feminization(redirected from effemination)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
feminization(ofoccupation) the process, historically, in which certain occupations which women have entered (e.g. school teaching, nursing) have become regarded as womens work, with a consequent loss of income and status.
the development of feminine secondary sex characteristics in a male. Feminization may occur in male fishes, amphibians, birds, and mammals, as well as in human males. It may be experimentally induced in castrated males by the transplantation of an ovary or by injection of female sex hormones (estrogens).
An example of experimental feminization is M. M. Zavadovskii’s transplantation of an ovary into castrated roosters in the 1920’s. After a successful transplantation of the female sex gland, the roosters lost their head ornamentation and acquired the plumage and sex instinct characteristic of hens. In castrated male mammals, such as guinea pigs and rats, transplanted ovaries or estrogen injections cause the development of mammary glands and nipples and the appearance of the female sex instinct. In human males, feminization takes place after therapeutic castration in certain diseases; removal of the testes at an early age leads to the development of a female voice and skeletal proportions.
The opposite phenomenon is masculinization, the development of male secondary sex characteristics in a female. In birds, masculinization occurs as a result of the secretion of male sex hormones by the hypertrophic (normally rudimentary) right ovary after removal of the left ovary. Masculinization may be induced in castrated females by injections of male sex hormones. (For masculinization in humans, seeVIRILISM.)