Every time I stop by the community, I can't help but notice the predominance of discussions that are centered on dressing and grooming questions. We do definitely talk about dressing and grooming on the main blog, typically every other week, sometimes once a week, so that the subject constitutes maybe 20% of the articles on the main site. But it seems like dressing and grooming discussions constitute a good half of the discussions in the forum.
Now I think dressing and grooming well is an important part of being a man, but on the spectrum of importance, it's definitely on the much less important side as opposed to being at the core. Being able to match your knickers with your monocle is nice, but maybe not the most important man skill.
The dressing/grooming articles on the main site are some of our most popular posts, so maybe that's simply what has brought a lot of guys to AoM in general. What do you think accounts for the way dressing/grooming questions dominate the community?
Hard to say for sure. Certainly there is an element of "everyone has an opinion" and wants to share it. You don't need a PhD to decide you don't like pleated pants.
Discussions of fashion/grooming, etc. Are directly related to vanity (and sexuality, desirability, etc.). The vain do appreciate attention, so it could just be the nature of the beast (the beast being us, of course).
We also have shown ourselves to be a consumer society. These discussion often center around purchase and consumer behavior, so it could be a reflection of our current society.
It would be an interesting sociology study to really get into.
I think a lot of it might have to do with the fact that many of us younger types are finally realizing that dressing like we did in college is a bad idea (tm). Maybe it happened before finding the AoM site, or the AoM site is the cause.
Can only speak from my personal experience, but I found the site before realizing my wardrobe needed a lot of work -- actually found the site when trying to figure out how to shine my shoes because I was going to be on-site at a client's office..
So, since joining a few months ago, I've been hunting through the blog and the forums here to learn what I can about being casual, while still looking better than a college student (and not just following the current trends...).
I don't know about you Brett -- but I leave the knickers to my wife. ;)
It's easier to focus on the externals. Easier to change, or at least easier to "dress up" and be made to look more presentable. You can look great on the outside, feel like (or be) crap on the inside, and many will simply judge the book by the cover...
Character, Philosophy, Theology, Values, Passions, Skills, etc - we all know these are the real substance of a Man. Its more difficult to put what may be considered sub-par thoughts on the forum for the others to mull over and dissect.
Just some quick thoughts.....
I don't think they do. They dominate the attention of those that are interested (either because they like fashion or because they think it's silly). The rest of us are in the Groups or other forums, talking about other things.
And I think I would notice, because I usually look at that Recent Activity box in the middle to see if anything interesting is going on. SInce I don't have that much interest in fashion, if it were always blocking out the things I do like, I would stop looking there.
Well, "clothes make the man," don't they. Presentation is everything. One need not necessarily be a natty dresser to be manly, but it often doesn't hurt. While I agree that what's inside is far more important than one's clothes, one can only display what's inside himself on a limited basis every day. Opportunities for manly comportment are finite in any given day. But you have to wear your clothes ALL day (some of us, anyway). Spending too much time on one's appearance and apparel might even be considered UNmanly. It's a tightrope act, and what is manly for some is not manly for others.
I will add that I spent 24 years wearing a uniform every day which was the height of manliness, and now that I'm out of it, it's nice to be able to play with the old wardrobe. I'm currently trying to educate myself in certain aspects of sartorial excellence with which I have not previously been acquainted.
At the same time, I can wear ragged shorts, sandals, torn t-shirt and drag my knuckles along the ground with the best of them.