After writing my own post, I googled “Feminine men”, and found this post on Thought Catalog. The comments from women are encouraging in that they all agree, but discouraging in that they say things like People often think I’m really weird when I tell them all this and I know no one who is like me too.
Then I found Love Red Nails, first “Women marrying feminine men“. The writer talks of wanting her partner in a dress for the wedding. They often share clothes. Out came my internalised femme-phobia: it is alright for a man to be feminine, but cross-dressing is going too far, I thought. I resented her mentioning this, thinking it made a lovely idea tawdry and fetishistic, even though I express myself female all the time. Trans women are encouraged to distance ourselves from transvestites- it sometimes seems we are more acceptable if we have a “medical condition”.
It is about sex. Of course it is. How could finding a partner not be? But it is also about relating to the world as a whole, in all of life. That I should still think of dressing feminine as a dirty little fantasy shows how pervasive femme-phobia is. I read what the male commenters have to say on both these posts, and feel they shouldn’t be saying these things, they should keep quiet about it, even as I begin to say the same myself. All my fear comes out. I clicked Submissive men and read Sensitive or submissive men are very different from normal (sic) guys in their behavior. What’s normal? People are like this! What is the feeling about camp v “straight acting” gay men atm?
Then Lucy writes about women who like feminine men, whether they are cross-dressers or are “on the passive side and not afraid to be vulnerable”. Um. Passive. Vulnerable. Not well regarded, and not comfortable even for me. That physically delicate and vulnerable type of man gives me a sort of protective instinct. I just want to hold him tight and keep him safe from the big bad world. I never decided to be that way, it’s just what comes up in response to what I see around me. That is what I want in a woman, though it makes me ashamed. I still feel I should be stronger than that.
I don’t read much contemporary fiction, but am unaware of a novel in which a couple where the woman “wears the trousers” (not an attractive phrase; better than “pussy-whipped”) have a happy lasting relationship. Or on the telly- Stuart on LA Law, perhaps.
The Wall St Journal, no less, says “Women don’t want macho men” when their countries have good health-care systems, because the masculine man is more likely to get divorced, and less good with children. In passing, the female writer suggests the feminine men are more likely to get cuckolded- which is part of the femdom fantasy.
Also, there was Youtube, a series of pictures of men in “women’s” clothes, some of them growing or mimicking breasts, some not.
I want to say, How fantastic! Liberation! But I am still ashamed and frightened, and want to keep quiet about it. Is that “feminine”?