Tuesday, February 6, 2024


 Programming note: I know that I missed last week. In sha Allah I will post twice this week.

Emasculation means to deprive a man of his male role or identity. Depending on who you ask, it can mean some more vulgar things (removal of male organs) or some more polite things (like the removal of anthers from a flower to prevent self-pollination). 

Recently, I made a mistake, and assumed that the feeling of emasculation disproportionately affects men, and that the inverse does not happen to women altogether that much. I discovered that that assumption, like many gender-based assumptions, was pretty ignorant and less correct than I assumed. 

I then tried to describe emasculation as it would apply to women. The definition of this term would be to deprive a woman of her female role or identity. This is certainly possible — women do have feelings and can certainly be deprived of their female role or identity. I called it effeminization, but I then realized that that isn't a word. There is a word similar to emasculate that describes feminine traits — effeminate. But effiminate is an adjective, and emasculate is a verb. I even asked ChatGPT, and it had no better ideas than myself.

Strange, I thought. They both come from similar roots. "Effeminate" comes from Latin ex + femina, and "emasculate" comes from Latin ex + masculus. I looked into this deeper — I found a really old dictionary from the early 19th century, which includes a definition for emasculate as an adjective! Hmm, interesting, I thought. I found a usage of it in a sermon which describes Romanist theology as "emasculate." I don't know the context for that, but it is interesting. 

I think the reason why emasculate came to its common form as a verb and effeminate remained an adjective is due to their original usages. Emasculate literally meant to remove the male organs, while effeminate was and always has been a derogatory descriptor for someone with feminine characteristics. 

Why we don't have a term to describe the deprivation of female characteristics is interesting. Removing female organs is a bit harder (not impossible, unfortunately, people do it!). Perhaps the reason is sexism — people care a lot about the masculine feelings of men, but the feminine feelings of women are less important to society as a whole.