A most interesting article that once again highlights China’s conservatism on the one hand and its tolerance on the other. While I can imagine this sort of thing being seen as cool among some segments of American society, it’s hard to picture weiniang (fake ladies) going mainstream anytime soon. (Then again, Liberace was popular all across America.)
The bottom line is that millions of Chinese youth are celebrating cross-dressing guys, at least some of whom seem to be true transgendereds. They are wildly popular. While there may be examples in the US of toleration for cross-dressers, we’ve never seen it go mainstream like this.
On a separate note, one quote from the article baffled me.
But noted sociologist Gu Xiaoming from Fudan University says weiniang shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
“It used to be a fad even in the Western countries,” Gu says. “In the movie ‘Titanic,’ Leonardo DiCaprio stunned many people with his feminine features.”
Were “many people” really “stunned” by DiCaprio’s “feminine features”? Did he seem at all transgendered or ladylike? I’m not convinced this was a widespread reaction.
Update: Then again, when it comes to other teen-oriented TV shows, the Chinese authorities can show a lots less tolerance.
Cross-dresser Xu Long, who insists he only dresses like a man. You decide.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.