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Sissyphobia: Gay Men and Effeminate Behavior

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Sissyphobia

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Sissyphobia: Gay Men and Effeminate Behavior is a book by Tim Bergling.[1] The neologism "sissyphobia" refers to the fear or hatred of effeminate men, or "sissies." The term itself is analogous to "homophobia".

Bergling argues that sissyphobia is common among American gay men, who often celebrate male femininity in some contexts (drag performance, for example), but who rarely consider it an attractive characteristic. Bergling points towards tropes now common in personal ads, including "straight acting," now a common term in Western gay newspapers. This is in marked contrast to much American lesbian culture, in which drag kings, female-to-male transsexuals and butch women are often "in demand." In fact, a significant number of Western gay men are hostile towards "sissies." In Bergling's opinion, possible reasons may include a desire for gay men to assimilate and ingrained sexism.

More broadly, some feminists (particularly male feminists) claim that "straight" Western society is "sissyphobic" or hostile towards effeminate men, and that in many areas mainstream acceptance of gays is contingent upon their conforming to male sex stereotypes.

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