An awfully literal interpretation is “a man who is like a little girl,” a supposed backhanded insult to girls and gays.
But do we always intend the technical, literal meaning of every word? If I call you a “moron” or “nimrod” do I literally mean that you are mentally retarded or an ancient hunter? No, I mean that you are a bonehead. (Disclaimer: I didn’t literally mean your head is made of bone!)
“Girlie man” comes from a goofy Saturday Night Live skit featuring steroidal “Hans und Frans.” Anyone who wasn’t equally “pumped up” got labeled a “girlie man.” It was a goofball, witty skit.
By making an issue of such a lighthearted double-entendre, which by the way was given at an informal, almost spur of the moment shopping mall pep rally, California Democrats are distracting voters from the real problem: special interests. That’s not a partisan issue.