Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pick'n'mix sexuality

So, the thing that caught my eye in the papers this week is the discussion of the new book out, The Future of Men. The book itself is not really my cup of darjeeling, but the language that the writers use to describe different male sexualities is most intriguing. Using the kind of inflationary prefixes we looked at before, they have either coined, or at least popularised, the term "übersexual". Gone is yesterday's metrosexual and all your David Beckhams and Orlando Blooms; in come the George Clooneys and Bonos. The übersexual is "politically aware" and "passionate about real world causes"; he has male best friends, tasteful clothes and a well-read mind. Er, and given that Bill Clinton is in the frame here, a "complicated" but unashamed heterosexuality. Hmmm....

But anyway, this is interesting from a language change point of view. We create new words when a meaning becomes apparent that can't quite be expressed any other way. The articles point us to some interesting perspectives on this. The first article makes it clear that at least one of the writers is a global advertising executive. Well, that immediately begs the question about whether this is a real trend in our culture that needs a new word, or whether this is an image creation exercise designed to shift some "new" products. The quotations in the Tribune point well to this, telling us like it is:

“Frankly, this metrosexual-retrosexual talk has more takers among the Cosmo-reading girlie brigade. The average working guy hardly has time to mull over such fads.”

But my favourite piece on the issue is the third one, in which the writer plays with this idea, using the suffix "-sexual" to create a whole load of new words describing different kinds of sexuality. Check it out cos it's very funny.

Things to do...
1) How many other types of sexuality can you create with the "-sexual" suffix?
2) How many are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary?
3) I just googled "ubersexual" and got 53,000 hits. Will this word make it into the lexicon, or will it quickly die, a tragic victim of cultural faddism? Track its course!

The links...

Metrosexual man bows to red-blooded übersexuals

Male branding

Sexual identity is not just girls and boys any more

6 Comments:

At 1:25 pm, Blogger suze said...

how come it seems to be always MEN wbo need new words to define their sexuality? Does anything similar happen for women?

 
At 3:10 pm, Blogger E-Julie said...

Hmm, well, there's an interesting question... Though the article that was linked here (stingy gits have removed it now...) was universally applied. It had the completely made-up word 'nomoresexual' to describe those who are deeply battle scarred and have decided 'no more'! That's me...

 
At 8:40 am, Blogger suze said...

oh Julie, I dont beleive you are a no-more cos you are so inclined to say things to encourage flirting -- (if I wasnt just about to get married, of course) I'd be happy to rise to the challenge of convincing you that you are missing out!

 
At 7:28 pm, Blogger E-Julie said...

Cor blimey, I keep getting accused of flirtacious use of language online when I don't even know what flirting is!!! No-one believes that I'm a reclusive geek who only takes a break from blogging to play online Scrabble, honest! "'Tee-hee', quod she". Best wishes for the happy couple anyway.

 
At 4:37 pm, Blogger suze said...

who said anything about happy? I said we were getting married ..

no, really we are more than happy - "Blair does something right" as far as we are concerned ... although of course, we're not supposed to call it a wedding, we are "registering our relationship" :)

 
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