The first and only time I saw a Morgan Spurlock documentary, it was Supersize Me! The film is about how evil McDonald's is. Well, propoganda is completely lost on me and so my friend and I left the theater and decided that we wanted some fast food french fries. In fact, I had never really eaten fast food until after watching that movie when I learned about the joys of french fries, a junior bacon cheeseburger and the rest.
The lefty documentarian is out with a new one --Mansome -- asking whether men are more vain in 2012 than any point previously in history:
“We’ve created this society where what you project externally matters, almost more than anything else,” says Spurlock after a screening of “Mansome” in New York last month. The film opens in Boston and select cities on Friday. “To say it doesn’t matter how a man looks anymore is untrue.”
Spurlock, best known for his gut-churning documentary “Super Size Me,” follows a diverse group of men in “Mansome,” including a champion beard grower, a pro wrestler who regularly wages war with his bounty of body hair, and a barber who specializes in creating custom toupees. Between these vignettes, there’s commentary from actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, debating what it means to be a man (as they are pampered with luxe spa treatments). Experts also weigh in.
The underlying message is that there is a growing obsession with appearance among men from all walks of life.
“I think male vanity has lived in many different forms,” says Ben Silverman, an executive producer of the film. “But it may be entering its most superficial era ever. It was once tied with Darwinist elements such as procreating. Now it’s about six-pack abs and fake tans.”
OK, I have a question. If men are more vain now than at any point previously in history, why do they tend to look so unkempt? Why are so many grown men wearing T-shirts with sayings on them? What's up with the pants hanging low? Or skinny jeans? Also, memo to Silverman: the six-pack abs and fake tans are likely also about procreating or at least practicing toward same.
On the other hand, the documentary shows that spending on male grooming products and services is way up. I'll fess up that when I want to do something nice for my husband, I get him some nice lotions and creams (I have noticed that many men like things that make their skin tingle, such as peppermint soaps. Someone needs to explain this to me.). I went out of my way to visit my favorite Cobble Hill-Brooklyn toiletries shop this past weekend before heading home. Their selection of items marketed to males was way up.
So what is this about? And isn't manliness still represented best by sandpaper hands?