My 6-years-old cousin likes to announce that she is a boy. Sometimes she also says she’s an alien, but then goes back to being a boy or boy alien. I remembered my own childhood and how I made similar pronouncements at her age. In our Freudian latent society, some may theorize my cousin and I have penis envy. I think it’s simpler than that.
As James Brown sang, “it’s a man’s world”. Even with a fair amount of international gains made for women’s rights, men still rule the universe. Knowing this, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which gender has the advantage. Boys get and are encouraged to run wild and be, well, boys. Early in life we often notice it’s the men in our homes, outside, on TV…that have voice and power. So, how have some of us females dealt with it?
In Japan there exist women who dress like men, act like men, and date women like heterosexual men do. They are called nyuhafu, rejubian, danso no reijin…and mostly are seen as lesbians. A movement began in the 1960s where these cross-dressers even ran nightclubs catering to women. I always wondered about these cross-dressers. Did they enter this life because in Japan their homosexuality allowed them some semblance of social acceptability only by way of cross-dressing as a butch to be with a femme? Or like is it that they understand all too well how men are treated and they want to mimic that gender dynamics?
Albania also has their own brand of cross-dressing and gender bending as forms for social advancement. As the International Herald Tribune reported this week, traditionally, if there is no longer a male head of the household, a female member can choose to take on that role. This transformation involves a woman swearing “himself” to celibacy and entering the male world in all social aspects. Once the choice is made, they age and even die as men.
The picture above is Eun Chan of popular Korean soap, "Coffee Prince". In this controversial and oh so addictive series, tomboy Eun Chan passes as a young man in order to get and keep a job in a coffee shop. The relationship "he" develops with "his" straight male boss was the buzz among Korean youth in 2007 -- mainly because of a "homosexual kiss". Yet another (albeit fictional) example of the strategies women use to find some equal ground with men.