Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Male Mujer.

From the New York Times:

But nowhere are attitudes toward sex and gender quite as elastic as in the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca. There, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into gay and straight. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call "muxes" (pronounced MOO-shays) -- men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between the two genders.

"Muxe" is a Zapotec word derived from the Spanish "mujer," or woman; it is reserved for males who, from boyhood, have felt themselves drawn to living as a woman, anticipating roles set out for them by the community.

Not only is it a interesting third gender concept (more/via). But it is an indigenous, an old concept. A socially accepted role for men who feel like women - something 'we' in the Occident* either still dismiss or see as a progressive achievement. In my eyes, this is just another little fact proving the whole colonial "European societies as epitome of the civilization" idea was (or is) ridiculous.

*As a sort of Said-esque term

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