Rahmad Azhar Hutomo, National Geographic Indonesia

Bundles of needles sized 0.2-0.5 mm were installed in the derma pen, a beauty tool which utilizes electronic microneedles. I winced as the needles penetrated the patient’s pores, causing scars to appear and droplets of blood to rise up on his face.

That day, Tanaka Hanzaro rewarded himself with a facial treatment after not doing so for months. A facial is known as a rejuvenating skin treatment that lifts the dead skin cells off the face whilst repairing its texture, making it smooth and brighter. As soon as he got back from Bali, he believed he needed one to bring back his glowing and supple skin after being sun-kissed during the holiday.

The world has evolved. Skin and body care is now essential to boost self confidence not only in women, but also men. “Each year, there has been an increase in the number of male patients. It started at 5%, then went up to 10%,” explained dr. Berlin, an experienced specialist at one of skin and body care centers in Jakarta.

The Metrosexual Man phenomenon can be traced back to 1994 when reporter Mark Simpson wrote about metrosexuals in The Independent on November 15th, 1994. The term was then widely used after Simpson’s salon.com published an article in 2002 titled Meet the Metrosexual, which enthroned David Beckham as the poster boy of metrosexual men. Beauty salons and dressing up for men were once deemed taboo. Nowadays, many men primp to impress as part of their lifestyle.

A business-driven city like Jakarta is the perfect arena for globalization and information exchange which seems to support the growth of metrosexual trends. To support his career, Tanaka finds it important to keep his appearance flawless from head to toe. Completing his title as a metrosexual, he added, “One of my professors even called me ‘preppy guy’ when I was in university.”

Aside from skincare, Tanaka also keeps his body image in check at the gym. He gained his six packs from hard work, not to mention now that he works at a body supplement company, L-Men, which requires its employees to maintain an ideal body type.

There has been a shift in what it means to be masculine. Not only that men are demanded to be macho, but they also need to look prim and proper. According to Maslow’s theory, this shift has marked a development in one’s hierarchy of needs. Now men seek for more fulfillment in life through recognition than simply satisfying their basic needs.

To live life to the fullest, one must be comfortable breathing in their own skin. Life is not about being what others want us to be, but how we can be beautiful in our own ways. That is why we must be proud of who we are now.

Rahmad Azhar Hutomo

Rahmad Azhar Hutomo Hutomo was born in Yogyakarta. He finished his studies in Archive Management, Universitas Gajah Mada, in 2014. He started investing his interest in photography when he saw pictures of skateboarders in the Transworld Skateboarding magazine. He got his first camera when he received a scholarship during his university study. Azhar then continued learning more about photography at Kelas Pagi Yogyakarta and Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara (GFJA) in 2015. Now Azhar is one of the photographers at National Geographic Indonesia. His work, Arkamaya (2015), was exhibited at Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara.