Last month, the British publishing company Bauer Media introduced a new weekly magazine for men, Gaz7etta, described online as “the perfect mix of news and style, with a healthy dose of business, politics and sport.” The magazine itself is not online; the 60-page pilot issue was distributed free in department stores and as a supplement within Bauer’s other magazines, including Gaz7etta’s counterpart for women, Grazia.
I’ll get to the odd spelling of Gaz7etta in a minute. But first, a few words about Gaz7etta’s intended readership.
Gaz7etta introduces itself by proclaiming that it’s “a men’s mag, not a lad’s mag.” What sort of man will read Gaz7etta? Well, Bauer Media tells us he’s the sort of man who “regularly swipes your copy” of Grazia. Which is, as I just told you, a women’s magazine. Hmmm.
Writing in the Guardian (UK) last week, Kevin Braddock attempted to answer the question in greater depth.
According to research videos published in July, Bauer had identified a new archetype of 21st-century masculinity: “4D Man”. Not some undiscovered anomaly in the space-time continuum, 4D Man is in fact a male between 15 and 40 who is “confident, individual and has varied interests and passions”. A Bauer spokesperson told Media Week that 4D man is “not as tribal as his predecessors, the metrosexual and the lad, where you either were one or you weren’t”. He is also “increasingly interested in culture and is more health-conscious”.
I’m inferring that “4D” stands for “four-dimensional,” as if pre-21st-century men existed outside the constraints of time. It’s possible, though, that the 4 in 4D is also meant to echo other desirable Fours—4G (the fourth generation of cellular wireless) and MP4 (the standard for online broadcast and streaming, which superseded MP3).
Braddock’s article goes on:
This is hardly the first to attempt to redefine masculinity in the media age. In recent years, marketers seeking to reach the elusive demographic known as “men” have invented plenty of new archetypes, ranging from the insightful to the downright daft, some of which even make the flimsy but enduring typologies of the metrosexual and the lad sound plausible.
We’ve read about the urban playboy, the new lad, the soft lad, the metropolitan and the Spurmo (Single Proud Unmarried Man Over Thirty). There was also the himbo, the mIMbo (male instant-messaging boy) and the notion of “mandom” – a kind of girl power for men who use hair gel.
(Not just hair gel: This safe-driving ad campaign from New Zealand tells guys to stay in “mantrol” when they leave the cozy, womblike confines of “mandom.”)
Whether you considered yourself to be more of a “retrosexual” than an “übersexual” (the latter featuring in a 2005 report by advertising agency JWT ominously entitled The Future of Men), or even a “pomosexual”, we were apparently living through a “menaissance” in which we indulged in “manscaping” (ie, shaving and washing). Even straight-as-a-die A-types could enjoy an unashamed “bromance”, which in everyday language is known as a friendship.
This is probably as good a time as any to note that the article’s author, Mr. Braddock, is involved in something called Manzine, “a publication about the male phenomenon” in fanzine format that launched in 2008 to explore, according to Braddock, “the comedy of errors that is the modern male experience, its confusions and complexities.”
The Manzine name is a straightforward portmanteau. But what about Gaz7etta? It’s “a nod to the breezily Italianate character” of sister publication Grazia, says Mr. Braddock: gazzetta is Italian for “gazette,” a newspaper or journal. (The word may derive from an Italian dialect word for a small coin, gazeta, which may be a reference to the newspaper’s price.) And yes, gazzetta is a feminine noun. Because 4D men won’t be pigeonholed by grammatical gender. I guess.
So what about that unusual spelling? Here’s how Bauer Media offhandedly explains it:
And if you were wondering if that stray “7” in the title is a typo, it ain't - it's there to represent seven days of the week - geddit? We think you will...
How to pronounce it? No help from Bauer here, but I surmise it’s 7 as in Z.
Somewhere, George Costanza is doing a jubilant fist-pump.
Hat tip for the Guardian article: Schott’s Vocab.