As the 21st century progressed, women became more and more powerful – until by the mid-century they were unquestionably dominant.
One of the implications was that the requirement to be beautiful was passed from women to men. The modern breadwinning woman needed to make no effort to get the man she wanted: on the contrary, it was the men who flocked around her, attracted to her confidence and money. At first, the introduction of lingerie and makeup to men and boys was presented as a levelling of the sexual playing field. But as male power diminished further and further, the beauty industry found itself having to orientate to a strictly male clientele.
One of the remarkable new brands that emerged as a response to the new markets was Son of Eve. The brainchild of entrepeneur Alison Diamond, it sold sexy, ‘feminine’ lingerie exclusively to men. Her reasoning was simple:
“The lingerie industry has to keep up with the times, and the reality is that women refuse to wear this sort of underwear any more. Men, however, are keen to please their wives and girlfriends, and are discovering a passion for the sensuality of these styles and materials. Son of Eve is not creating a trend – it is meeting the real needs and desires of men in the 21st century. Lingerie is no longer feminine. It is the new masculine.” (The Times, November 2039.)
Before the so-called genderquake, the only extant images of men in lingerie tended to be either for comic effect or crossdresser porn. The adverts of Son of Eve therefore caused a sensation. Instead of an awkward, hairy male, consumers saw attractive models who, when appropriately groomed, looked as good in lingerie as any woman ever had. The reality of gender as a social construct had never been so obvious.