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Sissy is a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. Generally, it implies a lack of the courage and stoicism which are thought important to the male role. It might also imply interests seen as strikingly un-masculine and effeminate behavior. This pejorative may be given to anyone as an insult. Several variations, such as "sissy boy" or "sissy baby", exist and any term can become pejorative or insulting if preceded by "sissy" and applied to a boy or a man. Sissy is the male converse of tomboy, but has none of the latter's positive connotations. Even amongst gay men, behavior thought of as sissy or camp produces mixed reactions. Some men reclaim the term for themselves. (See also genderqueer). Other similar terms include "wimp," "wuss," "femboy," and "pussy."

The term sissyphobia generally denotes the dominant social and cultural reaction against "sissy boys".[1] It has more recently been used in some queer studies;[2] other authors in this latter area have proposed effeminiphobia as an alternative term.[3]

For some, sissy takes on more specific meanings in the transgender,[citation needed] infantilist,[4] and BDSM communities (especially through forced feminization or petticoating practices).[5]

Sissy (sometimes just sis) can also be a relationship nickname formed from sister, given to girls to indicate their role in the family, especially the oldest female sibling. It can also be applied to girls as a term of affection from friends who are not family members. For some girls and women, sissy is used so pervasively it replaces the given name.


In queer studies

Gregory M. Herek wrote that sissyphobia arises as combination of misogyny and homophobia.[6]

In kink subcultures

In the BDSM practice of forced feminization, the male bottom undergoing cross-dressing may be called a sissy as a form of erotic humiliation, which may elicit guilt or sexual arousal, or possibly both, depending on the individual.[5]

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