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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 Asskicking, 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. Compare Real Men Wear Pink, Agent Peacock, Uke and The Dandy.

Examples of In Touch with His Feminine Side include:


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 especially athletic, on top of having no interest in sports, and running a host club of bishounens while being one himself.
  • Kimihiro Watanuki from Xxx HO Li C who enjoys cooking and cleaning, and mooning over Himawari, as well as wearing glasses and having a delicate appearance, having no interest in physical activities, sometimes being an Ill Boy, and constantly being a damsel for Doumeki to save.
  • Also, nearly every single male in Star Driver, staring with the Galactic Pretty Boy.
  • Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho.
  • Shun from Saint Seiya.
  • 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.

Film

  • 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 deserts and watching Chick Flick movies.
  • In the Bedazzled remake, the hero makes a wish to be the most sensitive man in the world. He ends up crying over everything, pretty much.

Literature

  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • 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.
  • 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.

Machinima

  • 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.

Music

  • 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)

Web Comics:

Web Original

  • 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.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is considered by others "pretty" rather than handsome, Screams Like a Little Girl, is in the submissive role when giving out Fan Service, has a Fetish for overly tough women and owns testosterone pills.

Western Animation

  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Leslie the flower has a feminine appearance, voice, and usually hangs out with the girls, rather than the guys.
  • 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 as well (he was even teased about it by Toph). He's a pacifist who was very open with his feelings.
  • 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 loves makeovers.
  • 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 Darkhorse of the show.
  • In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy Duck becomes this; then again, he isn't really sure what "gender" is anyway.
  • On Daria, this is why Straw Feminist Mrs. Barch winds up with Hippie Teacher Mr. O'Neill.
  • Steven Universe: Steven is very open about his emotions, loves things that are cute and huggable, wears pink on a daily basis, and was the Non-Action Guy before Character Development began taking effect. He has no problem putting on a dress and going up on stage for a concert performance. The rest of the town have no problem either. Though they would also presumably prefer a dress to going naked, which is apparently what he did 2 years ago.
  • DJ from Total Drama is an emotional, sensitive Camp Straight Gentle Giant who loves to cook, bake, and do ribbon dancing. He is very open about his emotions and sensitive towards animals.
    • Geoff is also this despite being more masculine than DJ but he likes cooking, wears pink, and is very friendly towards others.
  • Lincoln Loud from The Loud House, despite his occasional attempts to remind himself he is a man, very much shows he's lived and been raised his entire life around girls, courtesy of his ten sisters. He knows how to knit, design and make clothing, enjoys mud facials and baking, discusses ships on tv shows, has a stuffed rabbit named "Bun-Bun", and overall is very kind and sensitive (his selfish tendencies aside). His father Lynn Sr. is this as well to a lesser extent.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants of course. He is a Neat Freak, owns lots of make-up and is as emotional as one can get, and he is very open about all those things.
  • Gene Belcher from Bob's Burgers, while having no problem with hanging out with other guys, has stated that he prefers the company of girls. This is likely a result of him spending almost all of his time with his two sisters, both of whom are close to him in age.
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