Whatever happened to the New Man?

THE CARING, sharing New Man is a fiction dreamed up by the media and the advertising world, and women must carry some of the blame.

According to Kate Edwards, board planner at advertising agency Still Price: Lintas, who spoke last week at the first conference to be held on marketing to men: 'Women created New Man, but they also suffocated and killed him when they found him to be utterly unsexy.'

Men, however, bore the brunt of criticism. Research shows that while they may espouse egalitarian values, the reality is that most still have their feet up on the sofa watching television while their partners do the ironing.

Men are chameleons, according to Frazer Thompson, director of marketing (lagers) at Whitbread. 'What they think and what they say are not necessarily what they do,' he said. 'They talk, for example, about health and fitness, but it's strange how popular eight pints and a curry still are.'

Some men, it was suggested, were more careful about what they said or did in front of women because they were influenced by the climate of political correctness. But in the company of other men, they resorted to more traditional male behaviour.

The evidence piled up at the conference in London, which was organised in association with Marketing Week. Men spend half as much time as women on household duties. Although 75 per cent of respondents in a survey of couple households agreed that the task of washing the evening dishes should be shared equally, only 37 per cent said this happened in reality.

Fiona Stewart, a director of the Henley Centre, the forecasting group, said: 'Despite the more wholehearted espousal of egalitarian attitudes among younger men, there is precious little evidence that things are changing as fast as one might think.'

But changes in employment status may shake men out of their complacency, according to the Henley Centre. Men have borne the brunt of the labour shake-out in the recession. Employers have preferred to reduce the number of full-time jobs and keep on their cheaper and more flexible part- time female workforces. The Centre also predicts that over 80 per cent of all new jobs created over the next few years will be for women.

Ms Stewart said: 'What we are seeing is the steady demise of cradle-to-grave corporate man - in the past, such a potent source of men's identity. Such changes must have an impact on men's self-perceptions.'

Participants in the conference were reluctant to redefine man for the mid to late Nineties. Even advertising executives are beginning to eschew neat categories. Daryl Fielding, a director at Lowe Howard Spink, said: 'The New Man is an old stereotype, but we should resist the temptation to create new ones.'

There was one small crumb of comfort for British men. Their Italian and Spanish counterparts are even more hypocritical, according to pan-European research. Ms Stewart said: 'They go on about the sanctity of marriage, but they've all got mistresses.'

The British male is spending more time shopping, specifically for groceries. But this has been forced on many men as more of their partners are in employment, necessitating a re-negotiation of traditional domestic roles.

David Cook, who is researching a book on masculinity and consumerism, said men are repressed because they do not do enough shopping. Mr Cook, who recently went on a shopping expedition 'in aid of repressed men', argues that men need to 'get involved' in everyday consumer culture. They need to spend more time in supermarkets and fashion shops rather than car showrooms and hi-fi stores.

He welcomes the growth of men's magazines like GQ and Esquire, but urges men to read still more: 'What we really need is a male Cosmo, a male Vogue. We need to get away from that old suspicion that only homosexual men are interested in fashion.'

Mr Cook, who recently concluded a two-year MA degree thesis on men's magazines and consumerism at the Royal College of Art, says the feminist argument that women are manipulated by the consumer process may now be discredited.

He believes that consumer culture is good for both men and women. 'Consumerism has given women a voice. Now men need to get more involved,' he said.

Mr Cook is convinced that this process is already happening, but he has made it his mission to accelerate the process. 'Shopping is fun; it's therapeutic. It's the theatre of triviality,' he said.

Research by Lowe Howard Spink, the advertising agency, backs Mr Cook's claims that men are ready to participate. Men now account for 30 per cent of all grocery purchases. The grocery market is worth pounds 16.5bn.

Men are beginning to take notice of grocery advertising on television but they do not like the hectoring tone of the commercials, nor the frequent portrayal of men as bungling incompetents.

One man told researchers: 'All these ads are designed to appeal to women. Perhaps some women enjoy seeing a man belittled on TV.'

(Photographs and graph omitted)

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?