Thursday, August 11, 2005


This item comes from Thailand and much as we’ve become used to the two-headed-chicken and man-marries-goat stories that come from this part of the world, this is not only bizarre, but provides an opportunity to explore the whole sticky question of how much of gender is genetic, how much learned, and how much good old plain animal instinct.

On the full moon of June 21, Thin Sandar noticed her “thing” wasn’t as before, her clitoris had turned into a penis, and first thing she did was she “shouted out and showed it all to my mom and dad”. Just what anyone would do really.

It’s a peculiar story, because she’s really happy about the whole thing, whereas to me it sounds like the most exquisite sort of hell. The doctors say she’s a hermaphrodite, and her glee over the whole event is because she can now become a monk, which makes the whole penis thing rather futile.

Besides, how can a woman turn into a man overnight, does this mean she will stop asking for directions, develop an obsession with sports involving balls, snore like a bellows and monopolise the remote control. Will she still be interested in shopping, shoes, gossiping about soap opera characters and paging through bridal magazines?

Hordes of people are streaming to Thin’s village to look at the phenomenon for themselves, another 21-year-old housewife Thandar Win is quoted as saying "If I was not married, then I too would want to become a man!"

I think she’ll find that being a man is not as rosy as it looks, because Freud was totally wrong about the penis envy thing. Women are smaller, less muscular, our heads crack easily, our whole bodies are full of vulnerable spots. Men have one vulnerable spot, and if women acquired that we’d have to bring back the iron codpiece. Far better that men carry them around and protect them and encourage us to play with them as often as possible.

I feel terribly sorry for these Myanmar wanna-be men. Who needs something attached to their bodies that has a mind of its own, never mind how a man handles the joy of the monthly period? Is it really possible that after 21 years of being a woman, she will now be totally unable to operate the toilet roll holder? There’s also the question of whether the new penis will be able to rise to the occasion, if she’s hidden it for so long it can’t be over large. I believe women care less about penis size (beyond a certain minimum) than men do, which makes penis envy a man thing.

I foresee a host of problems for Mr. Sein (as he is now called), as he tries to engage a colleague in conversation about how bitchy those other monks are. I wonder if he’ll be happy with way the robe makes his bum look? At least hair products won't be a problem, also toenail painting.

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