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Effeminacy is character trait of a male showing femininity, unmanliness, womanliness, weakness, softness and/or a delicacy, which contradicts traditional masculine, male gender roles.
The term is used to describe feminine behaviour, demeanor, and appearance. These judgements largely involve anti-gay stereotypes, and a positive correlation presumed between effeminacy and gay men. It generally applied to men individually, but is sometimes used to describe entire societies, in a deliberately inflammatory general allegation. Further, some individuals may call something (even an object) "gay" to indicate that it is seen to be effeminate.
Traditionally it is considered a vice, indicative of other negative character traits and more recently often involving a negative insinuation of homosexual tendencies.
In contrast to this, effeminacy is seen by some to be simply one characteristic or trait which might be a part of a particular male's "gender role", and in this sense would not be considered a vice or indicative of any other characteristics.
The converse of effeminacy in women is masculinity. An informal term for masculine women is "butch", which is associated with lesbianism. "Butch" is also used within the lesbian community, often without a negative connotation, but sometimes with a more specific meaning (Davis and Lapovsky Kennedy, 1989). Note, again, that the adoption of attitudes normally associated with the opposite sex is perceived as a sign of homosexuality. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effeminacy [Jul 2005]
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