Effemiphobia: A Fear of Femininity and Weakness

My sister and I (mostly her) have discovered something. Our life is a lot like the TV show Supernatural, if you take away the supernatural elements, and genderflip everyone. Crazy, abusive parent? Check. Older sibling scapegoat who has to be the parent? Check. Younger, golden child sibling who has to be protected? Friggin’ check. Effemiphobia? You bet! Now, I’m not a big fan of the show, so a lot of this is what my sister tells me, but I’ve seen it in the episodes I have watched.

For as long as I can remember, my brain has been split into two parts. I was in middle school when I finally named them after my two male OCs (original characters) who they seemed to represent. There was the quiet, cold-tempered, intelligent chessmaster who despised all weakness (the cynic), and the kind, gentle peacemaker who just wanted everyone to be happy (the sensitive). My two personalities, as I described them. I knew I didn’t have multiple personalities, of course, but that was the best way to explain it. When I was experiencing negative emotion like anger, sadness, hurt, fear, whatever, I tried to emulate the first. Shut down my true feelings, raise an eyebrow and make a snarky remark. When the emotion was positive, I was the second, laughing at myself, making jokes at my own expense, slipping on ice and taking a bow. But sometimes, I fell through the cracks. I’d cry. I’d fly off in a rage. I’d scream when I saw a spider. And the cynic side tried to tear me apart, angrily telling me how stupid and weak I was, while the sensitive side cowered before that rage.

Depressed people have described feeling like they have two voices in their head. One, always berating them for the stupid things they’ve done, and the other, constantly apologizing for living and wondering what they could do to make things better. This was me in a nutshell, for most of my life.

The problem: why were they both male, in my mind?

In the past, I’ve described myself as a tomboy. But maybe that’s not altogether accurate. I’m not really the sporty type. I hate almost any sport that involves a ball, as a matter of fact. No, what I am is terrified of femininity. The trap of masculinity, as I’ve called it in the past.

So, yes, I’m a girl. Yes, I’m friggin’ effemiphobic. Dean Winchester’s line, “No chick flick moments,” might as well be my motto.

It’s a hard concept to explain. Effemiphobia is the word commonly used across the Internet (especially Tumblr), though it’s mainly used to describe men, especially gay men. It’s got nothing to do with misogyny. I don’t hate women. I am one. I don’t even hate femininity—forgive my language, but I’m fucking terrified of it. It’s a message I inhaled from my first teacher, Hollywood. Feminine women need a hero to rescue them, while they stand around looking terrified. Masculine women (and guys) are the ones who save the day, and kick the bad guy’s ass. Maybe it was also because I idolized my dad and action heroes, but the only feminine role models I really had were either damsels in distress or my mother and sister (who were both their own brands of crazy). Masculinity, to me, was sane. My dad was masculine. He was sane. He was smart. He was rational. My dad could fix things. My mom and sister knew how to mess them up, and let their feelings get in the way.

And the more masculine I acted, the more my dad acknowledged me. The more he wanted to spend time with me. The more I wanted to be his son, not his daughter. Anything was better than being my mother’s young lady. Because my batshit crazy mother wanted me to wear dresses all the time. She wanted me to be the proper young lady. Her golden child. Her perfect little girl. I rebelled. My sister is far more feminine than I’ll ever be, and that was not the way it started.

I have guilty pleasures in anything remotely romantic or soft. I love fluffy animals. I’m decent at amateur romance scenes. I love analyzing every romantic moment of my favorite movies. Heck, I love a good chick flick, and I’ll occasionally pick up chick lit. Sometimes, I just want to eat a salad and listen to music that’s described as girly.

But all that sucks. Know why? Every time I engage in one of these activities, I hate myself for it. I don’t want to be the romantic. I don’t want to cry when I see a mouse get killed. I want to consume the entire double bacon cheeseburger, and I’d drown it with beer if I drank. I watch horror movies, I read and write the most horrific, gruesome things I can devise. I can burp on queue. I bombard myself with action movies. Because they’re safe. They’re not weak. They’re not feminine. They make me strong.

I have a different perspective than any guy who’s effemiphobic, obviously. I can’t escape femininity completely. I can deny all the aspects of it I want to, but in the end, I’m still a girl, physically and mentally. I’m still attracted to men. I still want them to notice me. To find me attractive. But I’ve been told I’m beautiful more times than I can count. I’ve been told I’m awesome, smart, funny, cute, whatever. I’ve been told I’m soft, and I can’t stand to even think about that. The highest compliment I’ve ever received was being told by a guy that I was more of a man than he was. Because that made me strong. That meant I could protect myself, that I didn’t need anyone else to protect me. I need that assurance as surely as I need to breathe. I need to be strong. I need everyone to see that I’m strong.

But I’m still a girl. I wear flattering clothes and jewelry and makeup and fix my hair. I own a lot of shoes. I like to cook, and I love to dance. But I haven’t worn pink in years. Lace is disgusting.

It’s like constantly being at war with yourself. Wanting so badly to just be a guy, but at the same time, realizing how much that would suck. Wanting to enlist, but knowing you can’t get in because of depression. And even if I could make it in, I’d wash out during basic training due to depression. I know that. And I hate myself for it.

But, oh well. Life goes on. First step to fixing the problem is admitting that there is one, and I’ve come a long way toward fixing it already these past few years, even without having a word for it. I’m pretty happy being the way I am, honestly. Effemiphobia doesn’t control me. . . most of the time. And when it does, I just need to blow metaphorical raspberries at it, because I’m awesome. Right? Of course right!

Thank you for tuning in to the Rantings, Ramblings, Ravings and Musings of Mac. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Favorite Books: Beauty Queens

I am a huge fan of Libba Bray. The woman is hilarious, slightly morbid, and totally my type of person. Which is why it makes me sad when feminists everywhere
Beauty Queens Cover overlook Ms. Bray’s novel Beauty Queens as one of the greatest feminist novels out there.

What’s it about? The fifty contestants of the Miss Teen Dream beauty contest get in a plane crash and land on a deserted island. Not many survive. We have a feminist who wants to bring down the contest, a win-at-all-costs Indian Valley Girl, an African American pre-pre-Med student, a secret wild girl, a transvestite, a blonde, a lesbian former delinquent, a bi hard-of-hearing dancer, a pageant princess, and a couple of supporting girls. All have their own views. Their own problems they don’t want to discuss. And they’re all being forced, in one way or another, to follow what society expects of them.

But on this island, stripped of that society, they start to break those chains.

And of course, let’s not forget the Commercial Breaks. Or the very hot, very bodacious pirates with oiled pecs. Or the other things—agents, warlords, quicksand, psychedelic berries, volcanoes, guns, piranhas, maxi pads and hairspray. All brought to you with an abundance of satire by The Corporation, “Because Your Life Can Always Be Better.”

Whether or not you support modern feminism, this is a book I believe every chick ought to read. It’s a great lesson on what feminism should really be, besides being frakkin’ hilarious!

Dating, Dancing, and Why We Need Gender Roles More Than We Think

Gender roles weren’t defined by society. They were defined by biology. It’s great to challenge them, I think, but they’re there for a reason, and far too often have I seen a woman who decides to be a stay-at-home mother called an anti-feminist.

All That Catholic Jazz

I think it is safe to say that dating norms aren’t what they used to be. We are long past the days of “traditional courtship” where a man would ask a woman out on a date several days to a week in advance, show up to the woman’s home in an ironed shirt and slacks, and take her out to a nice romantic restaurant where he would open the door for her on the way in and out and always pay for the meal. These days, it seems like text messaging and instant messaging are the typical ways to ask someone out on a date, if you are even so bold as to call it a formal date instead of “hanging out.” And it can be the man or the woman to initiate. Sometimes the man will offer to pay, but the woman may find that insulting, as if he…

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Sexism Experiment (I take no credit for it, because I didn’t write it)

A thought experiment on sexism.

Today, I’d like to try a thought experiment. Something to challenge the way society regularly thinks about sexism and feminism. I’m going to link you to a photo album, and I’d like you to look at it with an open mind, and just feel whatever you instinctively feel. Don’t fight your initial reaction; because the idea of this experiment is to examine exactly that: how we are conditioned by society to think about sexism. I urge you to look at and read all the photos in this album, and then come back here for the explanation. Please, do not read beyond the link until you’ve looked at the photos:
The albumDid you read them?

Welcome back. What did you think? How do you feel? The most common reaction I get towards most of these photos is that they are sexist. Almost as common are accusations of misogyny. Let’s look at that word – misogyny. Misogyny is the hatred of women; and if you believe third-wave western feminists, it’s everywhere.

Here’s the catch. Some of you may have already guessed this, but none of those photos are originals. None of them are what they appear to be. Every picture in this album is a copy of something that was found in a feminist community. It was displayed where it was cheered, receiving thousands of likes, +1’s, shares, etc.

“How can that be?” You ask. Why in the heck would feminist communities be so supportive of photos that were so hateful towards women? Because every one of them has had their captions gender-swapped (thanks to my friends at https://www.facebook.com/idontneedfeminismbecause for this). Every time the word “woman” appears in one of those captions, it was originally “man.” When the feminist version said “women,” the community replaced it with “men.” When there was a reference to male genitalia (or kicking someone in said male genitalia) the female equivalent was used. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So, if a picture that says, for example

image

Is an example of MISOGYNY, then what does it say about feminism that the original version – “All men are animals, some just make better pets” not only garners huge applause from fems, its gets added to countless “funny quote lists”

http://www.goodquotes.com/sillyquotes.htm

Put on bumper stickers:

http://www.zazzle.ca/all_men_are_animals_some_just_make_better_pets_bumper_sticker-128689632715362160

And sold as t-shirts?

http://www.superiorsilkscreen.com/t-shirts/175-all-men-are-animals-some-just-make-better-pets.html

Why is the exact same, word-for-word sentiment an expression of hatred and patriarchy when said about a woman, but a light-hearted, silly, “empowering” slogan when said about men?

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of feminism. Feminism likes to tell us that our culture has made misogyny acceptable and that misandry doesn’t exist. The truth is that misandry is very real and very prominent. People just don’t notice it as much because we’re taught that saying negative things about someone because of their sex is only offensive when it’s about a woman.

<posted by WTFeminism on tumblr.com>

Dear Guys Stuck in the Friend Zone (Nice Guys)

I’ve encountered and turned down far too many of you. Why? Because being nice isn’t enough. Sorry.

You know what’s really annoying about those of you I’ve met? I turn you down, you keep asking. I break up with you, you tell me how much you miss me. I stopped caring, and you’re only making yourselves look pathetic, whiny and needy.

Why? You’re too nice. There’s a reason why girls go for the bad boy. The kind of guy who asks for things, but gives nothing. First, he looks like more of a man than the Nice Guy, who lets us walk all over him. Second, because he gives nothing, he forces us to give more, and according to psychology we’re all more likely to love those we give things or do favors for. And the Nice Guys get taken for granted, because they’re always there, no matter what we do or say to them. They don’t set clear limits. They don’t say they’ve had enough. They just keep on being nice, and hoping one day she’ll realize that she’s loved him all along.

Sorry. This ain’t a fairy tale. You want her to like you more? Make her do some of the work. Tell her no. Don’t drop everything for her. Recognize that you’re a person, too, and you deserve to be treated better. If it comes to that, walk away. Stop letting her walk all over you.

If she tells you no, drop it. Don’t keep bugging her and NEVER, EVER pressure her, because I can almost guarantee she’ll hate you for it.

Another reason nice guys fail: how many of them sit at home and spend the entire day playing video games? Don’t get me wrong, video games are awesome. But there’s more to life than that. Why would a girl want to date a guy who’s contributing nothing to society? He’s the new generation of a bum.

So, dear nice guys, have some self-respect, because chicks dig it when you stand up for yourself, and when you contribute something to the world (although there are many out there just waiting to be asked to play a video game with you). And we really like it when you have the guts to ask us out, even if we have to turn you down for some reason. If you get turned down, so what? There are plenty of other girls out there hoping a great guy like you will ask them out. Be awesome!

Finally, note that this is opinion, backed only by facts read off of a psychology blog, and my own observations. And, as my whopping 2.5 relationships have been failures, I am in no way qualified to give dating advice. I just pretend.

Thank you, and have a wonderful day full of awesomeness that you create.

Mormon Girls and the Sludge called Twilight

It’s behind the times, sure, but let’s talk about Twilight, religion and sexism for a minute, m’kay?

I’m a Mormon girl, born and raised right near Salt Lake City. I’ve played with being inactive over the years, but I know my life would totally suck if I didn’t have my religion to fall back on.

I am also part of the “Twihard” generation, sadly. The first book came out when I was in middle school, and I begged my mom to let me buy it so I could read it. She refused because it’s about vampires (even though I read Dracula at the age of ten). I was only successful when we saw it on the shelf at Deseret Book (big Mormon bookstore, for those of you who don’t know). So, we bought it. And I read it in one night.

But I didn’t like it, even though I couldn’t figure out why at the time. So, I handed it off to my sister, who’s two years older, and said it was something she might like better. And she did. My sister was a Twilight fan. And she’s supposed to be more mature than me, remember. She made me go to the midnight release party for the book Breaking Dawn, too.

Let’s just say I like to block out that memory.

Now, many, many people in the world know that Twilight isn’t great literature, to put it in the nicest way. Blah blah feminism blah blah, anti-feminist Mormons blah blah, Renesmee’s a chestburster from Alien blah blah (gotta say, I love that image), Edward’s a creepy abusive possessive stalker blah, Bella’s a vapid Mary Sue who only exists to be Edward’s girlfriend/wife/baby mommy blah blah. You’ve heard it all before, probably.

Though my hate of Twilight has only grown over the years, I do not hate Stephenie Meyer as a person. I read The Host and didn’t find it too bad, though a very long way from being something I loved. Yes, she wrote a crappy series. But she doesn’t deserve to be personally attacked because of it.

And let me say it right here—Mormons are not anti-feminist, strictly speaking. Feminism, even in its one-sided narrowmindedness, is women doing what they want because they want to. So, if a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom because that’s what she wants, not because it’s what society expects of her, she is a feminist. Likewise, if she doesn’t want to get married, but wants to say single with hair flowing through the wind as she rides through the glen, firing arrows into the sunset, she is also a feminist. What is anti-feminist is a woman who becomes a wife and mother even though she doesn’t want to. A woman who really wants to just get married and have kids, but remains single and with a high-paying career because she knows all the flack she’d get if she ever settled down.

Yes, Mormons are encouraged to get married and have kids, and some people will make us feel guilty if we don’t by the time we’re twenty, but the presidency of the church does not condone such behavior. Every group has its fanatics, and we’re no different (boy, I could tell stories).

So, yes. I’m a Mormon. I don’t identify myself as a feminist only because I believe in equality between the sexes. One day, I do want to get married, and maybe even eventually have kids. But I absolutely loathe that horrific thing known as Twilight.