare, here and abroad. "He plays a lot of trains," Garcia says of the 5-year-old aficionado, and then adds with gravitas: "He's an avid collector." Unlike some of his overtly ambitious, publicity-seeking peers, Garcia, 51, is a private man who treasures...

    Read the Andy Garcia Puts Family First article > >

    What's the difference between these two types of men?

    In a study they wrote in 2003, the three trend spotters wrote that "One of the telltale signs of metrosexuals is their willingness to indulge themselves, whether by springing for a Prada suit or spending a couple of hours at a spa to get a massage and facial."

    In contrast, they claim the ubersexual is less concerned with fashion and more inclined to develop his own sense of style.

    "Compared with the metrosexual, the ubersexual is more into relationships than self," they say. "He dresses for himself more than for others (choosing a consistent personal style over fashion fads)."

    Examples of Ubersexuals

    Holding up actor George Clooney as an example, they say the ubersexual's "best friends are male; he doesn't consider the women in his life his 'buddies.'"

    And the ubersexual is more concerned with principles and values. Bono, of the rock band U2, represents this, they say, by the way he campaigns to reduce poverty in Africa.

    In short, the ubersexual possesses what the authors call "M-ness," a type of masculinity "that combines the best of traditional manliness (strength, honor, character) with positive traits traditionally associated with females (nurturance, communicativeness, cooperation)."

    Although The Future of Men is based on interviews with 2,000 men nationwide, it is not an in-depth sociological analysis, as Salzman, a trained sociologist, readily admits.

    "I'm in the business of marketing," she told WebMD. "The job of understanding men was undertaken from the perspective of how we can do a better job marketing to them. I have no apologies for that motivation."

    Masculinity in Flux

    But by arguing that the ubersexual is already succeeding the metrosexual, the authors of The Future of Men underscore an indisputable fact of life in the U.S. -- the concept of masculinity is in flux, leaving many confused about what it means to be a man.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore.
    man swinging in hammock
    And how to get out it.
     
    shaving tools
    On your shaving skills.
    muscular man flexing
    Four facts that matter.
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Slideshow
    Thoughtful man sitting on bed
    Quiz
     
    Man taking blood pressure
    Slideshow
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    Condom Quiz
    Quiz
    thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
    Slideshow
     
    man running
    Quiz
    older couple in bed
    Video