Hourou Musuko/Wandering Son: An Anime About Trans-Kids, Transness And Misogyny On A Deeper Level

I realised that as an trans nonbinary person who was socialized as a girl, I have certain privileges that my trans feminine friends do not share. Because no one really says that being androgynous and masculine is embarrassing as compared to being feminine.

Hourou Musuko, which translates to Wandering Son in English, is an anime series based on the manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Takako Shimura. The story revolves around a trans girl named Shuichi Nitori who likes to dress up in feminine clothes with her friends Saori Chiba and Yoshino Takatsuki, who turns out to be a tall and athletic trans boy who is at odds with her gender assigned at birth.

This series is absolutely incredible in the way it portrays the raw and emotional struggles of gender dysphoria, body image issues, and the overwhelming sense of confusion and isolation that comes with puberty. It captures every single feeling and emotion with such intensity, and it was hard not to feel it all myself as I watched. The way it handles these sensitive topics is beyond commendable and truly remarkable. They portrayed Shuichi’s fears of her voice changing and Yoshino’s extreme discomfort due to menstrual periods in a very efficient manner that can make a lot of trans children and adolescents feel less alone.

While many find Shuichi’s pretty face and soft-spoken nature quite endearing, her desire to identify as a woman has not been well-received by some, such as her elder sister Maho Nitori. Consequently, Shuichi has to deal with derogatory and transphobic remarks, even within the confines of her own home, simply for being true to herself and expressing her love for pretty dresses.

What struck me was this show’s portrayal of trans-misogyny, which has been done in such a delicate yet realistic manner. When Yoshino Takatsuki and one of their classmates named Chizuru Sarashina went to school wearing the uniform meant for boys, they were perceived as cool and brave. But when Shuichi went to school in a girls’ uniform, she was subjected to social ostracism and was treated as if there’s something wrong with her. This is because, according to the cis-patriarchal society we live in, it is considered more socially acceptable for women to wear men’s clothes (and aspire to “masculine” positions in society), but not vice-versa. Why?

This question can help us probe deeper into the workings of the patriarchal mind and the malevolent nature of the system itself.

A woman wearing ‘men’s’ clothing has elevated herself to a higher status. She, of course, will not be seen as entirely good, but she will face no more than a little shaming.  But if a man were to follow suit and drape himself in ‘women’s’ clothing the reaction would not be so similar. He has supposedly stepped out of line to dress as someone deemed “beneath” him. Society directs shame, guilt, and anger towards him! Not only from men, but even the cis-women as well (a common phenomenon among TERFs)! It becomes increasingly clear in this incident how the whole notion of femininity is constructed to bear a sense of shame.

I realised that as an trans nonbinary person who was socialized as a girl, I have certain privileges that my trans feminine friends do not share. Because no one really says that being androgynous and masculine is embarrassing as compared to being feminine. I may have to deal with misogyny and sexism from the people who want me to behave a certain way because they perceive me as a woman, but I do not think it is as bad as what my trans sisters have to go through. They get ostracised and taunted even by their own family members for just being who they are, because of the rampant misogynistic beliefs present in our society.

And that is the reason why it is simply wrong and unacceptable to say that feminism is only for cis women because trans women have “different problems”. It is not the case. The root of all the problems with gender inequality is misogyny and patriarchy.

We cannot and will not allow the voices of trans women to be silenced or overlooked, as their struggles are just as valid as any other woman’s. Feminism must be intersectional and all-encompassing, embracing and uplifting the experiences of trans-women. To claim otherwise is to perpetuate injustice and inequality in the most insidious of ways. We must reject these harmful beliefs and work tirelessly towards creating a truly inclusive and just future for all women, regardless of whether they are cis or trans.

And thus it is crucial for all the people who identify themselves as feminists to get a clear understanding of the importance of intersectional feminism. Anybody who is only looking out for their own benefits and does not put any effort into uplifting those who are institutionally marginalised, is doing a poor job of perpetuating feminist politics.

This story was about: Community Trans

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Rhea Laskar, a queer disabled person from Assam, mostly likes expressing themself by drawing and writing poems and articles. Her pronouns are she/they, and they love watching anime and Asian dramas and they've been a bookworm since childhood!
Rhea Laskar

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