Part Girl, Part Boy And Proud – Jonathan Ansfield

373_li.jpg CDT’s Jonathan Ansfield wrote the following for his Biganzi column:

Boyish Supergirl Li Yuchun made androgyny a sexy subject in China. Celeb social critics Li Yinhe and Yu Dan, plenty butch in their own right, helped to affirm the trend. Never mind that for women in Mao’s time, gender ambiguity was the rule. Today it’s the rage.

Now a new survey lends evidence to suggest that it’s a growing psychological phenomenon. In a poll of 800 female students from universities around Shanghai, released there last week at an academic forum on women’s issues, 31.5 percent identified themselves as part-male, part-female in temperament, Shanghai’s Wenhui Bao reported. Compared to a similar study of women born in the seventies that was conducted in 1998, about twice as many of the eighties generation (80Âêé) were designated androgynous (shuangxinghuaÂèåÊÄßÂåñ; the formal term is cixiong tongti ÈõåÈõÑÂêå‰Ωì)

Experts point to the competitiveness of the times as an explanation, according to the paper: Chinese girls grow up knowing they need to be more “firm” and “self-assertive” to compete. (The paper didn’t say how the survey classified the boys from the girls.)

A more deep-seated factor may be the one-child policy. At heart, the theory goes, some Chinese single-child parents have always wished their girls could be boys. With everyone from Supergirl Li to retiring “Iron Lady” Wu Yi as model gender-benders, it’s also a more popular thing to be.

Middle-roader politics reign within the Party nowadays, marked by wishy-washy leaders and a more balanced-sounding policy platform. Why can’t the androgynous rule the battle of the sexes?

November 4, 2007 5:54 PM
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