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Featured The Vice of Effeminacy (Aqunas)

Discussion in 'Theological Concepts' started by Musing Bassist, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    In colloquial language, an effeminate man is a man who too much exhibits traits associated with women. And while being overly feminine in temperament can be a sign of effeminacy, in the scholastic tradition this is not what the word is intended to mean.

    According to Aquinas, effeminacy is the vice of forsaking the good due to an inordinate attachment to pleasure. In other words, it is moral softness caused by indulgence. It is the inability to put aside what is pleasurable and easy in order to pursue what is good and worthwhile. According to Aquinas, effeminacy is a vice and it is opposed to the virtue of perseverance.

    I think effeminacy is underappreciated as a problem, even in Christian circles. Indeed, I recall one Catholic blog calling effeminacy a 'forgotten vice'. And it is easy to see why in our times of unprecedented entertainment and distraction. I know I have been guilty of it on more occasions than I would like to count. Instead of spending my time in edifying study, or taking up physical exercise, or putting aside time for prayer; I have instead wasted countless hours playing video games, watching YouTube videos or lounging around doing nothing. Even though it is always in my mind that at any given time I could be accomplishing something of value, I have often instead shrunk from such aspirations out of an immediate preference for what is easy and pleasurable in the moment. This according to the angelic doctor is effeminacy and it is unbecoming of a Christian.

    As for me, as a belated New Years' resolution, I take it upon myself to stamp this vice out from my life as much as possible. I want to put my time to good and worthwhile use. And while that does not mean cutting out all recreation from my life it does mean no longer allowing it to swallow up all of my free time. I have aspirations to learn multiple languages, to learn to compose music, to improve my physical health and of course to improve my spiritual standing before God. But to do these things I have to be willing deal with toil. I have to be willing to forsake immediate pleasures.
     
    #1 Musing Bassist, Mar 2, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  2. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    WTF??????????????????????
     
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  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I've not heard this usage before. Do you know whether it originates with Aquinas? Is it older?
     
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  4. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    I believe Aquinas derives his definition from Aristotle.

    This is what inspired the thread.

     
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  5. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    Great, another avenue for shaming women and men into toxic masculinity.
     
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  6. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    If putting aside immediate pleasures to pursue what is good and difficult is 'toxic' then so be it. I care not.
     
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  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    As @ADigitalArtist wrote, it's rank sexism to attempt to try to tie certain things to women. We can see any number of pleasure-loving men who parade their "masculinity" in the media bragging about their degeneracy as if the mere fact of having a Y chromosome is a license to do whatever he wants.
     
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  8. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Religion doesn't mean you can have no fun. It just reminds you to keep a balance. These things are like polemics, or sermons, designed to correct you. As the Book of Proverbs says: "Be righteous, but be not overly righteous; for why should thou destroy thyself?"
     
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  9. Rival

    Rival Ankh, Wedja, Seneb
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    Go for it, MB.
     
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  10. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Yes this is a curious thing. Historically, "effeminacy" has often meant, not being gay or anything like that, but being preoccupied with "soft" pleasures, such as fashion, food and drink, and luxuriating in the company of women.

    It is a quaintly misogynistic concept, though probably typical for a c.13th medieval monk, in that it quite wrongly assumes that is how women occupied their thoughts, when in fact they had far tougher lives in many ways than the men of the time. The term betrays total lack of familiarity with women and their lives.

    Effeminacy is obviously quite the wrong word to use, since the vices of lazy pleasure-seeking are common to both sexes - and how, pray, can a woman be "effeminate"? - but the criticism of lazy pleasure-seeking is probably valid and a good thing to consider during Lent.
     
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  11. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    If you don't like the word 'effeminacy' then you can replace it with 'mollities' (softness).

    But you misunderstand in any case. Machismo does not clear a man of effeminacy as effeminacy (as defined here) is the inability to put aside pleasure for the sake of the good. You can be hypermasculine and effeminate. And like men women are also called to perseverance. Although it is true that in classical thought even though both sexes are to persevere in the good failure to do so it is considered especially vicious in men.
     
    #11 Musing Bassist, Mar 2, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  12. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    I do not understand what effeminacy really is.

    Because...for example here in Italy we do like sweet, shy, romantic men.;)
    What is it?
     
  13. aketo

    aketo Active Member

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    I don't understand; what is "good" and "moral softness" and "worthwhile"? Why is pleasure not part of that?
    Edit: Okay, you mean christian morals. Got it. Sorry I didn't see that.
     
  14. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    No. I'm not talking about the idea being toxic inofitself. Though it certainly can be. The 'avocado toast' mockery of millenials is a product of accusing millenials of being overindulgent, and that's why they had a difficult time with gaining financial success. When rather it is a toxic quality of capitalism to blame people for taking care of themselves and having reasonable restful activity. So things like taking a holiday, buying quality foods, or not sacrificing your breaks is considered 'bad.'

    What's toxicly masculine about it is also considering this to be 'manly.' Effeminate is and was a derisive term for the traits of feminity considered wholly negative. Something which was very much the pervasive thought of the time of classical philosophy in ancient Greece.
     
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  15. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    I don't think its meant to deny pleasure itself, but to deny instant gratification above all else.
     
  16. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    Please remember that half of Christianity moral values comes from a Jewish apocalyptic cult and the other half from Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers. Materialist and minimalist philosophers and zealots who await for the purfying of the world in a great sea of blood and fire and two of the biggest killjoy of the history of humanity.

    Stoics were preoccupied by the idea that a man's worth was determined and morality by its use and his effect on his society and thus should stoically work for the benefit of others as to advance his civilisation as a whole. Apocalyptic cults are preoccupied by the impending doom of the world as is known and its replacement by a perfect one and thus become rabbidly attached to a concept of purity that is often so extreme it's self-destructive or at the very least leads to th suffering and indignity of many members of such communities.

    PS: As others have mentioned the misogyny of Aquinas and Aristotle informed their use of effiminacy to describe people who seek instant gratification. They were two of the most brilliant men in or history, but both of them had the same weakness. They severely underestimated how much they did not knew.
     
    #16 epronovost, Mar 2, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  17. aketo

    aketo Active Member

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    I see. That does make sense thanks.
     
  18. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I'm with the other posters questioning the use of "effeminate" to define something being implicitly asserted to be a negative (even in women I assume, or do they not matter?). I would have thought the word hedonism would work just as well (though maybe opening you to more establish philosophical counter-arguments).

    Given they're all things you want to do, aren't they just different kinds of pleasures? Longer term and involving greater effort on your part but ultimately leading to pleasurable ends all the same.

    If you really wanted to put aside pleasure, you'd have to do things that aren't beneficial to yourself but beneficial to others (or, if we're throwing logic away completely, just randomly doing things you hate :cool: ).
     
  19. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    In other words, instead of sitting back with a brewski and ESPN after work, much better to give yourself a good scourging and don a hair shirt.
     
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  20. aketo

    aketo Active Member

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    Wow. But those seem very different from the modern christian view don't they? Maybe just a little bit from here and there...
     
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