Metrosexuals, Maneaters, Menchildren

Over at The Sexist, blogfriend Amanda Hess is totally ripping it up with her long posts on masculinity and femininity in the aughts.  And damn is she bringing back the memories with her entries on everything from pop tarts to metrosexuality, along with the killer pop culture and gender analysis.  Remember this guy?

Carson Kressley by Save the Children.
Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy Save The Children.

Probably the only triumphant fashion moment of my life is when Carson Kressley pronounced the outfit I’d put together of a rainbow bikini top, denim miniskirt, and bright red sneakers “absolutely fabulous” (his exact words, I swear).  Hey, it was 2003.  I had an excuse.

Or how about this particular piece of pop-cultural hilariousness?

Which raises all sorts of fascinating questions.  Such as, what happened to Mya anyway?  Why hasn’t someone sat down with Lil Kim and helped her figure out how to harness her enormous talent better in the second half of of the decade?  And why doesn’t Missy Elliot get more of the credit she deserves for generally ruling this decade (“Gossip Folks” for sure ranks high on my list of favorite songs of the decade, especially ones with lean production, and on my list of best Ludacris guest verses.  I would so go to a school where he was the principal.) musically?  One of the pieces I most want to write is a profile of Pink, the only one of the four blondes (her, Christina, Britney, and Jessica Simpson) to survive the decade with both her sanity and her artistic integrity intact without a single visible break.

But all of this is just random musing.  Some of Amanda’s commenters (on the whole they’re much less nice than y’all) have been complaining that she’s using pop culture tropes rather than so-called “real” people.  I think that’s sort of silly.  Pop culture is neither all-inclusive nor determinative of how we live our lives, of course.  But it’s an astonishingly powerful mirror of our aspirations and our desires, however lowly or lofty.  And because we spend so much time and money on it, it’s a strong indicator of what diverts us or encourages us.  Of course it makes sense to look to pop culture as part of our conversations about gender, as well as for our conversations about just about everything else.