"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.
"The often riotous humor of character actors such as Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn, et al.--beloved fixtures in their films, always eagerly awaited--hints at a carefree world of foolish fun that represents a kind of ideal.
"This is especially evident in the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers films, which always feature at least one, and sometimes several sissies who, as much as the "satin and platinum" décor, indicate a desirable world of sophistication and pleasure far from the boring status quo." -- from the entry "Film sissies" at the Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Culture