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REAd. Revista Eletrônica de Administração (Porto Alegre)

On-line version ISSN 1413-2311


FONTES, Olivia de Almeida; BORELLI, Fernanda Chagas  and  CASOTTI, Leticia Moreira. How to be a man and be beautiful? An exploratory study on male practices of consumption of beauty. REAd. Rev. eletrôn. adm. (Porto Alegre) [online]. 2012, vol.18, n.2, pp.400-432. ISSN 1413-2311.

Recent changes have affected the boundaries of gender: masculinity and femininity show, in many situations, blurred boundaries. Even so, many traditional gender ideals still exist in the subconscious of the individual (Goldenberg, 2000). The masculine identity is constructed out of denial - denying the attributes related to women, children or homosexual - and those who consider themselves outside the dominant pattern of masculinity still have fear of being perceived as gay (Badinter, 1993; among others). The consumption of beauty products is associated with the desire to promote an increase in physical attractiveness and achievement of the corresponding social benefits (Bloch and Richins, 1992). Because physical attractiveness is considered a central element of femininity, the consumption practices of beauty is often more important in the construction of women's identity. However, the male gender identity is associated with less concern with appearance, as a consequence, men have less inclination to adopt beauty practices. In this context, how to research such topic as beauty among men? This study aimed to a better understanding of the male consumer of beauty products and services, reflecting on aesthetic values and practices related to male beauty. Data were obtained through in-depth interviews using projective techniques as well, with ten young men of high socioeconomic status in Rio de Janeiro. Several aspects of the practices of beauty seemed to be manipulated by respondents in the characterization of social roles and the construction of gender identities. Few were the practices of beauty identified as allowed for males. They do see beauty as a facilitator of social relations, but intelligence and professional success are seem as more important. Man do not need to be beautiful. And he must not strive - or demonstrate that strives - to be beautiful. The beautiful body must be a "side effect" of search for health or taste for sports. Their accounts suggest a close association between beauty care and femininity. So, how to be beautiful and masculine at the same time? How to take care of beauty without being a woman? In order to preserve the maleness is necessary that the male consumption behavior of beauty products and services remain distant from the feminine. Thus, women's behavior seems to serve as a reference point for the interviewees: they observe time, effort and financial investment women devote to beauty and, thereafter, they start their construction of what is 'allowed' or 'forbidden' concerning their beauty practices.

Keywords : Consumer Behavior; Gender; Male Consumer; Beauty Consumption; Projective Technique.

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