Ever since man is a man, his image of himself is linked to the idea he has of his manhood. Which, for thirty years, fluctuates according to the modes and the social changes. A story of skin and hair of which L’Express Styles spoke with the philosopher Bernard Andrieu.
From Cro-Magnon to the metrosexual, man has changed. Has the way he looks at himself and his own beauty changed? The researchers of the Nivea Observatory (scientific committee set up at the initiative of the brand at the famous blue box) pass the question through their Cahier n ° 9 entitled New men? Bernard Andrieu, a philosopher who worked on this study, explains why it is not enough for boys to be strong, but also pleasant to look at without feeling guilty. More than 7% of sales of men’s cosmetics last year in France: although the western male has not yet demolished all the classic markers of manhood, it nevertheless develops a growing taste for self-tanning and depilatory products. ..
Men are paying more and more attention to their skin, why?
Because they discovered pleasure there. Cosmetics today pushes men to establish a peaceful relationship with themselves. Touching and caring for oneself is no longer a taboo that threatens manhood, but on the contrary goes in the direction of a concern for well-being and a softened appearance.
So cosmetics has changed the relationship of men to their bodies?
Unquestionably. In the 1980s, the pioneers of male cosmetics introduced the idea that there existed a “male skin” and therefore specific products intended to maintain it, even to improve or repair the damage caused by excesses Of a hectic life. The era was to self-renunciation and care was part of this cult of performance. Beginning in the 1990s, the model of the generation “sensation” and “extreme sports” appeared, with the icons called Eric Cantona, Zinédine Zidane or Bixente Lizarazu. Cosmetics vary in its offer to stick to the diversity of communities and sociological tribes, and consumers begin to use care as the moment for a new physical discovery, a new hedonism.
Today, what are the models of male beauty?
There are two: the metrosexual, a major consumer of cosmetics, self-tanning, even medicine or cosmetic surgery, and the übersexuel, rather macho but tender. The first is embodied by David Beckham, whose image is built on the interbreeding of gay characters and a self-assured virility, the second carefully maintains his male attitude, beard type three days, hair more or less Bushy, but with less narcissism than the previous one. Typical example: George Clooney.
Men are said to be depilating more and more?
The more you control your hair, the more you show that you are taking care of your body. But, in fact, stalking is mainly concerned with those seen or those that are too white … In addition to the rejection of the “prehistoric” side of an abundant hair system, we try to erase the signs of aging, Synonymous with loss of vigor. Man’s problem No. 1 remains impotence. On this point, nothing really changed …
The reappropriation of the body also involves massage?
It is true that men are increasingly using them. Of course, because massage is a simple and natural way to heal, but mainly because it allows to discover its body from a tactile point of view. This is truly new, since in the West men have no sensory education, unlike the Orient, where the baths and the use of body oils perpetuate a tradition of pleasure.
In terms of beauty, what are the major differences between the sexes?
Since the 1970s, men have been talking to produce form, hence appearance, visible force. Women do it for a more global purpose, considering that it is also a matter of getting good psychically, and especially taking their time. This is hard to understand for their companions, who are looking for immediate effectiveness. As a result, they remain insensitive to cures or anti-aging care. But it is also due to the fact that man is still confined in his male image to the performing body.
What man for tomorrow?
For me, the three key words are: hybridity, self-health and holistic. Hybridity, because men will increasingly mix products for a beauty a la carte. Self-health, because everyone goes to heal by pecking in dietetics, cosmetics, even body implants (men already form 40% of thalasso clients and 30% of cosmetic surgery). Holistic, because they will gradually take into account all of their being in their practices. Cosmetics become a major means for everyone to affirm his values and his place in society.