Metrosexuality: A Personality Disorder?




Opinion.jpgIt isn’t simply about paying nearly obscene sums for your haircut, or ordering your theta meditation-delta sleep system pack from Amazon.com. It’s about creating an image of yourself as an exceptionally groomed specimen, dressed and odored to kill.

Nothings wrong with that at a personal level. In fact, current levels of permissiveness allow far worse than that, culturally speaking. But the hidden agenda behind metrosexuality, the ulterior motive, is best expressed by the term’s inventor, Mark Simpson’s description on Salon.com:

The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis — because that’s where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they’re pretty much everywhere.

If young Narcissus was immortalized as a personality disorder by Freud, isn’t it unfair not to accord the same status to today’s metrosexuals? Unfair to the rest of us, I mean.

In a world increasingly driven by social and community awareness, dedicating your life to look and walk like Austin Powers has the real seeds of triggering off a regressive evolutionary step. Increasingly fueled by the fashion and leisure industry, glossy magazines for men and advertisements carefully designed to subliminally merchandise the metrosexual lifestyle almost certainly have a profound effect on today’s youth, alienating them from today’s real-life issues that matter.

In Freudese, narcissism is the “libidinal compliment to the egoism of the instinct of self-preservation” or in simple words: the development of your “self” gets arrested at the level of obsessive self-love. Is metrosexuality any different then?

I would argue that its political correctness is sustained by our media’s dependence on advertisements as its life-blood. While metrosexuals represent a quantum leap in market expansion for the fashion industry, it represents a step backward for the post-modern psyche — minds that could have been better utilized for ‘real’ issues facing mankind. ASN (Acquired Situational Narcissism), a term coined by Robert B. Millman, professor of Psychiatry, Cornell
University, describes it as being:

…triggered and supported by the celebrity-obsessed society: fans, assistants and tabloid media all play into the idea that the person really is vastly more important than other people, triggering a narcissistic problem that might have been only a tendency, or latent, and helping it to become a full-blown personality disorder.

But today’s metrosexuals might be blissfully unaware that their much admired lifestyle might fulfill all the criteria for making it into the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), the holy book of medical disorders.

Sudip Ghosh, MD

Sudip Ghosh, MD, is a surgeon at the University of Manchester, UK and a medical writer.
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