Editor’s notes: The Effeminist Manifesto was written in 1973 by three male feminists seeking to articulate their own struggle and alliance with women, in hopes of calling others to such a cause. Far ahead of its time, the Effeminists were the subject of debate amongst Feminists and Revolutionaries alike. Despite it’s frequent mention and citation, and obvious influence overtime, this piece appears to be lost in time and difficult to find. It is found here below, for archiving purposes.
The Expropriationist does not endorse this as a line or programmatic point of Feminism. Also, due to lack of language available at the time, The Effeminist Manifesto contains language no longer in the common vernacular amongst most Feminists. In spite of this, we have chosen to keep both the language and formatting in tact for historical purposes and it’s lack of distribution in it’s original format.
The Effeminist Manifesto
Steven Dansky, John Knoebel, Kenneth Pitchford
We, the undersigned Effeminists of Double-F hereby invite all like-minded men to join with us in making our declaration of independence from Gay Liberation and all other Male-Ideologies by unalterably asserting our stand of revolutionary commitment to the following Thirteen Principles that form the quintessential substance of our politics:
On the oppression of women.
1. SEXISM. All women are oppressed by all men, including ourselves. This systematic oppression is called sexism.
2. MALE SUPREMACY. Sexism itself is the product of male supremacy, which produces all other forms of oppression that patriarchal societies exhibit: racism, classism, ageism, economic exploitation, ecological imbalance.
3. GYNARCHISM. Only that revolution which strikes at the root of all oppression can end any and all of its forms. That is why we are gynarchists; that is, we are among those who believe that women will seize power from the patriarchy and, thereby, totally change life on this planet as we know it.
4. WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP. Exactly how women will go about seizing power is no business of ours, being men. But as effeminate men oppressed by masculinist standards, we ourselves have a stake in the destruction of the patriarchy, and thus we must struggle with the dilemma of being partisans – as effeminists – of a revolution opposed to us – as men. To conceal our partisanship and remain inactive for fear of women’s leadership or to tamper with questions which women will decide would be no less despicable. Therefore, we have a duty to take sides, to struggle to change ourselves, to act.
On the oppression of effeminate men.
5. MASCULINISM. Faggots and all effeminate men are oppressed by the patriarchy’s systematic enforcement of masculinist standards, whether these standards are expressed as physical, mental, emotional, or sexual stereotypes of what is desirable in a man.
6. EFFEMINISM. Our purpose is to urge all such men as ourselves (whether celibate, homosexual, or heterosexual) to become traitors to the class of men by uniting in a movement of Revolutionary Effeminism so that collectively we can struggle to change ourselves from non-masculinists into anti-masculinists and begin attacking those aspects of the patriarchal system that most directly oppress us.
7. PREVIOUS MALE-IDEOLOGIES. Three previous attempts by men to create a politics of fighting oppression have failed because of their incomplete analysis: the Male Left, Male Liberation, and Gay Liberation. These and other formations, such as sexual libertarianism and the counter-culture, are all tactics for preserving power in men’s hands by pretending to struggle for change. We specifically reject a hands by pretending to struggle for change. We specifically reject a carry-over from one or more of these earlier ideologies – the damaging combination of ultra-egalitarianism, anti-leadership, anti-technology, and downward mobility. All are based on a politics of guilt and a hypocritical attitude towards power which prevents us from developing skills urgently needed in our struggle and which confuses the competence needed for revolutionary work with the careerism of those who seek personal accommodation within the patriarchal system.
8. COLLABORATORS AND CAMP FOLLOWERS. Even we effeminate men are given an option by the patriarchy: to become collaborators in the task of keeping women in their place. Faggots, especially, are offered a subculture by the patriarchy which is designed to keep us oppressed and also increase the oppression of women. This subculture includes a combination of anti-women mimicry and self-mockery known as camp which, to its trivializing effect, would deny us any chance of awakening to our own suffering, the expression of which can be recognized as revolutionary sanity by the oppressed.
9.SADO-MASCULINITY: ROLE PLAYING AND OBJECTIFICATION. The Male Principle, as exhibited in the last ten thousand years, is chiefly characterized by an appetite for objectification, role-playing, and sadism. First, the masculine preference for thinking as opposed to feeling encourages men to regard other people as things, and to use them accordingly. Second, inflicting pain upon people and animals has come to be deemed a mark of manhood, thereby explaining the well-known proclivity for rape and torture. Finally, a lust for power-dominance is rewarded in the playing out of that ultimate role, The Man, whose rapacity is amply displayed in witch-hunts, lynchings, pogroms, and episodes of genocide, not to mention the day-to-day (often life-long) subservience that he exacts from those closest to him.
Masculine bias, thus, appears in our behavior whenever we act out the following categories, regardless of which element in each pair we are most drawn to at any moment: subject/object; dominant/submissive; master/slave; butch/femme. All of these false dichotomies are inherently sexist, since they express the desire to be masculine or to possess the masculine in someone else. The racism of white faggots often reveals the same set of polarities, regardless of whether they choose to act out the dominant or submissive role with black or third-world men. In all cases, only by rejecting the very terms of these categories can we become effeminists. This means explicitly rejecting, as well, the objectification of people based on such things as age; body; build; color; size or shape of facial features, eyes, hair, genitals; ethnicity or race; physical and mental handicap; life-style; sex. We must therefore strive to detect and expose every embodiment of The Male Principle, no matter how and where it may be enshrined and glorified, including those arenas of faggot objectification (baths, bars, docks, parks) where power-dominance, as it operates in the selecting of roles and objects, is known as “cruising.”
10. MASOCH-EONISM. Among those aspects of our oppression which The Man has foisted upon us, two male heterosexual perversions, in particular, are popularly thought of as being “acceptable” behavior for effeminate men: eonism (that is, male transvestitism) and masochism. Just as sadism and masculinism, by merging into one identity, tend to become indistinguishable one from the other, so masochism and eonism are born of an identical impulse to mock subservience in men, as a way to project intense anti-women feelings and also to pressure women into conformity by providing those degrading stereotypes most appealing to the sado-masculinist. Certainly, sado-masoch-eonism is in all its forms the very anti-thesis of effeminism. Both the masochist and the eonist are particularly an insult to women since they overtly parody female oppression and pose as object lessons in servility.
11. LIFE-STYLE: APPEARANCE AND REALITY. We must learn to discover and value The Female Principle in men as something inherent, beyond roles or superficial decoration, and thus beyond definition by any one particular life-style (such as the recent androgeny fad, transsexuality, or other purely personal solutions). Therefore, we do not automatically support or condemn faggots or effeminists who live alone, who live together in couples, who live together in all-male collectives, who live with women, or who live in any other way – since all these modes of living in and of themselves can be sexist but also can conceivably come to function as bases for anti-sexist struggle. Even as we learn to affirm in ourselves the cooperative impulse and to admire in each other what is tender and gentle, what is aesthetic, considerate, affectionate, lyrical, sweet, we should not confuse our own time with that post-revolutionary world when our effeminist natures will be free to express themselves openly without fear or punishment or danger of oppressing others. Above all, we must remember that it is not merely a change of appearance that we seek, but a change in reality.
12. TACTICS. We mean to support, defend and promote effeminism in all men everywhere by any means except those inherently male supremacist or those in conflict with the goals of feminists intent on seizing power. We hope to find militant ways for fighting our oppression that will meet these requirements. Obviously, we do not seek the legalization of faggotry, quotas, or civil-rights for faggots or other measures designed to reform the patriarchy. Practically, we see three phases of activity: naming our enemies to start with, next confronting them, and ultimately divesting them of their power. This means both the Cock Rocker and the Drag Rocker among counter-cultist heroes, both the Radical Therapist and the Faggot-Torturer among effemiphobic psychiatrists, both the creators of beefcake pornography and of eonistic travesties. It also means all branches of the patriarchy that institutionalize the persecution of faggots (schools, church, army, prison, asylum, old-age home).
But whatever the immediate target, we would be wise to prepare for all forms of sabotage and rebellion which women might ask of us, since it is not as pacifists that we can expect to serve in the emerging world-wide anti-gender revolution. We must also constantly ask ourselves and each other for a greater measure of risk and commitment than we may have dreamt was possible yesterday. Above all, our joining in this struggle must discover in us a new respect for women, a new ability to love each other as effeminists, both of which have previously been denied us by our misogyny and effemiphobia, so that our bonding until now has been the traditional male solidarity that is always inimical to the interests of women and pernicious of our own sense of effeminist self-hood.
13. DRUDGERY AND CHILDCARE: RE-DEFINING GENDER. Our first and most important step, however, must be to take upon ourselves at least our own share of the day-to-day life-sustaining drudgery that is usually consigned to women alone. To be useful in this way can release women to do other work of their choosing and can also begin to re-define gender for the next generation. Of paramount concern here, we ask to be included in the time-consuming work of raising and caring for children, as a duty, right and privilege.
Attested to this twenty-seventh day of Teves and first day of January, in the year of our falthering Judeo-Christian Patriarchy, 5733 and 1973, by Steven Dansky, John Knoebel, and Kenneth Pitchford.
(c) 1973, all rights to Templar Press.