In Touch with His Feminine Side
A character who is In Touch With His Feminine Side, is a male who lacks certain stereotypically male traits and may adopt some stereotypically girlish traits. Such characters are sometimes referred to as being 'Sensitive.'
Both genders have their stereotypical roles in society—to prove it, you can read up on them in the Gender Dynamics Index
—but society has come a long way and characters which subvert expected gender roles are on the rise, becoming more accepted and even popular. Before the Tomboy in Tomboy and Girly Girl
might have been ridiculed, but now she is mostly accepted along with her more 'feminine' counterpart. The Sensitive Guy in Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
is somewhat less socially acceptable in its extreme forms (Double Standard
strikes again) and may subvert gender norms, but characters which embody this trope are no less interesting than any other.
Keep in mind that our views of gender have actually changed over time and some traits which now might be considered manly or feminine, actually weren't in the past, so this is mostly only valid for modern characters. Also people are different and even characters which are unquestionably "Manly" might have a few of these traits
. To qualify a character must have a large percentage of these traits and/or have their effeminate-ness be remarked on in-universe.
- Lack of Athleticism: Where the Manly-Man is very physically active, this character is much less so. Relatedly he may also have no interest in sports. His skills and interests simply lie elsewhere, or he may have a disability or illness of some kind which would prevent him from being active even if he preferred to be. Conversely he may simply appear to be physically 'wimpy' but he actually Minored In Ass Kicking, or have his skills as an Ace Pilot honed to perfection or be Weak, but Skilled.
- Lack of Aggression: Aggression tends to be associated with males, but this character's first response to anger will not be physical, he'd much rather avoid confrontation altogether or talk things over. If that isn't possible, he may just concede to whatever would stop the ensuing fight. While it's perfectly sensible not to want to get beaten up over something that doesn't matter, some may confuse this for being a coward.
- An Open, Emotional Personality: The stereotype is that men don't talk about their feelings, or don't talk much at all. The Sensitive Man probably does like talking, maybe quite a bit, and may be very open or in touch with his emotions and therefore appreciate such things as a good Chick Flick and may prefer dramatic or romantic media over action-oriented media. May also be 'motherly' or take on a kind, nurturing role that is more traditionally attributed to girls.
- Typically feminine Interests: The character has interests which are usually considered feminine, such as interests which rely on aesthetic abilities such as art, decorating, hair-styling or clothing and fashion, things which are typically "woman's work" such as cooking, and sewing, nurturing professions such as child-care, teaching and nursing, or things which are considered 'emotional' pursuits, such as poetry and certain types of music. Keep in mind that "acceptable interests" for genders have changed over time, and can be variable depending on the time period.
- Effeminate or Non-Masculine Appearance: The character may have a feminine appearance, or lack certain masculine ones. He may be physically shorter than the average male, or quite skinny and not especially muscled. May have a more delicate, one might say feminine appearance, or be a long haired bishounen. Or just be exceptionally well-dressed or fashionable. He may have glasses, which while not associated with femininity are associated with introversion and lack of interest in physical activities.
Of note is the fact that 'sensitive' or 'effeminate' doesn't automatically mean lame or useless, as Agent Peacock
can attest. But even if he isn't an Action Hero
, there are plenty of opportunities for him to be a Guile Hero
or Science Hero
, or all of his action may be through a Humongous Mecha
or other vehicle that doesn't require a great deal of physical athleticism.
Also the 'Sensitive Male', while not being exactly embraced by males, is very popular with females, possibly for the same reason the Tomboy
is popular with males. Girls identify with them more than they might other male characters, and may find them attractive based on shared interests, or find they are a better Audience Surrogate
If this character is taken to the extreme then he often becomes a Camp Straight
, if straight, and Camp Gay
, if otherwise. May become half of a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy
couple. Compare Real Men Wear Pink
, Agent Peacock
and The Dandy
Anime & Manga
- The Princely Young Man Tamaki Suoh from Ouran High School Host Club. A caring emotional Keet who constantly talks about love and doesn't seem to have much interest in sports (although he does prove quite athletic). Forming the eponymous Host Club was entirely his idea, and he's both the driving force behind the club and its most popular host by a significant margin.
- Kimihiro Watanuki from Xxx HO Li C is this completely. He enjoys cooking and cleaning, tends to make homemade gifts, acts like a giggly schoolgirl over his crush Himawari, has a fairly delicate appearance, appears to have no interest in physical activities, sometimes is an Ill Boy, and frequently ends up in situations where he becomes a damsel for Doumeki to save. One aversion is that he's noted to be pretty good in gym class, specifically at running or just anything that involves leg work, but that comes with the territory of being a Weirdness Magnet that has grown up learning how to escape being chased by the otherworldly things he constantly attracts.
- Also, nearly every single male in Star Driver, starting with the Galactic Pretty Boy.
- Natsume Takashi from Natsume Yuujinchou is lean and short, very kind and soft spoken, as well as constantly being mistaken for his grandmother (when she was his age), who from flashbacks, was easily more manly in behavior than he is. You could easily replace him with a girl in the story and the characterization would be spot on. Being a male protagonist of a shoujo work may have something to do with it.
- Shun from Kimi To Boku, who is mistaken for a girl more than once on looks alone, and basically acts more girlish than most of the actual girls on the show. He's kind, cute, enjoys baking and taking care of people. He once spread his femininity to Chizuru for a few minutes when the two were at his house baking a cake. Natch as soon as Chizuru realized it he freaked out.
- More than one character from Axis Powers Hetalia is this.
- Italy dislikes fighting, and is an excellent artist.
- Austria is an aristocratic person who is also bad at fighting.
- China is very feminine in appearance and is very mother-like to the other Asians.
- France has been getting prettier due to Art Evolution, and has a very romantic personality.
- Furthermore, all four are very good chefs.
- One story in Black Jack featured a boy with a talent for things traditionally considered feminine, like embroidery. It's established early on that he was rather well-known for making very nice handbags. It's later revealed that when he was a baby, he was nearly killed by a violent attack and was saved after a doctor used some of the brain tissue from a recently-deceased woman to repair the effects of a head injury. It's left ambiguous as to whether or not that's the cause of the boy's inclination for feminine activities (he believes it is, but the doctor insists that the woman's brain tissue should have merged completely with his own by that time).
- Another Shun, this time from Saint Seiya, has a few characteristics of this, especially in comparison to his fellow Bronze Saints. On the other hand, in Saint Seiya Omega, this position is taken over by Ill Boy Ryuhou, Shiryu's son, who is just a tad less feminine than Shun.
- Light Yagami of Death Note is something of a Squishy Wizard who is more apt to rely on emotional manipulation, discreet charms, and strategic gambits than physical activity, and whose effeminate appearance is accompanied by a deep consciousness of his personal appearance. His complete disinterest in his girlfriend contributes to the fandom's perception of his ambiguous sexuality, and he receives plenty of Foe Yay with L. Of course, none of that stops him from being a downright chilling Magnificent Bastard of a character.
- The titular character of Blue Exorcist Rin might be the Son of Satan...but it's pretty hard for the fandom to see him as any kind of threat to the forces of good (unless they manage to piss him off), what with him loving animals, cooking like a god, enjoying romance manga, being very emotionally open (to the point of crying), somewhat desperate for friends, and possibly love, The Movie shows he's a fair hand with kids and he generally acts girly enough (his name doesn't help in that regard) that Gender Flip is incredibly easy for the fandom to pull off. Basically, aside from his rough, clueless and Hot-Blooded traits, he's the perfect House Husband.
- Peter from I Love You Man is this sort of person and as such has few male friends and is Mistaken for Gay a few times despite the fact that he isn't especially Camp, he just likes making desserts and watching Chick Flick movies.
- In the Bedazzled 2000 remake, the hero makes a wish to be the most sensitive man in the world. He ends up crying over everything, pretty much.
- You could definitely add the Deryni men to this one, though there are human men in the books that have aspects of this. Primarily it's in terms of the emotions, for Deryni are empathic and telepathic; they live their lives with the ability to pick up the emotions of others and the constant prospect of responding emotionally to them. Many major characters often communicate thoughts, feeling and memories directly. They almost have to be in touch with their feelings as a result. Not that any of this stops some of them from being badasses of one form or another.
- Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series is good with needle work.
- Bertie Wooster. Highly emotional, mostly inactive, loves to buy clothes, avoids confrontation, and often seeks sympathy and support from others. If he's ever in a romantic relationship, he will invariably be bossed around by the girl.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Firesong turns out to be able to utilize the power of Need - an Empathic Weapon whose magic is specifically designed to be used by women - without difficulty. When other characters familiar with Need's power express their surprise, Need explains that Firesong is "balanced" between the masculine and feminine in a way that allows him full use of her power.
- Peeta Mellark. He's the Non-Action Guy to Katniss' Action Girl, he prefers diplomacy to violence except when he's been hijacked, wears his heart on his sleeve, paints flowers, bakes (his specialties include cookies shaped like flowers) and decorates cakes. However the book never makes any comment on him being any less masculine than his rival Gale.
- According to The Bible, Jesus Christ himself had shown a tender side of him to everyone he met. There was even a moment when he shed a tear for a recently deceased man. Then again, since he came from God, whose gender is often debated, it's no surprise he would express both feminine and masculine emotions.
- Married... with Children: Jerry Springer As Himself as the host of the show "The Masculine Feminist." (This was before The Jerry Springer Show became what it is today.)
- JD from Scrubs is very concerned with the welfare of others as well as not being especially 'manly', and is often accused of being girly by his senior, Dr.Cox.
- Modern Family: Phil Dunphy is very needy and emotional, much to his father-in-law's annoyance. He also has several "feminine" hobbies (for instance, he was a cheerleader in college.) However, he is definitely heterosexual, as his children found out when they walked in on him and his wife having sex.
- Kurt Hummel from Glee is a Camp Gay teenager whose singing can often be mistaken for a woman's. Not only does he have many stereotypically feminine traits and interests, but when the characters are divided up by gender he has been shown to prefer the company of the girls.
- Chandler Bing in Friends is sensitive, peaceful, obsessed with broadway plays and often mistaken for gay. He's also best friends with the manly Joey, and falls in love with the strong-willed Monica. Both relationships emphasise his feminine side but given how he takes care of Joey and calms Monica's stressing they're pretty thankful for it.
- Both Ted and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. They are often referred to in feminine terms whenever the gang is engaged in a typical bout of blunt, good-natured trash-talk.
- Richard Castle tends towards being this, no doubt at least partly due to having been raised by a single mother and in turn raising a teenage daughter as a single parent. Detective Ryan also has increasingly become this due to his relationship with his girlfriend (later wife) Jenny, much to the amusement of his more typically alpha male manly man partner Detective Esposito.
- Tom Servo is an odd case. He loves cars, is just as much of a Deadpan Snarker as the rest of them, and has a rather boisterous personality at times, but he often wears women's clothing as part of a sketch, due to his shape, and would often cry when something frustrates or terrifies him.
- Troy from Community. You never would have guessed it from his first appearances, where he seemed like the traditional Jerk Jock, but he's really The Heart of the group, who's highly emotional and loves cooking.
- Captain Flowers from Red vs. Blue, the former (and now dead) CO of the blue team and Doc the medic (for both teams). Unless they're being possessed by O'Mally anyway. Donut might also count, but his effeminacy is much more exaggerated and Played for Laughs.
- The Christine Lavin song "Sensitive New Age Guys" is all about this.
Who like to talk about their feelings?
(Sensitive New-Age Guys)
Who's into crystal, who's into healing?
(Sensitive New-Age Guys)
Who like to dress like Richard Simmons?
(Sensitive New-Age Guys)
Who are hard to tell from women?
(Sensitive New-Age Guys)
- In Drowtales, Sorane. As Ariel puts it, "He was a boy as well, and prettier than me." Later, when the heroes are in need of a disguise, Sorane has no trouble crossdressing
- In Sinfest, Slick feigns sensitivity and a love of art and beauty to impress a girl.
- Karkat in Homestuck plays with this trope - he has a temperamental, high-strung, ambitious and extremely defensive personality causing him to occasionally veer into Jerkass territory, but he is also one of the smallest trolls, with tiny little rounded horns the others tease him about; is significantly more emotionally wise than most of his peers (causing him to occasionally act as Team Mom), loves 'terrible Romantic Comedy', and is a Shipper on Deck fascinated by the concept of true love.
- Sokka in Avatar The Last Airbender. Despite his sexist leanings toward the beginning, his sister was the only person his age in his tribe, and it shows. He's often seen with his hands on his hips, he's concerned with things like his belt matching his bag, and shopping always cheers him up: he even does the little fast clapping and yelling "Shopping!"
- Aang is this trope: he's a pacifist who openly shows his emotions and affections. Toph even quotes this trope to the letter while teasing him.
- When he's not brooding and angsting, Zuko fits this. He was a very sensitive child who was close to his mother. As a teenager, he does things like take his girlfriend to watch the sunset and cry openly while reconciling with his uncle.
- The show's sequel series, The Legend Of Korra brings us Bolin. He's a big, bulky pro earth bender; but he is also a hopeless romantic who's open about his emotions. Not to mention one time...◊
- Shifty Dingo from The Adventures Of Blinky Bill, the Token Good Teammate of the dingoes and a Precious Puppy who skips with flowers and cries at the drop of a hat. He also qualifies as The Woobie and the Ensemble Dark Horse of the show.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy Duck becomes this; then again, he isn't really sure what "gender" is anyway.
- PJ on Goof Troop has the defining characteristics of being sweet, timid, emotionally vulnerable, and very passive. He is only into casual sports (like skateboarding) and dislikes most of the "manly" things his father wants him to do. He has significantly more in common with his mother than he does with his father. He is much more likely to feel dejected than he is to become angry, and when he does become angry he's more likely to resort to passive-aggression than direct confrontation. He also fell in love with someone who recited poetry that spoke to him twice, as well as showing some talent in that area himself. The second movie averts No Guy Wants to Be Chased with him. His focus episodes tend to be significantly more internal and interpersonal in conflict form than the other characters'.
- Johnny Bravo once met a "sensitive male" who was liked by the girls who rejected Johnny in the episode. One of his hints to Johnny was getting In Touch with His Feminine Side. Johnny dressed himself as a woman.
- Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch. He dresses like a woman, is a total Neat Freak, wears his heart on his sleeve, and prefers a nonviolent solution whenever possible.
- Gromit from Wallace & Gromit is a very sensitive individual who has a love for knitting and isn't afraid to cry when things really get bad, but is nonetheless pretty brave and heroic.