'I've had enough!' my boyfriend exclaimed last weekend, whilst reading an article in The Sunday Times about the rise of the 'mansumer' (male consumer, fyi.) 'Who seriously uses that word? It's total bollocks.' Well, quite. For whilst I understand the credence of 'mansuming' as a social trend - female consumers have statistically spent much more than men, so it's an interesting development - isn't the word slightly... odious?
'It is a made-up, nonsense word' affirms journalist/active mansumer Andy Jones when I spoke to him. 'Why do male consumers need their own separate word? I even heard about a 'mandigan' last week' he says, sorrowfully. THAT'S A MALE CARDIGAN, FFS. This isn't the first time men we've awarded men with an icky nickname because they've chosen to, I don't know, buy a new shirt. Men who wax go for 'boyzilians' - which somewhat unfairly sounds like a procedure fit only for a Ken Doll, rather than a man who might just happen to maintain a neat bush. Then there's broga - the energetic form of of a man 'who would previously opt for tennis', practising yoga. This manages to offend both men and women, rather winningly, as it suggests a woman's teeny limbs are not suitable for high-octane yoga, whilst making a man sound like a total dick every time he clears his throat and announces 'I am off to BROGA, my merry men.'
This need to engender every word is patronising (and I would assume, emasculating) and I lie the blame entirely at the feet of the media. Every tiny change warrants a fresh lexical contraction. The need to award a social trend with a nonsensical moniker - like that of male shoppers (moppers? I mean, we might as well go the whole hog) - has become as cliched as the omnipresent accompanying picture of a chiselled David Gandy. 'The media is full of such odd words' says Andy in exasperation. 'No-one would ever use them in every day life, yet they always appear in print. Kim Kardashian 'pours herself' into a dress, a football manager has a 'transfer war chest.' I like 'sexting' [oi oi] because those two words fit together so seamlessly, but the others just feel like ugly surgery.'
We shouldn't be surprised. Ever since the 'metrosexual' neologism was coined in the early noughties to describe a heterosexual, metropolitan man - with a saronged David Beckham as the poster boy - things were only going to continue this way. I actually described my boyfriend as 'metrosexual' the other day - because he's well kempt and likes shopping and enjoys my own mash-up style - and then slightly hated myself for doing so.
I personally think it's great that the stigma of a man going shopping has largely been removed. The only concern I would have if my boyfriend began to spend as much money on clothes as I do, would be that he may want to divide the shared closet 50/50 (we're operating with an 80/20, right now.) That a man can pluck his eyebrows if he wants; do yoga; spend all day fingering fabrics in Liberty is great. Whatever dings his dong. But do we need to invent a new contraction for every single thing a man does, as if we were eagerly encouraging an incompetent oaf? Because, really - that's no more conducive to sexual equality than it is to comment on the tits of a female footballer.