I’m starting to use the word “Twinkie” rather than “mangina” or “girlie-man” or even “eunuch”.
It referred to mid-20th Century junk food, back when i was a boy stuck with watching some of my little sister’s favourite TV shows, including “Howdy Doody”. (The hero and villain were puppets, and when a puppet in a cowboy suit is a hero, that should tell the viewer something.) I seem to recall that “Hostess Twinkies” were one of the things most advertised, along with “Wonder Bread-with the red, yellow and blue balloons printed on the wrapper.” The advertising strategy seemed to be, get the kiddiewinkles to nag Mommy to buy “Wonder Bread”, and take their allowance to the corner store to buy “Hostess Twinkies.”
“Howdy Doody” deserves some backhanded credit for the fact that nearly all the time i could be outdoors, i was. Better to weed a garden, than watch that. Bad TV did a good gardener make, which gardener became my trade when i was a single parent in the ’90s and on ’til 2005.
There were, however, days when the weather was bad enough to keep even me indoors, and hours when i was commanded by Mommy to wait indoors until called to dinner, or required to do the dishwashing after. Time enough for me to learn that “Hostess Twinkies” were soft cakelike stuff on the outside and softer puddinglike stuff on the inside. I didn’t buy any at the corner store-i preferred candy, Cornnuts, pretzels, and sausage-sticks for my junk food, and didn’t eat too awful much even of them. Lettuce and mayonnaise, smoked meat and rye bread, were the demi-junk food i preferred for snacking. Twinkies were girl stuff in the Old Neighbourhood. We boys preferred saltier snacks (and “saltier” language.)
So the other day when i was looking for a word to describe the evildoers-of-convenience who drove down Tom Ball and Tim Emerson and my late friend and colleague Professor Cecil French, the phrase “women and twinkies” came first to mind. (I did not mean to say that women can’t be Twinkies, soft on the outside and softer on the inside. I did mean that men shouldn’t be.)
It occurred to me the morning after i posted that comment, that someone might read “Twinkie” as implying homosexuality. No such intention: The Twinkie meaning is soft on the outside and softer on the inside… whatever your sexual orientation or lack of one. So it was advertised on TV.
The word “mangina” bothers me because it contains the word “man”. “Twinkie” does not. Its character, soft on the outside and softer on the inside, seems to me to betoken the human weakness (including but not limited to, “needing” luxuries and conveniences which are not necessities) which very often leads to complicity in evil-such as the deaths of Tom Ball and Cecil French and the wrongful degradation of Tim Emerson.
You can use it for people named Leslie or Adrian [etc] whose gender you don’t know-as long as they be soft on the outside and softer on the inside.
It’s not a word for hard-core hate-Feminists. It’s for the ones who have too much intelligence to be called “useful idiots”, and not enough strength to be respected.
* on January 11th, BBC News reported that Hostess Brands had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and listed Twinkies as their “iconic brand.” Ironic, that news as i was going from first to second draft of this blog: Twinkie people are bankrupt in the moral sense-and just as i write about that, the Twinkie corporation goes bankrupt in the financial sense.