Why are gays also coloquialy known as poofs ?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Fairy, Sissy, Queen, Puff, Poof, Poofter, Swish, Pansy

    A typical method of insulting gay men has been to reference objects and adjectives that have feminine connotations, thus putting forth the stereotype that all gay men are effeminate or weak. Examples include 'pansy', 'gladiola', 'buttercup', 'cupcake', 'fruitcake', 'flit', and 'nancy-boy'. 'Sissy' was a term actually coined within the gay community to describe the habit of discussing gossip, and was originally slang for sister. The word took a turn during WWII, when sissy was applied to heterosexual males refusing to fight. A similar term during the 1900s was 'queen', referring to some transvestites' exaggerated female mannerisms. Another related term was 'fairy'. In stories and poems for children, fairies are inevitably described as tiny, graceful, delicate, and of course female. 'Puff' stems from the phrase 'light as a cream puff', meaning someone who weighs very little. 'Poof' and 'Poofter' are probably derived from puff. 'Swish' is an onomatopoetic word, referring to the sound a skirt makes while walking. The word was originally used only to describe women, but it became a noun for gay men in the early 1900s. Such insults serve to portray gay men as easy victims, and so they may be used as a mild threat of physical force.

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