On Friday, The New York Times debuted Men’s Style—the first new launch of a print section of the newspaper in 10 years. The insert will appear the first Friday of each month, and will incorporate stories about men's fashions and grooming, profiles, and personal essays. The inaugural edition of Men's Style featured, among others pieces, a cover story on spring suiting ("A New Freedom in Men's Suits"), a profile of the surfer-turned-menswear designer Kelly Slater, a service-y piece on grooming ("How to Scrub Your Body Like a Man"), an essay on gendered communications technology ("Should Grown Men Use Emoji?"), and some light sociology (an exegesis on "the giddy arc of male high jinks"). It is, in other words, pretty much exactly what you'd expect would happen when the paper's iconic Style section gets "Men's" appended to its name.
It is also, it should almost go without saying, extremely easy to mock. The normative emoji! Luxury backpacks! "Tools for the gentleman farmer"! Styles, as an entity, has long been a reminder of the awesome and somewhat awkward mandate of the American newspaper: to be about news, definitely, but also to be "a nation talking to itself." The section, accordingly, has given readers a lot to talk about. It has been a source of both love and mockery; its stories, the Times' public editor wrote last year, "occasionally provide a full day’s worth of hilarity." The section often adopts a breathlessly anthropological attitude toward things like monocles and sundresses and Brooklyn; it also has a reputation for being not just of the Times, but behind them. As Mashable's David Yi put it, "The paper seems more like the out-of-touch older aunt who studies up on 'what the kids are doing' to desperately seem younger than she is."