Why is femininity hated in men so much?

There’s this myth in society and online, even on this site surprisingly that feminine = gay. However talking to actual gay men in real life or asking questions on forums it seems that the least preferred gay men are feminine men. Not only do most women apparently dislike a man who’s feminine but even gay men seem to have a dislike for that.

Why? Clothing in society is either for women or unisex. Men cannot wear skirts or dresses without getting laughed out of existence. Even covert female clothing (boots, leggings etc) are a turnoff or weird for a good number if not the majority of people. Never mind dating, in friendships a guy will probably be isolated by a group of lads or beaten up if he’s caught wearing some covert feminine shoes.

Gender roles and identity? If so why does it seem that lesbians are much more open minded to feminine or masculine looks in women but gay men aren’t. What is so bad about being feminine as a man that people would rather fight to death than be called a ‘pussy’?

If so then are those who fight for women’s rights and believe in traditional gender roles just not worth listening to?

I would say that “femininity” in a man is close to 100% aligned with being gay, and it’s the latter that provokes the negative responses. If there were men around as feminine in behavior as Doris Day but who were known to be complete het in preference and behavior, it might change things.

However, can you list any feminine or highly effete men who were avowedly heterosexual? The lack of examples tends to reinforce the effete==gay perception. (I am reluctant to call it a stereotype.) So the negativity is towards open presentation as homosexual, not as “feminine.”

In the early 20th century there was a cultural shift in Western cultures over self-policing of male behavior due to the new fear of being labeled a homosexual, which was increasingly pathologized. Previous to this development homosexuality wasn’t a coherent concept. The cultural concept wasn’t that people were gay or not, but people engaged in gay acts. This article has a good collection of photos showing how common it was for male friends to hold hands, hug each other, touch legs, and so on. You still see this sort of behavior in some non-Western cultures. Western women are still often touchy feely with their friends the way men used to be.

As for why men in general want to banish any feminine contamination of their character, you’re basically asking for the feminist spiel: gender is not a spectrum but a hierarchy, with masculinity on the top and feminity at the bottom. Moreover, femininity itself is an artificial construct, essentially ritualized submission to men. Women are supposed to be weak, stupid, and flighty. No one wants to be those things. Men in particular need to defend their status and in many cases can have quite the overreaction, e.g. shooting someone for stepping on their sneaker. So saying a man is like a woman is fighting words.

Do you believe the same is true for masculine women? Whatever that means to you.

I don’t think it’s so much gayness as it is that femininity in men, like masculinity in women, simply goes counter to what is expected or desired of that gender.



It’s pretty simple. If you believe that men are better than women, acting like a woman is the worst thing you can do. As the saying goes, homophobia is misogyny’s shitty little brother.

Lad is often used colloquially in british english to mean a type of guy somewhat similar to the american fratbro douche.

No, but as you point out, the range of acceptable behavior for women is/remained much wider. A woman could wear almost anything Target sells with little or no negative reactions; a man, only definitively “masculine” clothing. I’ve known some very tough, arguably masculinized women who were completely het.

Just last week a friend went on a date with another guy whom he met online. He had been excited for it as he said that they shared a lot in common and there was a definite physical attraction. However, when they met and talked for the first time the date “opened his mouth and purse fell out”. That was the end for him (he didn’t leave or be rude, but just had decided that was terminus of pursuing anything more).

The typical reaction to this is “if I wanted to date a woman, I’d be straight instead”. This isn’t uncommon in the gay male community either where “straight-acting” is listed as a desired quality. I can say I personally have been guilty of this too. I consider myself to be a 6 on the outdated Kinsey scale as I’ve never been attracted to a woman at all. My husband can’t really be clocked as a homosexual and I actually prefer that. Part of it, for me at least, is some level of internalized homophobia. I’ve travelled around the world to some not-so-gay-friendly places and have felt more secure that people wouldn’t automatically assume that we are gay. (Inversely, I find having to repeatedly “come out of the closet” to new people we meet a bit annoying too.)

This stance leads us down uncomfortable roads however. Is it sexist to be only attracted to masculine people? (Which also can be brought around to other lines of questioning like can preferences for a mate be racist/ sexist/ ageist etc?) Is it homo- or hetero- phobic to only be attracted to someone of a certain sex or gender?

What’s even more interesting is that women, and especially lesbians, can wear men’s clothing without much hassle or labels. If a man were to wear woman’s clothing, he’s then a transvestite (or transgendered/transsexual).

Part of it is just preconceived notions, expectations, and boxes we expect people to be in. I catch myself doing it all of the time and I try to analyze where these thought patterns come from. For example, yesterday I was perusing the subreddit “public freakouts” which is just a catalog of humanity circling the drain. In one of the videos, a man and a woman are in a fight. The man pushes the woman and the woman slaps the man. The woman is yelling at the other fight going on “leave my boyfriend alone”. No one was really concerned when the woman slaps the man, but when he pushes her into a van, it causes distress. Not just for the cameraman but for me too. My mind goes on a mental tangent wondering about the woman whose boyfriend is not winning his fight and how she can still “respect” him later.

Those are some of the expectations based on the gender of the participants I had in a short video. A man should not hit a woman even if she is hitting him. A woman should want a man who can protect her. It’s sexist and wrong (well, so is assault and battery) and I like to think of myself as liberal and progressive but I have to re-analyze situations like this and try to understand my thinking.

A big part of it, I think, is we like things to be binary and have issues when they are not. We expect a person to be straight or gay, man or woman, democrat or republican and want to be able to spend less time categorizing than thinking. If PART A=X then we can assume Y and Z. Our brains don’t seem to like it when PART A=X and L and F follow.

The odd thing is that while much of society loathes feminine men, there’s a big genre for them. Emo male pop singers, guys with flowing long hair, guys who sing in an effeminate voice, guys who dress like women, guys who are slim/slender rather than muscular, etc.

Working on it.

If you think it ought to be transparently easy to come out in that fashion, I’d urge you to reconsider. I wrote a book about my experiences.

Meanwhile, what is “heterosexuality”, anyway? Is it just the situation where people with physically male parts and people with physically female parts become sexually involved? No, actually;

(emphasis added)

Heterosexuality is a very scripted set of flirting and courting behaviors, and they all assume the male-bodied person is masculine in behavior (and priorities and personality and so on), and the female-bodied person feminine. In order to comprehend what kind of sexually flirtations and etc interactions occur between a feminine male-bodied person and female folks to whom he’s attracted, you need to suspend pretty much all of what you think heterosexuality is like. (aside from the base-line “people with physically male parts and people with physically female parts become sexually involved” part).

Things work differently for us.

We don’t have a part of town or night clubs that cater to people who are wired like us.

I’m closer to agreeing with this, but the fact that society has sissyphobia and homophobia all entwined together in folks’ heads is relevant. Oh, and both of them are entwined with misogyny as well.

Males with a feminine personality & nuances and whatnot are hated and held up as something to be worried about, like we’re scary or something. So are gay guys. And no matter how many gay guys are rowdy and masculine and not remotely effeminate, the gay guys are perceived as us, and we’re perceived as them, and both of us are lumped in with trans male-to-female people as “men who act like women in every respect and want to be women”. There’s contempt because, well, male chauvinism and assumptions of masculine superiority.


Yeah, that.

I don’t think people have a problem with gay. I think people are put off by the flamboyant or feminine nature of some gay men.
Back when I used to frequent a local neighborhood bar. One of the regulars their was an openly gay man. This was an openly gay man that frequented a bar, who’s patrons were mostly blue collar “good ol’ boy” types. And the man in question was widely accepted by his fellow bar patrons.

I suspect this is mostly because he carried himself pretty much exactly the same way his “good ol’ boy” drinking mates did. He was also a walking encyclopedia in all things sports. Which I’m sure didn’t hurt his likability.

I have no opinion one way or the other beyond what I’ve said; I simply have no experience with (biological) men who act like very feminine women but are (more or less exclusively) sexually attracted to women.

This. I’m a little put off by women who act in the way that’s stereotypical for feminized men. (The “fruity” stereotype, if I can slip vulgar here.) It’s no more attractive on a woman than a man.

I’ve known a few men who behaved like classy women, and I have to say I found it intriguing without it being sexually attractive in any way.

I know it wasn’t your intent, but that saying you put up made me laugh so hard I spit Dr. Pepper on my laptop screen. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a weird sense of humor. Sorry for the hijack.

Like stpauler, I also happen to be a perfect Kinsey 6, never attracted to women, and married to a perfect 3. In fact my husband describes himself as “pansexual,” meaning he’s gender blind. He’s equally attracted to males, females, and anything in-between or “none of the above.” It just so happens that the person he loves is a man, me.

I’ve never had any preference in regard to how “butch” a guy is. That’s just not a quallity that has any significance to me, one way or the other. Before meeting my husband, I had been with a wide assortment of men, including some who may be described as effeminate, and I’m neither attracted to nor repelled by them, just as I’m indifferent to the color of their eyes.

Both my husband and I have been described as “regular” guys, and yes, the ongoing need to repeatedly come out, when appropriate, can be an annoyance. This is especially true for my husband; if he responds positively to a woman, it’s assumed he’s straight, and he has to clarify that perception. My sexuality is somewhat easier to categorize.

In short, we unfortunately live in a binary world; it’s a lot easier to think we are all round or square pegs, fitting perfectly into round or square holes. But real people come in all different shapes and sizes. Society, or at least parts of it, is evolving in that respect. People are beginning to understand that it’s ok not to fit into stereotypical sex or gender roles. But this evolution takes time, in fact generations.

Gender roles, at least male gender roles are very confining.


In college I was taking a gender class and the teacher listed a set of personality traits. The traits were along a spectrum of masculinity to femininity.

She said that when the answers were graded women were all over the spectrum, but men virtually always fell along the spectrum of masculinity. Implying there were strong overt and covert masculine traits that were defining men’s personalities. She said this happened with every class, women were all over the spectrum but men were only along the masculine spectrum.

As a straight woman who prefers androgynous or feminine men, I get a lot of second-hand exposure to this phenomenon. I am 100% convinced that it has more to do with misogyny than homophobia; as mentioned upthread, if women are inferior, then being like a woman is inferior. People at large are more tolerant of gay men if they are perceived as masculine, which suggests to me that homophobia is at least in part due to effemiphobia, rather than the other way around.

Really a book, or are you being metaphorical? Is it available somewhere?

OP, you sure have a strange assortment of threads.

Forty years ago, homosexuality was still listed in the DSM as a psychological disorder.

Twenty years ago, a man ordering a quiche, diet soda or salad was considered effete. A man staying home from work for the sake of the kids? What a wuss! I know many men who would not wear a pink shirt to work.

There will always be people who seek to raise themselves up by putting others down, and feminine men are an easy target. Small minds discuss other people.

The above definition of mascilinity could be paraphrased: “don’t deviate from traditional roles”, “work is life”, “be unemotional”, “act aggressively or get picked on” has a lot of truth but also obvious limitations; it is easier to be a conformist than be different from the crowd. But it is easier now to be different than in most times in history, more men are metrosexual. Some men feelers threatened by outmoded roles so double down on despising difference since aggression is often unacceptable.

Masculinity is a vague set of values; like these things, don’t like those things, state your mind, fight for what’s right, be sexual, work hard, don’t cry. Nothing wrong with these values. Nothing wrong with being different. I would not choose to get regular manicures or wear makeup or fuss much with my hair. Men who always wear track pants don’t like suits or ties; men hunt and fish and cuss and smoke and drink and take chances and bench 500 pounds – masculinity is in the eye of the beholder.