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Effemimania

Updated: OCTOBER 14, 2019

Effemimania is a cultural fixation on and anxiety surrounding male femininity. The term is a variation of the common word effeminacy, which is having feminine qualities not typically observed in men.

The term was coined by American bi-trans writer and activist Julia Serano in her book "Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity."

More About Effemimania

While girls wearing pants and behaving like “tomboys” has been largely accepted by society, boys that exhibit feminine qualities are seen as more culturally threatening and unusual. While there may be some elements of homophobia and transphobia within effemimania, as people often associate feminine gender expression in men with homosexuality or transgenderism, more seems to be at play. At its core, effemimania is about being uncomfortable with femininity, especially when it’s expressed by males.

Serano believes effemimania is a form of sexism within a society where femininity is seen as inferior or less desirable than masculinity. In this cultural climate, males who seem to favor femininity over masculinity are pathologized or viewed as abnormal. They are also often sexualized, in much the same way that feminine women are treated as sexual objects.

Effemimania contributes to the stigma effeminate gay and bisexual men feel, especially within their own community. It can also make coming out and transitioning difficult for male-to-female transgender people, as they are taught that masculinity is more valuable and worth holding onto. It also contributes to the denigration of femininity in all its forms within society.

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