Trope-a-Day: Elfeminate

Elfeminate: On the one hand, played straight. If there’s one thing that can be said for certain about the eldrae on first glance, it is that they are an extremely pretty species – by virtue of cultural virtues and fairly extensive engineering – that tends to the tall, slender, non-obviously-muscular, delicate-featured pattern. (Reference the Pretty Boy and Bishonen tropes if you like, dependent on your personal cultural region membership – although note that the male of the species, unlike various of those examples, can grow facial hair.) Other contributing factors include a lesser degree of sexual dimorphism (or quadrimorphism these days, but let’s leave the herms and neuters out of it for now), a common cultural tendency towards long hair, jewelry and discreet make-up being acceptable for both sexes, and a common social pattern that tends to be orderly, formalized, polite, and self-consciously civilized, which (at least if you ignore certain other factors) might read to, say, humans, as feminized.

On the other hand, the modal eldraeic stereotype of either sex is forceful, dynamic, heavily armed, and quite likely to stab you for making stupid, offensive comments. So it goes; everyone being evidently quite confused about how gender stereotypes for humanoids are supposed to work.