Effeminate is a word from the vocabulary of bigots, both homophobic bigots and transphobic bigots.
It has seriously misogynistic overtones and there isn’t an equivalent term for masculine women.
Just as tomboy girls are given all sorts of positive feedback for being gutsy, athletic etc, at least until puberty.
Sissy boys are reviled and abused from the cradle. In some ways, at least for per-pubescent children the rigid gender binary is much stricter for those assigned male at birth than it is for those assigned female.
Stories of young transkids being allowed by their parents to be themselves are a rarity. Many more transkids and feminine young gay kids are physically and emotionally abused for their failure to to conform to those rigid standards of masculinity.
If anything awareness of LGBT has made things worse for obviously gay or trans kids than they were when I was a kid.
Effeminate is one of those bigot words that are used by people who think they are sounding polite, yet it is misogynistic as well as homophobic and transphobic as the implication is there is something wrong with femininity.
When in reality both masculinity and femininity are artificial social constructs that impose rules that say these behaviors are masculine and these are feminine then go about enforcing those rules through the mumbo-jumbo of organized superstition as well as custom and laws.
Effeminacy describes traits in a human male, that are more often associated with traditional feminine nature, behavior, mannerisms, style or gender roles rather than masculine nature, behavior, mannerisms, style or roles.
It is a term frequently applied to womanly behavior, demeanor, style and appearance displayed by a male, typically used implying criticism or ridicule of this behavior (as opposed to, for example, merely describing a male as feminine, which is non-judgmental). The term effeminate is most often used by people who subscribe to the conventional view that males should conform to traditional masculine traits and behaviors. Generally, the description is applied to individuals, but may be used to describe entire societies as an inflammatory allegation. Although in the Western tradition, as described below, effeminacy has often been considered a vice, indicative of other negative character traits and often involving a pejorative insinuation of homosexual tendencies, in other societies, feminine males may be considered a distinct human gender (third gender), and may have a special social function, as is the case of Two-Spirits in some Native American groups. Furthermore, in contemporary culture, effeminacy has come to be seen by some to be simply one characteristic or trait which might be a part of a particular person’s “gender role”, and in this sense would not be considered a vice or indicative of any other characteristics. An effeminate male is similar to a fop or a dandy, though these tend to be archaic identities that are taken on by the individual rather than insulting labels.
In most cultures, effeminacy was traditionally considered, if not a vice, at least a weakness, indicative of other negative character traits and more recently often involving a negative insinuation of homosexual tendencies or sexual passivity, even though the individual possibly could be heterosexual or bisexual.
The definition of what constitutes effeminate behavior varies greatly depending on the social and cultural context, as well as on the time period.
This word has a negative connotation when applied to any person male or female. It is one of those reptilian words much beloved by fascists and Stalinists alike for it has greater implications than just condemning homosexuality or transsexualism/transgenderism. That word and its derivatives have a misogynistic implication that feminine traits are negative and inferior to masculine traits.
The term is sometimes used for women, always with negative connotations.It is a male supremacist term from a masculinity worshiping culture.
Yesterday I was asked what the appropriate and non-pejorative term would be.
That is an easy one to answer. Feminine or femininity.
Which brings us to gay men.
One of the major road blocks to the formation of an LGBT Community in the aftermath of Stonewall was the flight of gay men from the stigma of being labeled feminine. Another aspect was the lesbian, “rejection of butch/femme” roles.
Queens and transsexuals were kind of on our own which is why it too another 25 or so years for any sort of acknowledgement, much less the addition of a “T” to the queer alphabet soup.
Conservatives, who are the spiritual love children of fascism and Nazism have hyped a harsh masculinist culture. They believe the role of women to be Kinder, Küche, Kirche hence the pushing of abstenence until marriage, no birth control or abortions and no pay check fairness.
One of their slurs against gay men is that they are effeminate and therefore not real men. All based the horror of the idea of a male being used like a woman and penetrated by a penis during sex.
Masculinist think is that the most horrible, most degrading thing that can happen is to have a man stick his penis in you and ejaculate into your body.
It is unimaginably vile for a person assigned male at birth to display feminine traits that signal that person’s willingness to have a male enter them in sexual intercourse.
This is part of what is behind the rage that results in so many transphobic murders.
For people such as these it is inconceivable that a person assigned male at birth would willingly be come female or live in what is considered the female gender role unless such person were a horribly perverted freak.
The assumption being that the transsexual, transgender woman or even the feminine gay man is faking their femininity to seduce and contaminate the masculine man.
The label “effeminate” is a way of denying the authenticity to the T to F person or the gay man.
To make a long story short I generally consider “effeminate” a pejorative word. Don’t use it in comments unless you want to severely piss me off. Use feminine instead.
Also don’t fucking come here expecting to be allowed to engage in the “she is a gay man or blahblahblah because she isn’t exactly like me and I am the only real transsexual” argument.
It’s a bullshit game and not a valid point.
If it makes anyone come off as sketchy it is the person presenting that argument.