January 8, 2013
While reading a new children’s novel, I was surprised to read the word “sissy” used twice by the male protagonist of the story about another character who was also male and enjoyed baking cookies. As a child of the 1970s, I remember literary efforts to change the existing standards of true masculinity and femininity for my generation, found in books like William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow and Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola. It saddened me to see such an archaic pejorative word in a current novel for elementary school children.
I came across the word “sissy” again in Nate Pyle’s blog post, “The Mythical Attack on Manhood,” but this time I felt empowered reading his words. Pyle writes about the misconceptions about masculinity and the distance it creates between men and women, as well as the resulting attacks between men with words like “sissy” and “pansy.”
Pyle encourages a new perspective for men and women: “It is time for men to stop being so insecure of the feminine. We need to start embracing the feminine qualities that are not just for women, but are for human beings.”