Fahim and Foreign (to me) Films

Fahim isn’t feeling well. He’s tired and tired and tired. He’s also a little irritable and even more tired. He was watching a foreign (to me) film on television. Translation: it was probably in either Sinhalese or Tamil, and I’m betting on Sinhalese. Well, I sat down beside him and started reading. He stretched out his legs over me, and it started raining, complete with thunder and lightning.

I got a phone call from Marlene somewhere in there that was interrupted by a lost signal.

Well, in the middle of the movie, the signal is interrupted several times. So he closes his eyes and falls asleep. The signal comes back and he wakes up and watches another minute or two. Signal gone, he falls asleep. Signal back, he watches. On and off for a while, asleep, awake, asleep, awake. It was kinda funny. And yes, he was asleep, not just resting his eyes. His limbs would suddenly relax and his legs or feet would shift.

The movie – well, there was an interesting part about it. Interesting because it’s something that would never show up in movies in Canada or the US.

Hermaphrodites.

See, in the movie Fahim was watching, there was this man wearing make-up and women’s clothing. I made a "What, a cross-dresser?" comment to Fahim, who responded with, "No, he’s supposed to be a hermaphrodite."

Oh.

Well, we know from science class that hermaphrodites exist. Okay, remedial science lesson. For those of you who don’t remember or who didn’t study it in the first place, a hermaphrodite is a person who is born with both male and female reproductive organs. They will appear externally male when they’re born, but are also female. I don’t know about now, but it used to be that they weren’t always discovered immediately. That is, the hermaphrodite would be raised a boy, but at puberty would start developing breasts, and the individual could feel emotionally either male or female.

Surgery can correct this – at least in a limited way. And it’s usually easier to remove the male reproductive organs. But is that the better tactic? Emotionally and developmentally? I don’t know. I’m inclined to say it depends on the individual. But surgery is best performed at a younger age, and that necessitates making a decision on behalf of the individual far before the individual either knows him/herself, or can communicate in any kind of effective way.

Any way you look at it, it’s a complicated situation.

But the point is that hermaphrodites exist. What percentage of the population I also don’t know. But that’s all beside the point.

Other than science class where we learned about hermaphrodites, it’s never been brought up in any conversation, news piece, movie, television show, book, or anything else I’ve encountered since. Surely that means we’re ignoring a segment of society? Why don’t we talk about it? I have no idea, other than perhaps out of embarrassment or fear.

Whatever.

Anyway, this movie had a hermaphrodite. Now, understand that this was either a Hindi or Sinhalese or Tamil movie – I don’t know which one. I’m not at the point of being able to catch languages that well yet, and since Fahim is fluent in all of the above, the fact that he watches it doesn’t tell me the language either. But it hardly matters. The point is that it’s some kind of Indian film.

And this guy who’s dressing as a woman – he’s big, he’s muscular, he’s not the least bit feminine. He is, in a word or two, a very very ugly woman. And he’s the bad guy – or girl – or both, really – tormenting, maiming, fighting, and even killing people – all with long curly hair, five o’clock shadow, bad make-up, a dress, and heels.

Here, it makes for good drama.

Yeah, okay, why not?

Author: LMAshton

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