In art and pop culture effeminate men are cast in very different light. Some are revered, like artist Liberace or drag queen and TV star RuPaul Andre Charles. But other times, effeminate men are seen as simultaneously fascinating and grotesque.
Author and Durham Academy teacher Harry Thomas Jr. set out to find out how effeminate men can occupy such different spaces in public consciousness. He explored the writings of Truman Capote, the New Orleans bounce music of Big Freedia and more subtle portrayals of effeminate men, like the vampires in the “Twilight” book and movie series. Thomas argues that effeminate men offer an emotional relationship safe from sex which many women are drawn to.
Thomas collected his research in the book, “Sissy! The Effeminate Paradox in Postwar US Literature and Culture” (The University of Alabama Press/ 2017) and he speaks with host Frank Stasio.