This is one of the essays I delivered to my patrons this month. If you want to support more work like this, and see it earlier, you can sign up here.
Over the last several months, I’ve increasingly noticed discussions about gender and gender oppression happening without reference to femmephobia. I’m sure my attention to the problem is the only part of this that’s new, but the situation is still frustrating. There are too many topics where all we can do is talk past each other if we don’t address femmephobia directly.
Before we can do that, of course, we have to understand what femmephobia is. For a succinct answer, I still like this one from Ozy Franz:
Femmephobia is the devaluation, fear and hatred of the feminine: of softness, nurturance, dependence, emotions, passivity, sensitivity, grace, innocence and the color pink.
There’s more to femmephobia than those examples–love of adornment goes far beyond preference for one color, for example–but the basic definition holds.
Like any of the so-called phobias that come out of bias and feed into oppression, this is significantly more complex than an irrational fear. Hatred is part of the mix, as femmephobia a specialized form of misogyny. Devaluation to the point of denigration is perhaps femmephobia’s most common form. But the fear is there too, though not everyone may fear the same things. Some people may fear the “otherness” of femininity in a world where the masculine is default, while others may fear being “tainted” by femininity. [Read more…]