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In a conversation about Spanx, I realize that men don't participate in that kind of body-modifying artifice in part because we police each other: there's a stigma, held by men and applied to other men, against self-beautification, especially done artificially (including makeup).

There's a sort of prisoner's dilemma here: so long as heterosexual men maintain a unified front, we preserve expectations that men are unadorned, and that being comfortable in your body is preferable to artifice.

But if we have defectors, then beautification through artifice becomes the baseline, and no one is allowed to be comfortable with themselves. We enter the self-loathing self-image that is so dominant in the female experience.

"Metrosexuals" are defectors. I honestly don't know how the wind blows, I'm not sure if this will really end up being a thing. I'm old enough that I'm past it, whatever happens. But I see this as a downside of liberalization, it allows defectors.

@ianbicking I'm not sure it's so unified. If you just look at hair, dominant male culture has been obsessed with various fashions for a long time: shaving, wigs, 'staches, sideburns all the way to recent chest-waxing and pec-implant trends. What about the guys who get their hair cut every friday? Maybe I'm a "metro" but I feel like there's been a range beautification based on experiment and vanity going on among most men I know who are seeking love and recognition.

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