June 21, 2013

Data point: The multidimensional man

Posted by: in North America

As we outline in our new report “The State of Men,” men are coming to a more nuanced idea of masculinity, one that’s less hard-charging and career-focused, more well-rounded and family-focused. As gender conventions fall away, masculinity is no longer synonymous with womanizing or other uber-heterosexual traits, and indeed today’s pop culture has little room for men who proudly espouse such traits.

According to a survey we conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, men de-emphasize some traditional factors like physical or professional power, handyman skills and sexual conquests in defining what it means to be a man. Instead they focus on qualities tied to being an upstanding guy and being a family man, indicative of an era when fathers are much more involved in child-rearing. Our findings echo those from a 2012 study in the U.S. by Break Media, which concludes that, “Today’s man is a mensch” (defining the Yiddish word as a “good guy” or “someone to admire and emulate”).

Marketers will need to reconsider what it means to be “manly,” dialing down the testosterone factor and leavening hyper-masculine traits like confidence and decisiveness with some doubts and fears.

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