Tribeca Film Festival entries "Beauty Culture" and "Mansome" both discuss what it is like to be a woman or a man in today's beauty-obsessed culture.

Are Men Catching Up To Women When It Comes To Beauty?

Monica Burton

mansome beauty culture1 Are Men Catching Up To Women When It Comes To Beauty?

Perusing the list of films at the Tribeca Film Festival, we couldn’t help but notice that there were two cinematic features premiering at the festival this year that dealt with a subject near and dear to StyleCaster’s figurative heart: Beauty, both of the female and male variety.

Though we’ve seen meditations on female beauty before, with a film on the male equivalent thrown into the mix, we had to ask ourselves, are men catching up to women when it comes to caring about the way they look? To answer this, we took a careful look at the two Tribeca films in question that focus on today’s appearance standards for both sides of the gender scale.

Beauty Culture is a half-hour long short directed by Lauren Greenfield, who also directed Thin, the Emmy-nominated HBO film that chronicles the lives of women recovering from eating disorders. Greenfield’s most recent project investigates our image-obsessed culture and, as you might expect, decides that there is something wrong with it. More specifically, a diverse group of women (from a pre-blonde Crystal Renn to a Toddlers and Tiaras-style pageant mom and daughter) discuss our generally unhealthy relationship with the photographic depictions of women hailing from the beauty and fashion industries.

On the opposite side of the gender gap, we have Mansome, a lighthearted look at what it means to be a man in a time when male grooming is expected and products are encouraged. Directed by Morgan Spurlock (think Super Size Me) and produced by Ben Silverman, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, the full-length documentary breaks down the current state of male grooming, with investigations into the mustache, the beard, the hair, the face and all the male-geared products out on the market today.

In between accompanying Arnett and Bateman on a spa date, we hear from a variety of experts and celebrities (including Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis and Judd Apatow), and learn some valuable lessons on the state of male grooming, a few of which won’t sound that far off from the way women can feel about their own upkeep:

-Men want to look good for other men, but also sometimes for women.

-Men can also take their obsession with appearance to an unhealthy level (see “beard building” and the “metrosexual”).

– Today, men care more about the way they look (or at least are starting to feel comfortable enough to show it). This can, in fact, make them manlier, not the opposite.

So it would seem that while women strive to live up to unrealistic ideals, men are finally free to develop their own definitions of masculinity, whether that means maintaining mustaches, manscaping or making spa dates.

And just in case you wanted to know how Mansome producers Morgan Spurlock, Ben Silverman and Will Arnett stay so “mansome,” StyleCaster got the answer firsthand at the red carpet premiere of the movie at Tribeca.

Morgan Spurlock: “I’m like on a short, get ready mode. I’m in and out of the door in like 20 minutes, you know, I’m on the low end of a lot of guys.”

Ben Silverman: “You know, it depends on how hungover I am or not, but I really do like to represent myself. You know, I like to look good. I’m a city kid–the streets are our runways here in Manhattan so I gotta bring it.”

Will Arnett: “I always have my ‘doc kit’, as it were. I’m always ready to walk out the door with a comb, deodorant, and a little bit of moisturizer, always key.”

There you have it. Looks like some men still do like to keep their beauty regime pretty simple.

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