who are these sissies?

What makes a male act like a “sissy”? I am sorry I dont know how to explain it except to say “like a girl”. I am thinking of that decorator guy on cable. Is there a physical reason (hormone level…)? If you have 2 dead guys on a slab could the autopsy find which one acted like a girl. Growing up I always equated limp wrisp to homosexuals but now I am not sure.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that no one is going to respond to this, for fear of being labeled “homophobic” or whatever. Good luck, though.

I forgot to mention…
I know the guy you’re talking about, and you’re right about him acting that way. The thing is, if people thought they were watching Saturday Night Live and not the actual decorating show he’s on, many of them would be outraged because they’d think they were seeing a (bad) stereotype of a (as you said) “sissy.” But the guy really does act that way.

Maybe I shouldn’t be responding, as I don’t know the answer to the OP.

Oh well. :slight_smile:

I think the question you are trying to ask might be, "Why do some segments of western society assign the term “effeminate” or “sissy” to some male behavior patterns?

I KNOW. It seems queer to me that you can talk about anything as long as you don’t sound homophobic, religious, conservative… I titled it to get some response. Hopefully someone will have some information to pass along. I dont know how to define this question or I would do the search myself. “effeminate?”

Is this a western society only view? The british dont seem to have a problem with it. The american view of the brits during WWII was that they weren’t man enough to win the war.

As with any other behavior, it’s almost certainly a complex combination of nature and nurture, the exact details of which are unknown.

Reminds me. . . There was some football announcer back in the 70s (remarking how Roger Staubach was holding his arms was trotting off the field to the locker room) who said, “Roger looks kinda like a sissy.” Oddly, he got fired. At least he didn’t say, “Look at the little monkey run!” as Howard Cosell did.

I don’t believe that is the question he is trying to ask. The question you pose assumes that the behavior being described is learned and not inherent.I think that the OP is asking whether or not the behavior that is described as “sissy” (or “effeminate” if you prefer) by Western Society is inherent or learned. This is a different question.

I also think that it is as valid of a question as “Is Homosexuality inherent or learned / chosen?” I also believe that it will probably be almost as touchy as that question. It may be more of a Great Debate than a General Question.

Of course, I may have interpreted the OP incorrectly.


Do you have a place where you could show us someone who actually said that?
Most societies have stereotypes of certain groups, but it is simply not true that all (or even a large number of) Brits are effiminate (go tell it to the Coldstream Guards, if you dare) or that all (or even most) New Yorkers are rude or that all (or even most) Texans are empty braggarts or that all (or even a discernible minority of) Southerners are sister-molesting rednecks.
Regarding the OP. There are, indeed, men whose personal mannerisms evoke a comparison to the mannerisms commonly associated with women. As Manny said, the question would seem to be why does society pigeonhole those mannerisms according to sexual attitudes or perceived sexual orientation.

I don’t know the answer, although my guess would be that it is, to a certain extent, learned behavior and not physiologically based. I went to school with a few guys who were twitted as “fems” but who clearly were not considered by my gay classmates to be “one of” that group.

OK let’s take a risk and try to tease something out of this question. The way it is posed seems offensive, possibly intentionally so as the OP later suggests.

Let’s rephrase it by saying;

'Some behaviours in any society may be seen as appropriate to people of identified as a particular biological sexual identity. These expected behaviours vary from society to society and from age to age. Some people of a particular biological sexual identity may exhibit behaviours seen as more appropriate for the other biological sexual identity.

‘These behaviours, then, are highly complex and societally determined.’

A potential answer:

There is virtually no evidence to show that highly complex societally determined behavours can be genetically determined. Such complex behaviours tend to be an artefact of the particular society- produced by child rearing and other socialization practices.

Therefore it is reasonable to say that such behaviour is learned (either voluntarily or unconsciously) and is to a certain extent chosen or at least tolerated by the individual concerned.

On a non-scientific note, I have had homosexual friends who are male and not in the least ‘sissy’, and female and not ‘butch’. I have also known people who are straight and male and ‘feminine’ in many characteristics and straight and female and ‘masculine’ in many characteristics.

In summary, such behaviour is socially constructed, to some extent voluntary, and is most unlikely to show up at an autopsy!!!

I’m reminded by this thread of the “Cheers” episode where Norm tried his hand at decorating. He assumed an effeminate persona, because he said his clients expected it of decorators, and he attributed his success to the fact that they all thought he was gay. IIRC, the guy on the cable show the OP refers to is married w/ children.

This is a tough OP. I tried about 10 times to state it. then I just gave up and dumped it. Let me try again.

There is a mannerism that is identifiable by American culture. (Maybe not by other cultures) It has certain degrees of extremity. From is the designer guy on TV, the SNL guy, Mick Jagger to Steven Seagal. I dont think it relates to sexuality. Is is a learned , genetic or homones or what?

I am not trying to upset anyone. My wife says I run like a sissy. She nearly died of laughter when Hugh Grant ran in then Mickey Blue Eyes movie and his girl friend tells him to stop running like that to make her laugh. He says “thats my run”. She says that is me.

I was never taught “this is the way to run” I just run like that.

Now the question is why?

Ooookay… Do you want to try for 11, so we can comprehend it? :confused:

Hets might look at gay mannerisms as ‘sissy’.

However, I wonder if gay men look at straight men qualities as ‘sissy?’

why would they?

Oddly enough, I have never in my life met a girl or woman who acted like “that decorator guy on cable” on any other stereotypical limp-wristed type. I don’t know why so many people consider such behavior feminine when it is nothing like the way that actual female people act.

As we’ve recently had much occasion to discuss down in the pit, you’re right not to be sure that homosexuals act femme. I’m a homosexual who acts femme (I prefer this term over “feminine” or “effeminate”, for the reason Lamia notes) but for every one of me there’s a butch gay guy out there too.

I do believe that more homosexuals act femme than straight men. Not because they are gay, but rather because after they come out, it is much more accepted (though still not enough :rolleyes: ) for a gay man to act femme than for a straight man.

My guess is the proportion of femme men is similar between gay men and straight men but that gay men express it more, for that reason.

As for why some men act femme… well, I don’t know. Why do some men act butch?

Excellent point, Lamia. Consider drag queens. How many women walk around dressed like RuPaul?

I thought the OP was pretty clear.

The answer is…i doubt it. Its probably about 10% nature (maybe slightly lower testosterone or slightly higher estrogen levels) and 90% nurture (growing up with super conservative nurturing parents or possibly a dominant female role model…etc). This is just my educated guess based on the fact that i have 2 cousins that act like this.

One of the Master’s columns, somewhat related: Why is lisping stereotypically associated with homosexuality?

I remember a stand-up comedian who once said that those that act that way simply because it’s fun!