Feminizing Vs Effeminate
By: Clio

I've written about the topic of feminizing men several times in my Bitch Fest. It's one of the most annoying trends I tend to find in slash fanfiction. No, I'm not obsessed with it. I just see it cropping up so much and in so many different ways I tend to feel the need to point it out. With this article here, I'm trying to clarify what I mean by feminizing. I'm trying to point out that there is a difference between an effeminate male and feminizing a male character.

Now, I have nothing against effeminate males, I've known and been friends with some in my life. I have nothing against them and no where in my bitch fest was I trying to be derogatory towards men who display effeminate qualities. Men who are effeminate, as some would call them, in their carriage and demeanor do exist. There is nothing wrong with that. I have seen the ridicule and frustration some men I have known who were what you would call effeminate have to live with. I would never say anything against them.

What I am talking about is when slash writers take a character who is very masculine, maybe even macho, on screen (either the tv or movie screen) and turn him very feminine. Often times their characterizations can be dead on, but then the writer seems to add this feminine aspect to them. It is more an addition to their characterization than an absolute miscalculation in their profiling of the characters. It is also annoying as hell.

Take a character like Blair from The Sentinel for example, writers feminize him an appalling amount. I mean they have the guy bursting into tears at the drop of a damn hat. He cries over every damn thing they can come up with. It gets to the point where you just go 'Jeez, I'm a chick and I don't break out into water works that much.' Have these writers actually seen the show. I'll admit Blair is a new age hippie, somewhat in touch with his feelings, kind of guy. He doesn't cry on a dime though. On the show I have seen him shot, drowned, lose his whole credibility and standing in the academic community, be under appreciated and treated generally shit by Jim on a regular basis and not cry. He may be a hippie, but that doesn't mean he's a big baby who cries constantly. If I were Jim, I'd freak out at the level of crying he does in some stories. Seriously, I'd think of having Blair checked out for depression if I were Jim. On the show he is a brave little fucker, who takes alot of shit and doesn't spend alot of time complaining, whining, or crying (for god sakes) about it. He is also quite the ladies man, he's quite macho in that respect. So could we stop writing him so damn feminine.

On the new American Queer as Folk, airing on Showtime, there is a character on there named Emmett, even he admits he's a little effeminate. He's still a guy though, he doesn't share without it being practically forced out of him, doesn't break out into heavy water works often. He's still a very much a guy. When writers feminize a guy in slash, they go all out, sometimes you are wondering 'Is this a guy or a girl?' I hate that.

When I read fanfiction, I want to see the characters I know and love on the shows. I want the characterizations to be true to form. We are playing with what the show gives us here, that is part of the challenge. Taking the characters they write and recreating them as close as possible in our stories.

Feminizing is in of itself often bad profiling and improper characterization. I admit I have been tempted to feminize a character, I did it almost unknowingly. When I realized I was doing it I went back and began reworking it though. Changing the character back to it's original form, realizing I had went out of character. I got lost in the story I was working on and my characters began degenerating. I went to far with them and lost the feel for them. They were becoming more like original characters in a way, or at least heading in that direction. So I stopped it.

It is easy to feminize the characters, because most slashers out there are in fact chicks. We sortof lose ourselves in them and forget that guys don't react the way that we do, don't act like we do. We get lost in the sex and the romance and the characterizations totally slip away from us. Now I understand, I like being a chick. I am not very big, only 5 feet. I love men. Like them tall, thin, yet muscular, with dark hair, and green or hazel eyes (getting why I like David Duchovny and Nick Lea, yet, so totally my type). I love looking up and seeing this big powerful man looking down at little old me. Love it. The strength and power in men. Multiply that times two, damn that nearly sends me into overload. I like looking at a guy and knowing he could either fuck you or kill you, he holds all the power of the world in him. Nearly takes my breath away. That is the same thing guys see in each other, if they are so inclined that way.

I like my men masculine. The characters I like to read slashed, on the shows are tough, strong, intelligent,and just a little wild. I want to see them just as they are on screen in stories. I don't want them remade in our own feminine images. I want them exactly like they are on the show. I want to see what is there and I want the writers to delve in and find all those mysteries that lie within them. I want to see those hidden aspects brought forth. Not for a minute do I think they are hiding this weepy chick inside them waiting to get out. Sometimes a writer can make them so feminine you think you ought to offer them a sex change operation. Seems fitting. So can we stop with turning them in to chicks. Try and catch ourselves before we go that far. Hmmm? Hmmm? Please, just for me? Yes, I've resorted to begging.

It is like we seem to get stuck in gender stereotypes. Stuck in the idea that there has to be a male and a female in the relationship, a passive one and an aggressive one. We can't seem to wrap our heads around the idea that there doesn't have to be one or the other. They can both be masculine, they can both be aggressive. They can both be dominate, they just have to figure out who gets to do what at different times. There are no set roles in gay relationships. No standard way either person has to act, whether they are both male or both female. They can make it up as they go along and figure out how they want their relationship to work over time. No one has to be anything. That to me is beautiful in gay and lesbian relationships, the equality. I love to see that expressed in stories. I love to see a story where both guys are equals, just as strong, intelligent, and masculine. What I think is sexy about two guys together, is the equality, there is nothing one of them does to the other, that they can't turn around and do right back to them. They can both fuck each other. I like that, I like the characters equal in all ways. As they often are on the show. Each displaying different qualities in their personalities that brings a balance to the relationship. I love to see that expressed. Don't get stuck in your thinking with sterotypes. Gay relationships are not sterotypical, they are what ever the two people decide works best for them. Think outside the box. Think these two guys probably fight over who gets to be the closed off and unemotional one today.<g> Let it be whatever you want. Let that aspect of equality shine through. Break out of the way we were taught to think. Let the characters be equal. Let them revel in that freedom. Enjoy that aspect of the relationship in your writing and have fun with it.

Also, just because a character is a bottom, does not mean they are automatically effeminate. A guy is still a guy, just because he likes to get fucked doesn't mean he stops being one. People are rarely what you think. Things don't always work out like you might suspect. Sometimes the biggest bottom, is this big buff muscular guy. The biggest top the effeminate guy who paints his finger nails and wear way too much spandex. People are strange like that, appearances often don't mean shit. They are often the opposite of what you would expect. We are often deluded by outward appearances. When it is what is inside that counts.

That's it. I'm done bitching on the topic. Done and said about all I can on it. Hope it does some good and helps us write the characters better. Ummm.<shrug of shoulders> Who knows? Maybe we'll see.

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