Was digging around the Net, hunting for the proverbial "neato stuff" to share on Bilerico when I found an intriguing photo. Didn't know where it was from but I posted it on my personal blog, and a reader quickly identified it as a still from the 1966 Roman Polanski movie, Cul de Sac.
On that same hunt, I read a fascinating essay on the film archetype of the sissy, and its cultural meaning. Here's a brief excerpt and link to the article, followed by the Polanski still.
What is it about the sissy that has assured his appeal through world wars and major societal shifts?
As a distorted mirror of masculinity, the sissy fascinates as both a challenge to rigid masculine norms and a reinforcement of them. His mere presence in close proximity to the heterosexual male (or female)--often as a valet, decorator, faithful friend, or later, in the confusion that erupted around the image, romantic rival---subtly reminds the audience that there are other, perhaps more satisfying ways of being than conventional heterosexuality.
Donald Pleasence gets baby-dolled up after the jump.