Tuesday, August 30, 2005

macho guapito

"Machos in the Mirror", my piece about Pinoy male vanity, appears in the latest issue of i Report, the publication of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. It should be available now.

Here's a little bit from the article:

"Can all this male vanity be laid at the door of celebrities like these and metrosexual poster boy David Beckham? Apparently not. For one thing, as I mentioned earlier, the Filipino trait of being vanidoso well predates Becks and his ilk. Besides, a metrosexual, by definition, is “a male who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance.” While it seems that we Pinoys certainly do make the time and shell out the cash for our looks, we don’t always have enough of an aesthetic sense to know what we’re doing… unless there actually is a segment of the female populace I don’t know about that really does swoon over pink, manicured fingernails on a man. I can’t be sure there isn’t, having never tried the look myself.

As for why we’re willing to spend so much time and money, it may, surprisingly, be a product of social and economic factors. During the U.S. recession, it was observed that lipstick sales shot up, only to taper down again once the recession was over. Consistent repetition of this phenomenon led economists to conclude that, when consumers feel less than confident about the future, they tend to purchase small, comforting indulgences such as lipstick rather than splurging on larger items like appliances and electronic gadgets. Correspondingly, Ricky Reyes has noted that more customers flocked to salons during the 1997 economic crisis in the Philippines, turning to relatively low-priced services like haircuts in order to make themselves feel better in an unstable living environment."


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