Femmephobia: “Girls Are Gross” Writ Large

Ozy Frantz explains the difference between fear and hatred of women, and the more common fear and hatred of anything feminine.

Originally posted at No Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

When I was a freshman in high school, I and my friends were Cool Chicks.

We weren’t like those other girls, the ones who were passive and weak and giggled and watched romantic comedies and thought about their hair and makeup. Those girls were stupid and frivolous and vapid, and we made fun of them. No, we were Cool. We liked fantasy novels and action movies and anime! We laughed at “that’s what she said” jokes and “make me a sandwich” humor and South Park quotes! We fake-fought with each other and laughed off pain and never cried! We were just like the guys in every way!

Around this time, I was also beginning to really get into feminism. I was proud of myself. I defied convention and gender roles. My adoption of male gender norms wholesale was truly a feminist act. After all, all the stuff girls did was stupid, and the stuff boys did was fun, and–

…hey, wait a minute.

Julia Serano, in Whipping Girl (which is, in my opinion, a book that should be read by everyone interested in gender issues) discusses the concept of “femmephobia” in our society. Femmephobia is the devaluation, fear and hatred of the feminine: of softness, nurturance, dependence, emotions, passivity, sensitivity, grace, innocence and the color pink.

To a large degree, our culture has replaced the fear and hatred of women, with the fear and hatred of things commonly associated with women. I think this is… not so much progress, actually.

To see femmephobia in our society, it’s only necessary to look at the differences between how we treat masculine girls and feminine boys. A masculine girl is a “tomboy,” likely to be approved of by her parents; there are many programs to encourage girls in sports and in the sciences, stereotypically male fields. A feminine boy is a “sissy,” likely to be bullied by other boys and by girls; there are no programs to encourage boys in dance and in the humanities, stereotypically female fields.

As we get older, masculinity continues to be more acceptable for women than femininity for men. I own boxer shorts and ties, and I have short hair; at worst I’m considered to have a mildly eccentric fashion taste. A guy who dressed in as feminine a way as I dress masculine would have Transvestic Fetishism, a clinical mental illness. Men are encouraged not to cry, because it’s girly, but women are not discouraged from getting angry because it’s masculine. As I pointed out to one of my Cool Chick friends, “if any guy tried to act as girly as we act dudely, he’d get beaten up.”

Femmephobia can also be seen in marketing. We have diet soda, and we have diet soda FOR MEN; we have loofahs, and we have loofahs FOR MEN; we have canned soup, and we have canned soup FOR MEN. Men cannot be expected to consume feminine things like body care items or diet food or soup in cans (!?) unless it is specifically marked out as Not Girly, and therefore Not Bad. With a few obnoxious exceptions, such as tools for girls (they’re pink) or video games for girls (they’re pink and have Barbie), women who like traditionally masculine hobbies get to have the same fishing poles, golf clubs and bad Trekkie novels as the boys– because, since masculinity is valued, it doesn’t matter if a woman tries to become masculine.

The form of femmephobia most annoying to me occurs in feminist communities. It’s a difficult line to walk, because it is often necessary for feminism to critique femininity, the same way it is often necessary for masculism to critique masculinity. However, it is possible to critique femininity without critiquing feminine people. Choosing to be a stay-at-home mother, to abstain from sex until marriage, to remove body hair or to wear makeup and the other accoutrements of femininity does not somehow make you a bad feminist. That is ridiculous.

Perhaps the most tragic consequences can result when femmephobia intersects with homophobia and transphobia. The source of much homophobia against gay men, I think, is femmephobia: consider the association between having sex with men and a feminine gender performance that many homophobes claim exists. As for transphobia, well, there isn’t a single thing more girly than wanting to be a girl. And since being feminine is, for men, the worst thing possible (and even for women it’s a little disreputable), well…

Of the streak of gay teen suicides in 2010, the majority were men.

Of the trans people murdered in 2010, the overwhelming majority were trans women.

Femmephobia kills.

 

 

Photo—”Crazy Ballerina” from Shutterstock

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About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. “To a large degree, our culture has replaced the fear and hatred of women, with the fear and hatred of things commonly associated with women. I think this is… not so much progress, actually.”

    What? When did society ‘hate women’?

    “because, since masculinity is valued, it doesn’t matter if a woman tries to become masculine.”

    Here’s the thing. It was female liberationists that campaigned for women to be able to embrace masculine behaviour. And now that they’ve been successful people are turning around and casting their success as _anti-woman_?

    WTF?

    “Femmephobia is the devaluation, fear and hatred of the feminine: of softness, nurturance, dependence, emotions, passivity, sensitivity, grace, innocence and the color pink.”

    This may be _your_ femininity, but it isn’t mine.

    Further who decided that these things were female? They provide those engaging in them considerable passive power through manipulation of other’s protective instinct.

    “Femmephobia can also be seen in marketing. We have diet soda, and we have diet soda FOR MEN; we have loofahs, and we have loofahs FOR MEN; we have canned soup, and we have canned soup FOR MEN. ”

    And how much of this is just men wanting to have their own male identity thats, you know, their own?

    • “Of the streak of gay teen suicides in 2010, the majority were men. Of the trans people murdered in 2010, the overwhelming majority were trans women.”
      That is how society is collectively pushing femmephobia. It seems like you are slightly hung up on labels in every which possible way that is against what the author is saying. First you say “who decided these thing were female?” about what are considered traditionally feminine attributes, then remark about products geared toward males that it is just about males wanting a male identity. In the process of refining what is feminine and what is masculine, even in the face of feminism we seem to be heading towards a very hardened world and perhaps we should celebrate softness, kindness, nurturing, etc. embraced by both genders, too.

      • “That is how society is collectively pushing femmephobia. ”

        When someone says ‘she’s not a woman,’ that always means ‘that person does not have a female body.’

        When someone says ‘he’s not a man’, it usually means ‘that person is not behaving according to an arbitrary ideal of manhood.’

        Society punishes those male-bodied individuals who fail to preform ‘manhood’ correctly. The distance between a male-bodied individual’s behaviour and their punishment for said behaviour is proportional to the distance that behaviour is from society’s arbitrary label of ‘manhood.’

        The only purpose to a male-bodied individual’s existence is to preform manhood. When it fails to perform manhood, society treats it like vermin.

        Since women have an innate gender identity that is distinct from their behaviour, they do not have to ‘preform femininity’ in order to be women. They are women by virtue of their physical bodies. Thus, with an inviolate gender identity, women are given more latitude to behave however they wish, since their behaviour cannot turn them from a woman into an ‘it’.

        This permanent, unchanging gender identity also explains why they are subject to far less violence when they ‘violate’ their expected behaviours. No action a woman can take will ever significantly change the value society gives to her body.

        • Not only are you and the OP completely misidentifying the dynamic, you’re also completely missing the real problem the dynamic creates for women.

          Namely that no action a woman can take will ever be honoured more then her body is valued.

          Thus women’s personhood is disappeared.

        • “Since women have an innate gender identity that is distinct from their behaviour, they do not have to ‘preform femininity’ in order to be women.”

          I agree, and disagree with you here. I’d say…that the gender identity of a woman is less dependent on their behaviour than a man’s, and more dependent on their body than a man’s…particularly in the west. However both men and women do have to perform their gender in order to continue being considered part of that gender…it’s just more so with a man.

          • “However both men and women do have to perform their gender in order to continue being considered part of that gender…it’s just more so with a man.”

            Women preform their gender; men’s gender _is_ performance.

          • “However both men and women do have to perform their gender in order to continue being considered part of that gender…it’s just more so with a man.”

            I find this idea odd. Do men really have to perform their gender. Somehow I haven’t completely felt like that. What exactly do men have to do to be considered men. Be men and wear pants? I mean what else? Not cry. Men don’t have to be warriors any more. Or be really strong. Without those roles most of the male gender performance no longer exists. We don’t even have to be providers any more.

            The main difficulty being a man is getting women. And even if you don’t pursue women you are still considered a man, you will just be sexually dissatisfied.

            • It comes down to the difference between the two statements:

              ‘You’re not a woman’ as an insult invariably means ‘you’re not female bodied, you’re male bodied.’ Actually having a male body is the insult here.

              Whereas,

              ‘You’re not a man’ as an insult invariably does not mean ‘you’re not male bodied’ it means ‘you have not preformed to a certain standard of behaviour.’ Not having attained manhood is the insult here, not literally having a female-body.

            • I never have seen it that way. I figured both insults were inferring that the person was taking on too many characteristics of the other gender. Too much like a man, too much like a woman.

            • I’ve had ‘you’re not a woman’ directed at me countless times and every time it’s been directed at me, the person so directing has meant ‘you do not have a female body, you actually have a male body.’

              Whenever I see ‘you’re not a man’ directed at men as an insult, it has never meant ‘you have a female body’, it has always meant ‘you are not preforming to a certain standard of behaviour coded ‘manhood’.’

            • I believe you, but I’m confused. I really am. And I guess the only way I’d be able to be clear is to understand the context of the insult and that seems rude to ask. I had a friend in high school waaaaay long time ago and she was super sporty. She had breasts and looked like a woman but she was called a dude and it made no sense. I took it to be an insult that she was on the track team etc etc.
              It’s not grokking, but I believe you.

            • Good point Typhoon.
              Another way of looking at it is the term “Real man”.
              “You’re not a *real* man.” has no comparable attack upon women that I have seen.

              Even the term welfare queen has nowhere near the loaded derision as the term deadbeat dad.

              Men must attain value, by making themselves useful to others. Women have value from birth.

            • “Men must attain value, by making themselves useful to others. Women have value from birth.”

              Which is why parents are always hoping for girls…oh wait. Sorry that’s a bit sarcastic. But look…there are problems with the way society places value on both genders. Women must ‘attain value’ too, really…their prescription is just different. A woman who doesn’t get married and have kids is considered valueless, unless she performs the traditionally masculine role of getting a job. Conversely, a man who doesn’t get a job is considered valueless, unless he performs the more traditionally feminine role of stay-at-home parent.

            • Heather writes:
              “Which is why parents are always hoping for girls…oh wait. Sorry that’s a bit sarcastic.”

              I’m assuming that you’re referring to something roughly comparable to China’s one-child policy and the massive amount of sex-selection abortions being performed on female fetuses.

              Don’t you think that this is a direct result upon the ease of which parents (or anybody else) finds it much easier to control a man’s feeling of guilt and responsibility that Chinese are choosing sons because they can guilt them into providing for the parents? In other words, the parents are serving THEMSELVES by having a boy, because they know that the daughters inherent value allows the daughter to SERVE HERSELF (not the parents).

            • Naw, I was referring to my uncle who literally turned to his wife after their third kid was born and said “I wish it was a boy.” And they’re about as “average American” as you can get. I’ve known quite a few families with both boys and girls and in a few of them the parents have expressed their wish that they’d had all boys instead…or subsequently neglected the girl.

              “In other words, the parents are serving THEMSELVES by having a boy, because they know that the daughters inherent value allows the daughter to SERVE HERSELF (not the parents).”

              As for that bit…um, that ignores the fact that in most traditional cultures it’s the responsibility of daughter-in-laws to take care of ageing parents, actually. The girl isn’t going to serve herself…she’s just going to serve someone else. The girl will leave the family home, and she’ll take care of her husband’s parents…while having a boy means that the wife will come to their house and take care of them in their old age. Not to mention, it means that inheritance can stay in the biological family.

            • Just to expand: I’ve seen families where mothers dote on their daughters because they view them like little dolls, and then neglect their sons because they think that boys are more self sufficient and that “smothering” them could be harmful. I’ve seen families where parents treat their sons like prizes because they’ll continue the family name (and possibly the family business), and then neglect their daughters because they’ll only end up marrying and leaving anyway. It goes both ways, is what I’m saying.

              Similarly, as to the inherent value: Traditionally, a woman’s value was in her ability to have kids. If a woman was infertile, she was totally screwed. A man’s value was all about his ability to provide, if he didn’t provide well enough (or if he was unable to for some reason), he was totally screwed. Both genders only had value so long as they could fulfil their prescribed roles.

              We’re a very individualistic culture, it’s about time we stopped placing value on someone due to whether they can fulfil their gender roles, and instead just value people as individuals.

            • I’ve had the statement directed at me, as well, and it’s not about my body. When it was directed at me by strangers it was about my appearance, but it was about my style, not my physical body. I wasn’t wearing the right clothing to be considered a woman. (It happened more often when I was in the Near East. I got confused for a man a few times, all because I didn’t look like a woman. And, it certainly wasn’t my body that wasn’t feminine, just my style of clothing).

              There is a subtle (but very real) difference that I’ve experienced between gender performance in men and women, which I think is what typhon is trying to get at. When my the gender of my behaviour has been called into question, I’ve been told I wasn’t behaving like a woman, or that I wasn’t being lady-like, etc. I’ve also been told “girls don’t do that.” Conversely, when I’ve seen men told their behaviour wasn’t appropriate for their gender, they’re told they aren’t a man.

              So I’ll get told to “act like a woman,” but a guy will be told to “be a man.” As I said, it’s a subtle difference…but it is there.

            • K, I can see that.

            • Great point.

            • Michael P. says:

              I suppose that’s why 90% of adopting couples request boys.

              Oh, wait, 90% of them request GIRLS? and boys make up the majority of children awaiting adoption? Oh, and boys are more likely to suffer physical violence and child abuse of any kind at the hands of foster parents? And more likely to admit that family issues contributed to attempted suicide? Hmm.

            • Michael P. says:

              And by the way, the statistics on whether parents want a hypothetical child to be male or female show that fathers prefer to have a boy, mothers prefer to have a girl, but NOT by a majority–i.e. 35% of mothers polled prefer a girl, and 48% of fathers prefer a boy. While there is a bias on the part of mothers and fathers each, it is NOT very strong (not even a majority of those asked), AND they are in opposition. The net effect is nothing.

            • Assman writes:
              “I find this idea odd. Do men really have to perform their gender. Somehow I haven’t completely felt like that. What exactly do men have to do to be considered men.”

              Men must be willing to place themselves LAST in the lineup of obligations and never investigate his fulfillment or happiness.

              As for what it looks like when men fail to perform their role:
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huxzr_keJT0

            • Chicago-JSO says:

              @John D Wow, that youtube clip is right on, I really hope people click to watch it! It’s a man in an army barracks crying because he can’t handle the pressure and his commander, I guess Patton, slaps him and shames him in front of a group of people for not being a man. If anything illustrates what men truly face this clip is it! Thanks John D

            • Regarding the above youtube clip, remember the “Violence Against Women, Australia Says ‘No’ ” campaign? Well, “Violence Against Men, Australia Says ……………… um, just exactly what does Australia say??”

            • Australia doesn’t give a shit about males suffering domestic violence. At most they care about street violence but I’ve seen no government supported campaign for fighting domestic violence in a non-gendered fashion or a male orientated campaign such as the oneinthree.com.au campaign.

              But hey we have an office for women’s affairs and not men’s even though men desperately need their own office to handle the various issues such as health, reproductive rights, violence victimization, etc.

            • The main difficulty being a man is getting women. And even if you don’t pursue women you are still considered a man, you will just be sexually dissatisfied.

              Yes, because the 10-20% of men (as per the Kinsey reports) who are sexually interested in other men, just deep down really need women to be completely sexually satisfied. You’re kind of proving the OP’s point with comments like this. Your assertion that “men want women” implicity suggests “men who don’t want women aren’t men”. If they aren’t “proper men”, that implies femininity, which just isn’t “right” for men, in this society.

        • “The only purpose to a male-bodied individual’s existence is to preform manhood. When it fails to perform manhood, society treats it like vermin.”

          I would say that society often treats men like vermin whether they do or do not perform manhood. Men are the disposable sex.

        • Actually, women do have to perform femininity in order to not be shamed by random people in the street and/or considered odd, at least where I live. If you aren’t dressed in a sufficiently feminine way you’re likely to get comments like “ha ha you look like a guy!” from complete strangers. (You can also get beaten up for holding hands with another woman in public, although I don’t have any personal experience of that.)

          • Anna writes:
            “If you aren’t dressed in a sufficiently feminine way you’re likely to get comments like “ha ha you look like a guy!” ”

            I’m confused. Isn’t the authors point that women who embrace a masculine conduct/dress/mannerisms are treated far far better than men who embrace a feminine conduct/dress/mannerisms. He showed that societal reaction as proof that women’s roles are derided and men’s honored (which I disagree with wholeheartedly).

            You seem to now be saying the opposite.

            Do you really believe that women who behave in male-like ways are treated just as harshly as men who behave in female-like ways?

            • I was trying to point out that femininity does need to be performed (you’re not automatically acceptable as a “real woman” just because you’re female-bodied) and that while female masculinity is probably more tolerated than male femininity, that doesn’t mean it’s perfectly accepted. (In my experience, and I don’t look all that butch.)

            • Yeah, as a woman who went about being extremely butch for awhile, I’ll agree with Anna here. It’s not completely acceptable…it’s not even completely tolerated.

            • I would point out that there are many other ways in which men get derision for not performing or under performing the male role besides acting feminine.

              Walking away from an altercation, not defending your spouse in altercation or verbal abuse (think about the much higher derision factor to a man who refuses to stand up to a wife being bullied vs a wife standing up for her man), losing a job, failing (or refusing) to support ones children, or even supporting them in a non-traditional method (stay at home dad). Or even to simply be a victim of anything (ptsd, rape, dv) renders a man not a “real man”. Look at the story on male prisoners of war in Africa being targeted by the enemy soldiers for rape. The men fear opening up to their wives family members about it for fear of being seen as less of a man. According to the article these men are exactly right as their women leave them.

              Men are valued as much or more for their performance as women are based upon their looks. And, I would say the shaming is much more harmful, in your face and deleterious.

              The only thing that I think is comparable is women’s sexuality, but the difference is women are told “you can’t” men are told “you must”. I think it’s different to simply submit to not do something, then to be coerced into doing something that is stressful, and in short and long terms deleterious and dangerous.

              While many enlightened people talk about the beauty myth and the women who are “washouts” at the female role (yet somehow still go on to leave productive fulfilled lives) nobody seems to want to discuss the millions of men who are washouts at the male role who are homeless, depressed, suffer from ptsd, are impoverished and alone.

              The very fact that there are so many ways to “washout” at the male role w/out being effeminate demonstrably proves this author wrong.

              Men aren’t hated for acting like girls, they are hated for under-performing, washing out, or refusing to perform the male role and self-sacrifice for the good of others (which includes acting like girls).

            • “Men aren’t hated for acting like girls, they are hated for under-performing, washing out, or refusing to perform the male role and self-sacrifice for the good of others (which includes acting like girls).”

              I’d say the same can be said of women, though. A woman is hated for under-performing their gender or refusing to perform their gender. As for self-sacrifice…well I’ve been told by many people that my desire not to give birth to children is selfish. Is there an imbalance? Yes, feminism has created other ways of being a woman and has made it so that there is less derision and hatred for women who do not perform their gender. Which is why I’ve been told I’m not “acting like a woman,” or that I’m not being “lady-like.” But that hatred is still there…it’s just been slightly mitigated.

              As I said elsewhere, the difference is that a man gets told he’s “not a man,” not just “not acting like a man.” I recognize that difference. However, I think your comment implies that women are allowed to do whatever they want without consequence, whereas men are tied into their gender. That’s not true…both men and women are tied into their gender…women have just loosened the bonds a bit.

            • That “bit” puts men about 40years behind women in being accepted for doing whatever they wish.

              Women can be CEO’s, judges, astronauts, but it is still culturally and legally enforced that fathers are not fit to parent their own children (in the event of divorce) if the mother does not wish it.

              Not only does it include a critical aspect of life like parenting, but it has a tsunami affect on all sorts of behaviors for men, and lack of respect for men who are victimized or need help.

              Considering how very much society is built upon male self-sacrifice (and the resistance of political branches of feminism to men being free of male responsibility like paternity suits or men moving into female responsibility like shared parenting) it may very well be 80 years before men are free to do whatever makes them fulfilled (rather than doing what benefits others) as women are CLEARLY free to do (with incredibly mild resistance when compared to men).

              For all the talk about men free to be sluts on feminist discussion boards, I see a very strong message in popular society that smears male sexuality as dangerous.

              Men truly are where women were 40 years ago in many ways.

            • “The very fact that there are so many ways to “washout” at the male role w/out being effeminate demonstrably proves this author wrong.”

              I don’t think this proves the author wrong, the author didn’t say this was the only issue affecting men! Just because there are other ways a man can be accused of not fulfilling his role doesn’t mean men aren’t often treated horribly when they do things considered effeminate.

    • Society was built on the fact that women were lesser than men.
      This is where the “society hates women” comes from.
      I would like to know what your idea of feminine characteristics are. I have a feeling that they’re probably MASCULINE characteristics.

      Maybe you are unaware of “femenine characteristics” vs “Masculine Characteristics”- Women faught to have masculine characteristics BECAUSE they were viewed positively. They wanted to be as worthy as men and the only way to do this in a man’s world is to act like a man.

      Men having their OWN MALE IDENTITY is by having EXACT SAME PRODUCTS for ALL HUMAN BEINGS but won’t use them if it doesn’t say “for men”.. You think that hair dye they use is a special male formula.. NO.. it’s advertising protecting the frail male ego to make a buck.

      • “Society was built on the fact that women were lesser than men.”

        Throughout history a woman’s limitations were seen as a man’s obligations.

        If you don’t see how that is a method of controlling men for the benefit of women, I’m not sure what to say.

        “I would like to know what your idea of feminine characteristics are. I have a feeling that they’re probably MASCULINE characteristics.”

        They are human characteristics.

        “They wanted to be as worthy as men and the only way to do this in a man’s world is to act like a man.”

        By definition if women can ‘act like’ men then what they are acting like is not a masculine characteristic, it is a human characteristic that they were denied expression in the past.

        By definition masculine characteristics are those behaviours women are _biologically incapable of_.

        Everything else is socialization.

        “You think that hair dye they use is a special male formula.. NO.. it’s advertising protecting the frail male ego to make a buck.”

        Women like to have their own products marketed just to women too. Is that because of the ‘fragile female ego?’

    • Further who decided that these things were female? They provide those engaging in them considerable passive power through manipulation of other’s protective instinct.

      Except when that “passive power” is embraced by people who are ostensibly seen as men.

  2. Anthony Zarat says:

    “.. The form of femmephobia most annoying to me occurs in feminist communities ..”

    This is the origin of 90% of the problem.

    • When did “our” culture fear and hate women? And when was this replaced by fear and hatred of things commonly associated with women? When men start acting like women? Hmmm… ok, why not?
      You define, by inference, that softness, nurturance, dependence, emotions, passivity, sensitivity, grace, innocence and the color pink as feminine attributes. I disagree with you on only two counts. Well, three, but only on a social convention basis.
      You also defined, by inference, the masculine qualities of hardness, disregard, independence, heartlessness, activity, impassivity, tactlessness, corruption, and…the color green. You must not leave either list of attributes as universal gender-spanning truths.
      Is softness feared and hated in men? I think not. When I lift my 23 month old daughter from her bed after opening the curtains and letting the sun shine in, I am being as soft and gentle as I can manage. On those occasions when my sweet little daughter needs comfort, I softly and gently hold her in my arms and tell her that she’s awesome. As an EMT, when I am lifting a car accident victim with a compromised airway on a backboard from the street to the stretcher I am not gentle or soft because the only way this person is going to survive is to keep them alive long enough to get them to a trauma care facility.
      Is nurturance feared and hated in men? Excuse me if I stifle a laugh. Men are just as nurturing as women even in “traditional” roles. If a person keeps a roof over his loved ones, provides heat in the winter and shade in the summer, makes sure they have enough to eat and drink, supports them in their endeavors with school, employment and relationships with friends and family, they are being nurturing. That applies to both men and women, not only to the “bread-winner” or the “care-giver.”
      Dependence is a whole other story. That quality is contextual. I submit that dependence on another is qualified by their need or consent. As a choice, One spouse may give up their career and depend on the other for financial support in return for care of the home. However, if you say that spouses who care for the home are dependent on spouses that go to work, I say HORSEPUCKY!
      Emotions are a feminine quality? Do you really think that? According to you, as a man, I must remember to never feel joy, happiness, sorrow, tranquility, anticipation, fear, pride, anger, arousal, desire, love, hate, guilt, jealousy…. You have it wrong. It is not our emotions that define us. It is how we express them.
      I could go on, and I will if need be, but your premise is faulty.
      In your conclusion, you surmise that hatred of gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals results from the fact that there’s nothing more girly than wanting to be a girl. You add that being all of those things that you define as feminine are the worst thing possible for men. You infer that everything feminine is good and everything masculine is bad.
      I disagree.

      • And when do you practice this “softness” in front of your male friends and peers?

        I don’t think he’s saying masculine attributes are bad.. they are only bad when one comsumes themselves with strickly these attributes.

        Women have more easily embraced their WHOLE HUMANESS by embracing both masuline and feminine attributes. when there is a balance of masuline and feminine a WHOLE healhty human being is made.

        When one consumes themselves with ONLY feminine or ONLY masculine attributes, the person suffers because they refuse to embrace themselves as HUMAN BEINGS.

        And The reason that men have a hardere time embracing their feminine attributes is that they have been taught that these feminine attributes would be a negative factor towards their self worth.

        Hence – femmephobia

        • “And The reason that men have a hardere time embracing their feminine attributes is that they have been taught that these feminine attributes would be a negative factor towards their self worth.”

          Who gave them a ‘fragile male ego’ that can be threatened by feminine behaviours?

          It seems to me that not being able to nurture other men is a way of controlling men and preventing too close an association between men.

          • Exactly,
            If men started caring about the pain of other men, society would begin to unravel starting with radical feminisms fixation upon female victimhood, even in instances where it is dwarfed by a tsunami of male pain, but men are socialized to “take it like a man”.

            The shaming of men who are willing to talk about their pain, disenfranchisement, lack of fulfillment or other issues is stridently enforced by both genders.

            If we have men caught up in their own fulfillment and pain, they will cease being useful to society.

        • Big up your comment. In 100% agreement.

          The best men embrace both masculine and feminine. I will add that its harder for men to admit this though.

          Ying and yang explains this.

        • lil bit: “Women have more easily embraced their WHOLE HUMANESS by embracing both masuline and feminine attributes. when there is a balance of masuline and feminine a WHOLE healhty human being is made.

          When one consumes themselves with ONLY feminine or ONLY masculine attributes, the person suffers because they refuse to embrace themselves as HUMAN BEINGS.”

          That’s because women are the only ones allowed to embrace their whole human selves. At least, that’s how it goes in society.

          Men are still trapped in a rock and a hard place, unable to express both their sides. If they’re too feminine, they’re low on the food chain in terms of desire and usefulness. Too masculine, they’re filthy pigs looking to rape women.

          It’s not because of machismo you know. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  3. Anthony Zarat says:

    For a good example of what you are talking about, read the article (and comments) called “BOOOOOOO! Man Tries to Become NFL Cheerleader”.

  4. “Femmephobia is the devaluation, fear and hatred of the feminine: of softness, nurturance, dependence, emotions, passivity, sensitivity, grace, innocence and the color pink.”

    Ozy, you are conflating things. You think all these things are femininen, so when some of them are disapproved of, you think that applies ot al of them. It’s a logical error.

    Dependence and passivity are weakness, and weakness is pathetic, maybe even contemptible. Passivity is very often just a form of very effectual and manipulative laziness. Are those in any way things to be celebrated?

    Nurturance and emotion and expression of emotion are the opposite of passivity and weakness. Those are comendable and valuable.

    ““Of the streak of gay teen suicides in 2010, the majority were men. Of the trans people murdered in 2010, the overwhelming majority were trans women.”
    That is how society is collectively pushing femmephobia. ”

    Homophobia is not about femmephobia.
    Homophobia is not about femmephobia.
    Homophobia is not about femmephobia.

    Teddy, it is not always and only about the wimminz. Stop appropriating homphobia to white knight on women. It’s offensive.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “Homophobia is not about femmephobia.”

      I’m pretty sure it’s related. If homosexuality remained within the bounds of the male gender role (other than kissing guys) I don’t think homophobia would be nearly as widespread.

      • “If homosexuality remained within the bounds of the male gender role (other than kissing guys).”

        Well, and consider the fact that historically, part of the masculine gender role included falling in love with women. Until fairly recently western society conflated gender and sexuality, so to fall in love with a woman was to be masculine and to fall in love with a man was to be feminine. Part of the identity of being a man was having a wife, and vice versa for women.

        So while femmephobia and homophobia aren’t exactly the same, they are closely related and they do intersect. And, to be fair, that’s all the author was saying…that they intersect.

        • “Well, and consider the fact that historically, part of the masculine gender role included falling in love with women.”

          Bingo. Although actually falling in love with women, as opposed to just marrying them, has not always been celebrated. marriage was a social duty buit falling in love was a surrender. Andrew sullivan argues quite convincingly that that was the cae in ancient Greece, and notes that while there is a prety extensive literature in Greek on friendship (male) there is almost n othing on romantic love and no evidence that anyone saw any diffenrnece bertween it and simple physical lust – it was all “eros”.

          Ozy says: “The source of much homophobia against gay men, I think, is femmephobia: ”

          We have had this discussion before. What it comes down to is that argument amounts ot eqivocation – it’s not talking about the same femmephobia in all cases. The homophobe who comes out of a strip joint where he has been worshipping femininity with his hard, cold cash and then comes out and beats up a gay man on the street is not really a femmephobe.

          What is happening instead is simple gender norm policing. Femininity is adored and worshipped, but only some are privileged to it. When a non-privileged person presumes to it, the hammer comes down.

          • and what you’re saying is that they only one’s privilege to it are women.

            Just sounds like an incredibily insecure man seeing another man challenge that poor little insecure man’s identity. Maybe if men started lookin IN for self worth istead of OUT then we wouldn’t have a bunch of man children running around demeaning others in order to lift their own weak egos up.

            • If all men suddenly stopped looking for outward validation, then you would also have no more coalminers or firefighters. You have exactly nailed how gender policing is so much worse (in a lot of instances) for men than it is for women.

              If all men in society stopped looking for outward validation, then we the powers-that-be would lose a huge corner stone in shaping society.

              Strangely, this is precisely what *IS* happening in younger generations of men. A small % shift (which means 100’s of thousands of men) compared to older generations are no longer willing to run on a hamster wheel of self-sacrifice to gain validation.

              Instead they are living the lives of perpetual teenagers. No longer is this tiny percentage (but growing) men over-time working, ladder-climbing, fathering.

              Based on books and articles written about these men trying to shame them back into their appointed role, society from feminist to traditional is collective sh*tting their pants over this latest development.

              Can’t you see that the fact that so many men seek outward validation is a tool in the hands of those who GIVE that validation, i.e. women?

            • “If all men suddenly stopped looking for outward validation, then you would also have no more coalminers or firefighters.”
              Thank you. In a single sentence you have illuminated for me your entire worldview, and it does explain quite a bit about you and your views.
              To wit: You can’t imagine that someone would become a firefighter because they liked the adrenaline rush? or the thrill of saving people’s lives? or the chemistry and beauty of fire? You think the only reason is that because they want to impress women? You must have a profoundly limited worldview, if that’s the case. Most of the men I know don’t do their jobs, or make sacrifices, because of some warped sense of validation, that only women can dispense. They get their validation from within, or more often, from other men. I know that’s where I get most of my validation. And what about women firefighters or coalminers? How do they figure into this grand conspiracy of yours?

              Let me tell you, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices myself for my job. It’s low-paying, and I have to travel a lot (I work for a small non-profit helping to empower the poor). But I do it anyway. Why? Because I LIKE HELPING PEOPLE. Not because I need validation from my girlfriend, or mother, or any other person in my life.

            • I wrapped my point around validation from women, because we are talking about gender relations.

              However, I think you’re taking my words by the letter a little too directly. I was not suggesting that firefighters do what they do specifically to get laid only (or some such).

              OBVIOUSLY that external validation can also come in the form of gratitude of strangers. That seemed so obvious and natural that *I believed* it went without saying, but apparently I have to spell my points out for those who want to misrepresent my meaning.

              Obviously, firemen do what they do for a LOT MORE than appeal to women. But the primary reasons they do it *IS* for external validation.

              I think it’s funny that you question my point, and yet I am demonstrably proven correct when you look at the gender makeup of firefighters.

              When you remove the issue of high pay and look at the 1 million volunteer firefighters around the country they are 99% men. In other words it is primarily men who crave external validation (at least to degrees they will risk their lives for $0 for total strangers).

              You seem to be implying that I think men are somehow dysfunctional because of their drive for outward validation. I think it *CAN* be dysfunctional.

              I also think it is necessary for society, but contributes to the poor care and damage of men (through unnecessary risk-taking as in extreme sports like motorcross, bull-riding etc..).

              It’s funny because I just watched a special on Harry Houdini who died due to ignoring signs of appendicitus and did his show.

              I think the drive for external validation (in both men and women) can be both positive and negative for the individual. I think the more this is dysfunctional for individual men, the more it benefits society.

              The infrastructure of our society is built upon the blood, sweat, tears and bones of blue-collar men. From skyscrapers, to suspension bridges, to dams, to tunnels through mountains many dozens of thousands of men died (a great deal of them needless deaths).

              32,000 men died building the panama canal. I think these mens families would have wanted them to live long lives rather than die heros.

              I’m trying to say we need a new paradigm. One that doesn’t sacrifice men’s spirits, minds and bodies to build societies.

              I believe men should start asking themselves what makes them feel fulfilled rather than blindly chasing approval.

              Even if these men don’t find an early grave, at some point they will not have the physical abilities to do that, and they will have to find something else to fulfill themselves. Why not start earlier, rather than (potentially) living in depression because the limelight has now passed them by?

              You seem to be painting my depiction of men’s drive for outward validation as base and self-serving. On the contrary. I think many men sacrifice too much for people who don’t appreciate it at all.

            • “and what you’re saying is that they only one’s privilege to it are women.
              Just sounds like an incredibily insecure man seeing another man challenge that poor little insecure man’s identity. ”

              Can oyu try saying this again, this time in English? Thank you.

              i can’t tell if I agree with you or if this is just trite old shaming language.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Er, I think that’s what I was saying too. I was refuting the idea that homophobia and femmephobia were distinct.

          “Well, and consider the fact that historically, part of the masculine gender role included falling in love with women.”

          Not sure I agree with that though. In most cultures reproduction is an essential part of gender roles (it’s kind of the purpose of them) but not necessarily hetero-sexuality. There’s numerous examples of hypermasculine warrior societies that abhored femininity (I’d argue for reasons of necessity) but glorified homosexuality. Just look at the Theban Sacred Band, or Nisus and Euryalus, or the numerous references in the Hagakure.

          Where (male) homosexuality is divorced from femininity it tends to be pretty socially acceptable as far as history is concerned.

          This said, in current western culture homosexuality is heavily associated with gender bending behaviour (for both men and women) and as a result, those who fall outside of gender norms are often targets of homophobia, even if they are straight and mostly cisgendered. Equally homosexuals who follow their gender norms are often targets of femmephobia and masculophobia, even if they aren’t, themselves feminine or masculine.

          • “Er, I think that’s what I was saying too. I was refuting the idea that homophobia and femmephobia were distinct.”

            Maybe it wil help if you define what you mean by femmephobia. If you mena a fear and loatihing of anything feminien, then yes, there are pretty distinct. When a straighht man who will pay God knows how much money for pussy, and all the frills and giggles and all that other stuff, turns around and fag–bashes a gay man, that is not that kind of femmephobia,

            If you mena that a man kcan simulataenously adore feminine women, love femininity in one person, and hate effeminate men, than maybe…. But then the burden will be on you to show what the conditioning factor is that causes him to draw those distinctions. And it won’t be femmephobia. It will be more like defending female privilege.

            And no, that is not a contradiction. Defending women is a core value of chivalry and the patriarchy.

        • Chicago-JSO says:

          Of course society did not want men to love anyone other than women, if men loved each other they would be dangerous. Despite the total mis-representation that was the movie 300 a few years ago, the real story was about men who were all gay and stood together as brothers, and well that was dangerous to the entire world. That’s one of the reasons why gay men have been vilified.

        • Michael P. says:

          Actually, the crime of being a gay man is that of being of no use to society whatsoever–not willing to take on the “male” role of sacrificing himself for women and children and the higher-ranking pack members, and unable to take on the “female” role because he doesn’t have a uterus.

  5. Um, I was a super nerdly girl in high school. I read fantasy novels and sci fi, hung out with geek boys, played video games, and knew how to program my Atari 800 computer. However, I don’t recall receiving many accolades and support from my peers, parents and teachers. I was treated as an oddity at best. Mostly, I was ignored. I don’t know, maybe things have changed in the last 25 years, but in my day, the pretty girls who giggled and wore pink were treated like royalty.

    • Janet Dell says:

      @Sarah: I feel pretty certain in saying that if you talked to these so called pretty giggly girls they would feel exactly the same way you did.

      I was one of those pretty giggly girls and I too felt as though society was ignoring me and paying more attention to the ‘jock’ girls, geeky girls etc , simply because they were different.

      • Copyleft says:

        I suspect what we’re seeing in the article is an example of grass-is-greener hindsight. Everybody assumes that while they were being independent and unappreciated in high school, the other group had it easy and got lots of attention and support.

        ‘Taint necessarily so.

    • Chicago-JSO says:

      A girl being ignored for being a “geek” and an “oddity” is actually not a bad thing, boys are routinely beaten by their peers, taunted, throws in lockers, etc… for being those things!

  6. I think both masculinity and femininity get criticized but for different things. Men get criticized for acting macho, smelling bad, being dirty, creepy, socially inept, insensitive and for perusing nerdy things like Star Trek, Fantasy, Comics, programming etc. Most of the predominantly male pursuits which are non-athletic are treated as if only boring, socially inept, sex-starved losers would ever pursue them.

  7. Peter Houlihan says:

    I think there’s alot thats true here, but it’s also important to have the freedom to criticise “feminine” values that aren’t really all that worth having.

    Like perpetual minority (daddy’s little princess), why is that worth keeping? We’re more than willing to call out the bad bits of manhood (or the bad bits of humanhood that we associate with men), we should be willing to do the same with womanhood.

    • Personally I found a few things wrong with this article. What I do agree with, though, is that there was a backlash against traditionally feminine personality traits during second wave feminism. I don’t think this is quite the problem it used to be, just look at the monstrosity that is the beauty industry. Not to mention, the growing commonality of bromances and metrosexuality…so that traditionally feminine characteristics are becoming more acceptable in men, as well. (Not entirely, anyway, but it’s getting there).

      I think we’re at a point where we’re moving beyond this problem…where hopefully we’ll just worry about whether a trait is positive or negative, not whether it’s masculine or feminine.

  8. The more feminism merges the differences between men and women the more women will seek to show their difference. There is a huge industry preying on the insecurity of women who having taken up traditional male roles now want to reinforce their femininity. While many women may want to be doctors, lawyers or pilots, very few want to be just like men. (Individual feelings may vary)

    I don’t see why there seem to be an automatic connection between fear and hatred of women. Someone can fear women without hating them, yet it seems to be assumed that once someone fears women they will necessarily hate them. I fear lions, tigers and sharks, but I don’t hate them. “Fear and hatred of women” is a slogan, no more, no less.

    • “There is a huge industry preying on the insecurity of women who having taken up traditional male roles now want to reinforce their femininity. ”

      This is gold. This is why what Heather so aptly calls “the monstrosity that is the beauty industry” makes its money. Remember how new that industry really is. Correlation is not causation – but it is correlation.

  9. Not wanting to BE feminine myself doesn’t mean that someone hates women OR femininity. My wife is feminine, and I love that about HER. Were she not, she wouldn’t be my wife. If I were feminine, I wouldn’t be her husband; that’s not her thing.

    Neither of us, frankly, care what strangers and people we barely know think. This group think thing that Ashely Judd is obsesed with, where people are so consumed and emotionallly controlled by what they percieve to be the the opinions of strangers and people they barely know about them, IMO, is weakminded and odd .

    People need to learn to care less about the opinions of random strangers who mean nothing to them.

    • “Not wanting to BE feminine myself doesn’t mean that someone hates women OR femininity. My wife is feminine, and I love that about HER. Were she not, she wouldn’t be my wife. If I were feminine, I wouldn’t be her husband; that’s not her thing.”

      Some questions (in all sincerity, I’m not being rhetorical): If femininity is a quality you love in your wife, why don’t you want to be feminine? And why wouldn’t she love it in you?

      It seems as if many or even most people (at least the straight ones) feel this way. They’re attracted to certain qualities in their partner, who they love and respect, but at the same time they really, really don’t want to have those qualities themselves. Why is that?

      • “They’re attracted to certain qualities in their partner, who they love and respect, but at the same time they really, really don’t want to have those qualities themselves. Why is that?”

        Yeah, she’s got THE most beautiful breasts in the world. One of the many things I love about her, but I really don’t want man-boobs, nor does she want me to have them. I’m not sure how to explain why neither of us wants me to have man-boobs, but we just don’t. Just the way it is.

  10. “our culture has replaced the fear and hatred of women, with the fear and hatred of things commonly associated with women”

    So to those who don’t think this is the case…

    PLEASE give me ONE derogatory comment or name that a man is called That ISN”T a feminine reference.

    Here’s a couple that are used against women:
    SLUT PRUDE B**CH C*NT W*ORE… well there’s 5 for starters…

    What could a guy be called that’s equally degrading…
    that ISN”T a feminine reference…

    I’m seriously curious because I can’t think of any…

    • A**hole, dog, jerk, the list goes on.

    • Dick, prick, cock, jackass, cad, womanizer, creep, neandertal…

      • wellokaythen says:

        I’ve heard “typical male” used many times as an insult. That’s pretty clear.

        • Michael P says:

          Re: “typical male”

          My mother used that one on my father all the time! What really killed me about it was that I HATED the idea that my father was a “typical male”! I’m male and back then, I tried hard NOT to be like my father–but I didn’t want to NOT be male. All very confusing for a pre-teen.

          • Chicago-JSO says:

            @Michael P I’m right there with you, I had the same sort of experience, It took me years to get over the fact that I was a man, and that society had labeled me as a creepy, hound dog, one angry outburst away from committing murder, or rape. So many men I think are in this boat without knowing it. That’s why I just don’t care what people think of me any more.

      • Copyleft says:

        Wimp, wuss, loser, nerd, virgin…

        And let’s not forget ever-popular “nice guy(TM).”

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Yeah, I don’t feel the need to add to that list.

      Equally women showing manly behaviour or having masculine features are likely to be insulted because of them. I don’t think this represents a rejection of the masculine, any more than calling a guy a pussy is a rejection of femininity.

      It’s a rejection of gender-queerness. Either gender is more likely to be insulted in terms of how they fall outside their gender role or how they embody negative aspects of it.

      Men don’t get called sluts (much) women don’t get called virgins (much).

      • “It’s a rejection of gender-queerness. ”

        Bingo. We agree. That’s what I was getting at above.

      • Chicago-JSO says:

        It’s interesting how much of being a man rests on your ability to get women. “women don’t get called virgins (much).” that’s telling to me. In the end it comes down to one thing, if your a man and you have a girlfriend that means your taking up your slack and supporting (giving up your life, so that a women may live hers) a women, obviously this isn’t always true, but my point is that it was true in the past hence the shaming of males who don’t do their part and find a women to work for.

      • Women get called frigid or prudes all the time. Probably more often than guys get called man-whores in a truly hostile way.

        • As if it were just man-whore.

          Dog
          Pervert
          Womanizer
          Creep

          and so on…

          • An interesting thin about the term “man-whore,” is that the feminine version isn’t woman-whore. The term “whore” in itself implies that the person is female. The term “womanizer” does a similar thing, in that there isn’t a term “manizer,” for straight women. (And of course the term “womanizer” implies that you’re talking about a straight man, not a gay/bi woman).

            Just interested in languages, is all.

            • Oh that did cross my mind. In fact that is the reason why I think some people trying to pretend that “man-whore” is like the only insult used against men in this context. That way they can claim that they acknowledged that men do get insulted this way and then loop it back to how “whore” is anti-woman by default. Why only take a moment to point out anti-male sentiment when you can find something that shows its really about women.

              So while I can understand the interest in language that still doesn’t really get into the other insults I mentioned.

              How wonderful that the only insult used against men that someone can think of is “man-whore” right?

              (Yes I’m a pretty damn cynical person.)

            • Michael P says:

              Danny, careful, I don’t think people will catch your sarcasm.

    • John Schtoll says:

      I know you only asked for one.

      BUT

      How about

      Jerkoff, Asshole, Dick, Dickhead,
      or IMHO, the worse

      Deadbeat <– Why do I think this is a male only insult, because quite frankly I have never heard a woman called this who is behind on CS and it is just a shortened version of Deadbeat Dad, Even though a higher percentage of women are behind on CS

  11. excerpt from the article:
    “To see femmephobia in our society, it’s only necessary to look at the differences between how we treat masculine girls and feminine boys. A masculine girl is a “tomboy,” likely to be approved of by her parents; there are many programs to encourage girls in sports and in the sciences, stereotypically male fields.”

    This is covered very well by girl writes what.
    The issue isn’t men’s roles having value. The issue is that men only have value when they EMBRACE those roles. Men do not have value UNTIL they make themselves useful to society.

    Look at all the articles shaming and deriding the younger generations of men, who have opted out of ladder-climbing, overtime working and fathering children. Many books and articles have been written calling these men everything bug a nice guy.
    Women on the other hand have value due to their biology as the limiting factor of reproduction NO MATTER what role they choose.

    You’re conflating male disposability and misandry (particularly those men who refuse to try to earn society’s respect) with some arbitrary assigning of value to men’s and women’s behavior.

    Another fact to prove women have value: Women are free to choose male roles UNTIL they begin to choose roles that put them into eminent chance of danger (i.e. combat roles in the military). THEN women are told no.

    Girl writes what breaks this down in a much more logical and clear way, without adhering to any pre-conceived notions like men’s roles= good, women’s roles = bad that come out of women’s studies programs.

    • Michael P says:

      This was a much more thoughtful reaction than my own; I was SO caught up with correcting the thesis that insults to men are all about hatred of the feminine. It seems so obvious to me that our society LOVES the feminine, when it occurs in the “appropriate place.”

      Where is the article/whatever by Girl Writes What? That would make for good reading.

  12. Michael P says:

    “PLEASE give me ONE derogatory comment or name that a man is called That ISN”T a feminine reference… I’m seriously curious because I can’t think of any…”

    Are you stupid? Let me repeat Typhon’s list, which includes not only male genitalia (why does DICK have to be an insult?), but includes words meant to make men feel primitive and unintelligent JUST FOR BEING MEN:

    “DICK, PRICK, COCK, JACKASS… NEANDERTHAL.”
    And how about HOMO or QUEER or FAG? Have you noticed that men are made fun of for loving other men? That is NOT a decidedly feminine insult–it is not the fact that women love men that gets it used as an insult. It is rather that, hey look at that guy, he LIKES DICK. That has always been an insult in popular culture; the female equivalents, such as “rugmuncher,” are only recent, and rarely (if ever) used because our society loves lesbians (even if only secretly). For the record, these insults are not only leveled against men by men: my mother called me a fag when I was younger, and after my grandmother’s funeral, in a restaurant, my aunt hissed under her breath about a group of “fags” at a table in the corner.

    How about CREEP, DOUCHEBAG and SCUMBAG (I suppose we could debate douchebag, but I think it’s obvious the theme with the “-bag” words is “intimate toiletry items)”, TOOL (another reference to male genitalia–so far that’s four insults involving male genitalia).

    I think all we’ve established is that there are (probably) many more words specifically used to insult a man than to insult a woman, and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with anything feminine. Maybe we should do a count.

    I consider this article a failure and another sign that most authors seeking publication here would prefer to put on blinders in order to develop a neat and tidy thesis with a little edge than to talk about the whole issue. But what do I know–I’m just some chauvinist asshole, right?

    • Everybody forgot the biggest ones:
      Loser, Failure, not a “real man”. The idea that men “fail” at manhood I never see replicated for women.

      This shows that men have value only when they self-sacrifice and make themselves useful to society. Women have value from birth. Even very ugly women are cared for much more than men who are the washouts at the male role.

      I’ve never heard of a woman being beaten for being ugly (or infertile), but gay and homeless men are beaten and or slain all the time.

      Look to the many examples in popular culture which depict violence against men (up to rape and murder) are shown as comedy. How can the popular culture systematically depict derision and laughter at male pain, if all things related to men are honored?

    • Dude. You don’t know what you are talking about regarding attitudes towards gay men and women. Talk about blinders. “Dyke” is not remotely a recent insult, and is often used as such currently. Maybe you hear more directed at men because you are one.

      Our society loves idealized fantasy-bisexual ladies, not lesbians.

  13. wellokaythen says:

    I don’t have any figures on this, but I suspect that this is less of an overt problem than it used to be. Sure, there are still some little boys who say that “girls are gross,” though I am quite sure they are now outnumbered by girls saying “boys are stupid.”

    Much of this is not specifically about gender ideas but is an issue of the general way that a society treats differences. A subculture steeped in insecurity, immaturity, and competition (like high school or certain political organizations) tells me that something that seems a little foreign to me is “weird” and therefore “stupid” and therefore “inferior” to the way that I do things. And, therefore, that thing is “just not me” and it would be stupid and wrong for anyone like me to do anything like that.

    Just a vocabulary question here: could you give a basic explanation of the difference between “misogyny” and “femmephobia”?

  14. Michael P says:

    And the bit about advertising… we also have soap “for women,” razors “for women,” shaving cream “for women,” HEALTH SHAKES “for women,” CEREAL “for women,” YOGURT “for women,” energy drinks “for women…” Vitamin supplements for women/men? Totally a marketing ploy–especially since study after study shows that such supplements do NOTHING except increase your risk of any kind of cancer. (It was discovered years ago that men who take a selenium supplement are at a significantly HIGHER risk of prostate cancer; yet the supplements continue to be sold as FOR MEN–with 500% DV of selenium and lycopene!). Should our diets differ? Yes–but it is not so simple as “do you have a penis, or a vagina?” I’m digressing, but my point is that advertisers do not market “normal stuff and STUFF FOR MEN,” but rather “stuff for women and stuff for men,” and in many cases the healthfood stuff is actually marketed as “regular health stuff and health stuff for women–because your health is super special to us.”

    • “and in many cases the healthfood stuff is actually marketed as “regular health stuff and health stuff for women–because your health is super special to us.””

      I was with you, until you brought up this point. My understanding is that actually a lot of the reason that they’ll do this is because they assume a woman is doing the grocery shopping.

      But yes, the “stuff for women,” and “stuff for men,” phenomenon is totally a marketing ploy. The one that pisses me off the most has got to be razors. Like, really? We have this sharp piece of metal for men, and this one for men. What’s the difference? Why the color of the handle, of course. Bah!

      • lmfao.
        agree +1

      • Michael P. says:

        “I was with you, until you brought up this point. My understanding is that actually a lot of the reason that they’ll do this is because they assume a woman is doing the grocery shopping.”

        Well, to respond in short, *yes*. I don’t think we disagree on that, and, in fact, I’ve elsewhere quoted a figure from some poll or other that found men make up only 31% of grocery shoppers. Healthfood companies advertise in such a way as to state that women’s health is super important because the ones buying the food are mostly women.

        Actually, I’d like to make the point here that such products may do real harm to the men consuming them. It has been found that diets high in soy and flax may contribute to prostate cancer (one proposed reason being phytoestrogens concentrated especially in soy beans and flax). So, a woman shopping for her family’s groceries may find healthy soy milk marketed as specifically “good for women,” and honey/almond/flax cereal good for a woman who’s trying to stay active and maintain a good diet. Her husband and son are meanwhile ingesting (concentrated–it’s all about the amount) hormone-like substances that throw the balance of the ones they naturally produce. Naturally, the final word isn’t in, but the preliminary evidence is there and further study is being done.

        Also naturally: the healthfood companies have said nothing about this to the 60%+ women shopping for their family’s groceries.

        Another bit for thought: one study has found that sons whose mothers consumed chicken on a regular basis during pregnancy have, on average, penile dimensions smaller than overall population average. In a society hellbent on both demonizing male sexuality and on making it a source of comedy, this is a conceptual hop away from child abuse.

    • wellokaythen says:

      A weird example is Rogaine, which has sort of come full circle. It was originally developed for women who were losing their hair. Then it became much more popular, and marketed more, as a product for men who were losing their hair, so that’s what it became known for. Now there’s “Rogaine for Women,” which is odd because it was first developed for women in the first place….

  15. Are people so sure masculine traits are seen as positive?
    Masculine traits (as I commonly hear women tell men) include rape, genocide, war, murder, violence, control, oppression, torture.

    There is a HUGE amount of mascuphobia? around, hands up who is willing to hire a male babysitter? Men are seen as less trustworthy and more violence than women commonly, so is this male-phobia?

    As for femme-phobia, I see feminine traits being celebrated more and more especially in schools. Diplomacy, caring for each other, communication skills, gentle nature, etc. I see the masculine traits of aggression, etc being chastised. So it leaves me wondering is it femme phobia alone OR femme phobia and male-phobia that exists?

    There are good n bad “gender traits” for both so how does that play in all of this?

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “As for femme-phobia, I see feminine traits being celebrated more and more especially in schools. Diplomacy, caring for each other, communication skills, gentle nature, etc.”

      Or rather that these human traits are celebrated as being feminine.

      • I think that’s part of the problem…we’re still too concerned about whether traits are feminine or masculine. When I was a kid, for example, my mother always encouraged me to be more traditionally feminine. On the other hand, I grew up surrounded by teachers and media which told me that certain traditionally feminine traits were actually bad…particularly concern with one’s appearance, gossiping, and showing emotions.

        So because we lump all of these disparate traits into two categories – masculine and feminine – when I was shown that certain feminine traits were bad, I took it to mean all feminine traits were bad. I ended up going through a period where I tried to be as masculine as possible, because I felt like I was in a society that hated all things feminine.

        I imagine it’s probably something similar with men, or at least that’s what it sounds like from a lot of what I’m seeing here. A bunch of traits are lumped together and identified as masculine: aggression, anger, stoicism, physical strength, etc. So again, when a boy gets shown that boys are too aggressive and that they shouldn’t be, it gets understood as meaning that all masculine traits are bad.

        Hope that made sense.

        • “I think that’s part of the problem…we’re still too concerned about whether traits are feminine or masculine.”

          I call this genderitis, gendering things that are not inherently gendered.

    • I agree with Archy and basically think the same thing.

      There are still circles out there that loathe the feminine. But their numbers are vanishing to the point of extinction.

      Meanwhile, the loathing of traits considered “Masculine” is at an all time high. We went from “Girls are gross” to “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” (and the latter wasn’t thought of as a big deal compared to the former). Men and boys are criticised for the lot of women, rendered incapable of speaking out about their problems. Male issues are derided and laughed at while women’s issues continue to get the majority coverage in the media.

      Of course, I could be talking “Grass is greener”. Still the pendulum has swung way too far, that’s what I think.

    • “There are good n bad “gender traits” for both so how does that play in all of this?”

      My reply to Peter sort of is my answer to this question…but basically, I think that the problem is the way we identify traits as either masculine or feminine. We lump them altogether and then we discourage kids from expressing the traits we see as negative. Aggression, anger, control, etc on the masculine side, and weakness, ditsiness, shallowness, etc on the feminine side. But kids just hear – girls are like this, and it’s bad. Or boys are like this, and it’s bad. So then boys end up thinking that they’re being told being masculine is bad. And girls end up thinking that they’re being told being feminine is bad.

  16. John Anderson says:

    “Of the streak of gay teen suicides in 2010, the majority were men.”

    Aren’t the majority of suicides men? The social safety net for men is almost non-existent when compared to that of women. Couldn’t this simply illustrate society’s disdain for men rather than a fear of the feminine?

    • If I’m not mistaken, Ozy is the same person as Ozymandias who takes the position that male suicide is not a greater problem than female suicide as women supposedly attempt suicide equally often (?). She equates failed suicide attempts with actual suicide. While she claims there’s no such thing as feigned suicide.
      Perhaps it’s a different ozy, in which case I take it all back. But if it isn’t, then I once more question the implication of having somebody with such views publish on this site.

      So, I suspect you will not get the answer you’re looking for.

  17. By your logic, women being prevented from having a career was down to fear or hatred of the masculine since it suggests that women doing something typically masculine is negative. Let me guess, you wouldn’t conclude that would you? Course not, that would require an egalitarian application of your abstruse theories.

    Assertions like this demonstrate the ruthlessness with which some feminists enforce the concept of female victimhood. Taking something that, even the author herself admits to be discrimination against men, and twisting it into something that people do to women, absurdly manages to be both misandrist and misogynist at the same time.

    • Excellent take-down of the author’s mis-identification of the dynamic Adi.
      100% spot-on.
      Do you have a blog, or a blog you regularly post on?

      • Thanks John,
        I just occasionally comment in a few places. I have considered posting here but with Noahbrand as the editor that is not going to happen. Probably I’ll build my own website one day. I detest blogs and the concept of blogging so it will offer a lot more than just diary style posts.

    • Wilhelmina de Jong says:

      “women being prevented from having a career was down to fear or hatred of the masculine since it suggests that women doing something typically masculine is negative.”

      That about pin-points it down what I experience in my career as an engineer. I’m also a trained mechanic and have no problems going into the tool shop and lending a hand with the welding or quickly fixing something myself.
      This makes me pretty difficult dating material on the male side and an object of scrutiny by the female side. Men seem to be intimidated that I may earn as much or even more and the fact that I can fix my own car, so where is their ‘value’ in a relationship with a woman like me who is 100% self sufficient. Women also find me weird, cause I think women’s mags are garbage and I can’t talk about getting my nails coloured for hours on end. They also think that I’m somehow not a real woman.
      In the work place, if I dress more gender neutral I’m told I’m not a real woman and too manly. Which implies that this is something negative. If I turn up in a skirt and a blouse, I’m not taken serious on a professional level and end up reminding the male colleagues that making their copies is not part of my job.

      It goes both ways. One of my best friends is a nurse, very female dominated profession and he gets the exact same stuff just vice versa.

      • Do men tell you that they are intimidated by that stuff? I think that stuff is great, fix my car for me:P I’d love a partner to help me build a CNC router, play with electronics, robotics, etc.

        The only thing I dislike in female clothing in the workplace is shoulder pads, they really bug the hell out of me and look too damn fake, something about trying to look masculine meets body armor just seems wrong. I take women seriously whether they’re in a bikini, business suit, evening gown, hell butt nekkid if they want, although it’d be better to wear protective clothing in the workshop for instance.

        If you have a voice, I listen. I’ve seen people shrug off “blue collar workers” as being stupid yet I find them to be like everyone else, some are extremely intelligent and impress the hell out of me with their knowledge. Our society still needs to work on how we judge people, that homeless guy who looks worse for wear could be a mensa, that CEO could be quite average compared to his/her workers, etc.

        PS, high 5 for being a female engineer!

      • Only, that the author of this article suggests that there’s only femmephobia or at least overwhelmingly much of it. If there are two sides to the story, then lets hear both of them.

  18. I have to agree that it is the genderization of human qualities that is promoting a lot of trouble for people of all genders. We should just look at what traits are positive and negative ones, and raise our children to be balanced people, who can be assertive, rather than controlling or passive, who can express their feelings honestly without worrying that it’s not appropriate for their gender.
    I do think that both sides get flack from a lot of people for acting certain ways, though it’s worse for men in our society in some ways (clothing being the one that really sticks out).

  19. The whole “for men” trend in advertising is just sickening. I don’t need to use “products designed for men” TO FEEL LIKE A MAN! I’m secure enough in my masculinity, thank you very much. Besides, the whole masculine-feminine divide is artificial, to a large extent. Of course, there ARE real differences between the sexes regarding how much each “acts a certain way, on average”, but a) I think those differences are far smaller than we assume and b) SO WHAT… The naturalistic fallacy SHOULD NOT DETERMINE WHO CAN DO OR SAY WHAT just b/c they were born with certain chromosomes and genitalia!

    Differences exist, but we MUST NOT MAGNIFY THEM and assume that THIS IS THE WAY THINGS OUGHT TO BE.

  20. Besides, EVERY man has at least one X chromosome (the “female” one). Also, the clitoris is said to be homologous (in the same area and made of similar tissue, I think) to the penis! Not only that, but ENLARGED clitorii oftentimes LOOK LIKE SMALL PENII. So, in reality, the two genders, even at a BIOLOGICAL level, are kind of artificial to begin with!

    Did you know that PEOPLE WITH STUFF LIKE KLEINFELTER AND TURNER SYNDROME have stuff like “XXXY” (or even MORE X’s, sometimes as many as 5) sex-chromsome classifications?? If I recall correctly, almost NONE of those disorders has more than one Y CHROMOSOME, which is a bit odd, but I think, in the end, it just goes to show that WE’RE ALL ORIGINALLY “FEMALE.”
    Maybe that business about “Lucy” being the FIRST HUMAN (or at least the oldest-known one) has a bit more to the story than most assume? And let’s not forget that mitochrondria- included in every cell- contain ONLY THE MOTHER’S DNA.

  21. Let’s not forget about Carl Jung’s concepts of “anima” and “animus.” He theorized that EVERY MAN AND WOMAN have active “feminine” and “masculine” identities (or even “people”) within their subconscious minds, and how well-adjusted said people are to their two sides will determine their success with various relationships in life.

    In the end, it seems that WHAT WE CALL “FEMININE” is, truth be told, THE ORIGINAL. Despite crap like the Bible saying that WOMEN CAME FROM MEN (Adam and Eve), it may be QUITE THE OPPOSITE! So, men, don’t be afraid to GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR FEMININE SIDES EVERY NOW AND THEN! ;) A society that represses its members unpopular and/or uncommon desires and needs is disastrous.

  22. And, just to be fair (and so some men don’t call me crap like a “mangina”), women: do YOUR part and be as masculine as you want! Or don’t want
    The choice is yours

  23. Last but not least, it’s been said that MEN WITH MANY BROTHERS have a higher chance of being gay than a man with none or almost none. This is theorized to be due to the fact that a MOTHER’S PREGNANT BODY will learn to ‘attack’ the male fetus with various feminizing antibodies, and that could explain why those men have higher estrogen levels and/or are more effeminate. It’s curious that FEMALE children never experience this phenomenon, even if they were born into families WITH A LOT OF SISTERS. But perhaps this just further illustrates that life is “innately” feminine, to some extent.

    Keep in mind that I don’t mean to DEMEAN males or say that they’re worthless, but you gotta keep it real, too. Just the facts

    Or at least I have yet to see similar studies that draw the same conclusions for gay girls as for gay boys… For some reason, it’s a lot easier to get GAY MEN as participants in various studies or to get their records, DNA, etc. as research material than for lesbians. I think

    • Really? Women with many sisters are “immune” to this phenomenon –or is it more just that similar studies don’t exist, because masculinity in women isn’t pathologised he way that femininity in men is?

Trackbacks

  1. […] is a trouble that I look on with no small amount of sympathy. In this lovely article from No Seriously, What AboutTeh Menz? Ozy Frantz discusses how, when zie was in […]

  2. […]          Ultimately we are best served in our shared battles against femmephobia, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, not by forcing ourselves in to an artificial unity which […]

  3. […] rather than inclusion. As women became more a visible part of public life across the 19th century, femmephobia arose as an ugly defensive reaction, and men’s roles were increasingly seen as the rough, […]

  4. […] of what’s going on here is old-fashioned gender enforcement via bullying, the enforcement of femmephobia on a young boy. Some of it, though, is a backlash against something more specific. My Little Pony […]

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