The men of today The men of today

The men of today

For him 1 October, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

Men are now taking a greater interest in fashion, appearance and in responsibilities around the home. While their lifestyles may have changed, it is important to not let healthy habits slide.

Medical Advisors: Consuelo Susana Vivas Perdomo, psychologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare –  Amparo Salazar, psychologist

Social network users in Colombia are among some of the most active users of these types of platforms in the world. Almost half of Colombia has a Facebook account, 60% of which access it through their cell phone. Social networks are therefore a new reference point for people and in some cases, they can serve as sources for learning about current practices and trends. These interactions and new ways of communicating have shaped the generations of today.

Psychologist Consuelo Susana Vivas Perdomo explains that the explosion of social networks, the internet and access to TV series from around the world has had a large influence on the fabrication of contemporary Colombian men – men who like to follow fashion trends, exercise, eat healthy and follow international cuisine, shave their beards as if they were European soccer players and cook like French lovers.

In fact, for many years, plastic surgeries were thought to be only appealing to women. But according to a report from the Colombian Society for Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (SCCP), between 2012 and 2015, these procedures increased among men by 30%.

As the specialist explains: “The men of today like to take good care of themselves, be in fashion, take an interest in their appearance from their shoes to their haircut, have a well-groomed beard and haircut, and only essential – have a good perfume. There is also their lifestyle. One of the first things men want today is to buy a car and have the latest cell phone. In sum: it’s all about appearance. They buy material objects to show them off on social networks as if to say, ‘I’m the best.’ As they begin to mature, they realize that these things are not what people truly value, are not what complete a person, and they begin to change.”

Media-based lives

According to psychologist Luz Amparo Salazar, this influence comes from exposure to the lives of famous people. She gives the Kardashian family as an example, “It’s as if the luxuries they have were free and they live a lifestyle where appearance takes priority. While everything started as a reality show, now the women from this program are also posting on social networks. This strategy was then copied by so-called ‘influencers,’ who began to show how they cut their hair, how they dressed, where they went shopping, where they ate, and where they spent vacation. This is how this model was brought to teenagers, who are now today’s young people.”

This falls in line with Vivas’ hypothesis who maintains that while 10 years ago, the role model teens followed was the most popular boy on the block, role models today are now Instagram, Facebook or YouTube celebrities.

Vivas further explains that men who are involved in the responsibilities of the home – modern men that cook, wash dishes, change diapers and bathe children – are the result of the women’s movement: “When women first began to leave the home to work, men had to take on new responsibilities. The idea of the ‘macho man’ that doesn’t do anything at home no longer exists. Millennials grew up with the mentality that they should help, that they have a role in the home.”

As Salazar asserts, these modern men got a firsthand experience of what it means to be disciplined at home from when they were little, because oftentimes they are sons that come from very fragmented family structures or whose mothers had to combine housework with an informal job. “It is very likely that their mothers gave them chores such as making their beds, washing the dishes or even cooking. So when they entered a relationship they could do a lot on their own, unlike their fathers who had everything done for them – a result of the machismo that had been passed on for so many generations.”

Each generation has been influenced by different things and has evolved in their own way. Today’s generation is a result of the women’s movement, of a mentality of equality, open-minded political movements and, last but not least, social networks and their “likes” of approval. All of this has led to men who take care of themselves, take an interest in how they look, and who have more than just one duty to their home •

Escapist behavior

As the times and lifestyles change, it is important to not only continue with good habits such as avoiding smoking and eating healthy. As specialists from the Mayo Clinic in the United States explain, it is also crucial to be aware of escapist behaviors that lead to depression, such as alcohol or drug abuse; abusive, controlling or violent behavior; inappropriate anger or irritability; and putting yourself at risk by driving irresponsibly.

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