theSundaily.my Lifestyle http://www.thesundaily.my/sites/default/files/images/thesundaily_logo_google.png theSundaily.my Lifestyle http://www.thesundaily.my/rss/lifestyle http://www.thesundaily.my/rss/lifestyle en The right direction http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/20/right-direction
It faces the direction Northeast 1 (NE1) and has the quality ‘Wang Shan, Wang Shui’. Literally translated, it means ‘prosper mountain, prosper water’.

In practice, this means that the occupants of this house can enjoy good career and wealth luck, as well as enjoy excellent relationships and health.

However, the house faces a hillslope with a lake at the back.

In a ‘Wang Shan, Wang Shui’ house, the favourable Water star is usually at the facing side, while the favourable Mountain star is at the sitting side.

When the Water star ‘meets’ water at the facing side, the career and wealth luck is greatly enhanced.

Similarly, the Mountain star at the sitting side should ‘meet’ a mountain, which will greatly enhance the relationship and health luck of the occupants.

Unfortunately, in this case, the situation is reversed.

The facing Water star ‘meets’ a mountain, while the sitting Mountain star ‘meets’ water.

In classical text, this is described as ‘water going up the mountain’ at the facing side, and ‘mountain falling into water’ at the sitting side.

It conjures up images of facing great obstacles while one is trying to achieve wealth or career success, with one’s health and relationship luck going
underwater – a most undesirable expectation.

So what can we do to correct this situation?

However, in this case, it so happens that the reverse facing direction – that is, Southwest 1 (SW1) – also has the same quality of ‘Wang Shan, Wang Shui’.

It should see water at the facing side, and a mountain at the sitting side.

Which means that if we can somehow reverse the facing of the house, the auspicious ‘Wang Shan, Wang Shui’ quality of the house will be enhanced by the lake at the facing side, and mountain at the sitting side.

How do we do this?

The ‘facing direction’ of a house is often defined as the side of the house that brings in most of the environmental energy.

If we can re-design the house, to let in more environmental energy from the SW1 side, then we can have a SW1-facing house.

Take a look at the example of a NE1-facing house (see Diagram 1).

This house has a typical design. The access to the house is from the street, or NE1 side, via a large door.

The door opens into the living area, and there are large windows to allow environmental energy into the living space.

The kitchen and store room is at the back, with a small door to access the backyard.

To make this a SW1-facing house, I will reverse the spaces, meaning I will move the living area to the back or the side of the house facing the lake (see Diagram 2).

I will open a large door, and contruct large windows to allow more environmental energy coming from the lake side.

Then I will move the kitchen and store room to the opposite side of the house, with correspondingly smaller windows.
The access to the house is still from the street side, but via a smaller main door now.

This change, with an appropriate re-design of the spaces upstairs, will change the facing of the house from NE1 to SW1.

Now the mountain and water are in the right places, and the occupants should now enjoy better luck and fortune.


Henry Fong is an electronic engineer by qualification and he approaches feng shui with the same analytical and investigative approach he uses in his training. Readers can write to him at lifestyle.henryfong@thesundaily.com.]]>
Lifestyle Fri, 20 Oct 2017 07:48:16 +0000 Henry Fong 494789 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Birds' beaks may evolve to better reach backyard feeders http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/20/birds-beaks-may-evolve-better-reach-backyard-feeders
The report in the US journal Science compared beak length among birds known as great tits in Britain and Netherlands, where bird-feeders are less common.

"Between the 1970s and the present day, beak length has got longer among the British birds. That's a really short time period in which to see this sort of difference emerging," said study co-author Jon Slate, professor in the department of animal and plant sciences at the University of Sheffield.

"We now know that this increase in beak length, and the difference in beak length between birds in Britain and mainland Europe, is down to genes that have evolved by natural selection."

The report is part of a long-term study under way on great tits in Britain's Wytham Woods, along with Oosterhout and Veluwe in the Netherlands.

Researchers screened DNA from more than 3,000 birds in order to uncover genetic differences between the British and the Dutch populations.

Changes in specific gene sequences in the British birds were found to closely match human genes that determine face shape.

Researchers also discovered that birds with genetic variants for longer beaks were more frequent visitors to feeders than birds without the genetic variation.

And there were "strong similarities with genes identified with beak shape," in line with naturalist Charles Darwin's historic study of finches, which showed how finches evolved physical traits that helped them adapt to different environments in the wild.

"In the UK we spend around twice as much on birdseed and bird feeders than mainland Europe – and, we've been doing this for some time," said co-author Lewis Spurgin of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

"Although we can't say definitively that bird feeders are responsible, it seems reasonable to suggest that the longer beaks amongst British great tits may have evolved as a response to this supplementary feeding."

Researchers on the study came from Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the Universities of Wageningen, Oxford, Exeter, East Anglia, Sheffield. — AFP]]>
Lifestyle Fri, 20 Oct 2017 03:47:54 +0000 theSundaily 494661 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Picasso meets Lautrec in Madrid http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/19/picasso-meets-lautrec-madrid-0
Bohemians

Lautrec became aware of his talent for caricature early in his career, effectively capturing the personality of the people he painted. He painted many caricature self-portraits, as well as portraits of people he knew, such as Jane Avril. Picasso also used caricature in his work. In fact, two paintings — "Jane Avril" by Lautrec and "Bust of a Smiling Woman" by Picasso — display the same characteristic style and pointillist technique.

Underworld

The two painters' work offered a window onto a world often overlooked by art, such as Parisian cafés and the cabarets of Montmartre. Lautrec painted posters for shows and portraits of their stars, such as La Goulue and Jane Avril, on many occasions. This fascination with Parisian nightlife is also seen in the work of Picasso, with works such as "The Diners."

Wanderers

The world of the circus also played a key role in the careers of both artists. Lautrec was particularly interested in equestrian acts, while Picasso had a more melancholic approach, portraying harlequins as the outcasts of Parisian nightlife.

Brothel life

Prostitution is another subject common to both artists, expressed in many works by both Lautrec and Picasso. Lautrec portrayed prostitutes attending to their toilette, getting dressed or playing cards, whereas the Spanish painter took a more erotic, sometimes pornographic, approach. At the turn of the 20th century, Picasso went to Saint-Lazare hospital to sketch women with syphilis, leading to works such as "Woman with Bangs."

Hidden eros

When it comes to erotic themes, Lautrec, influenced by Degas, painted more symbolic and delicate connotations, whereas Picasso took a more violent approach.]]>
Lifestyle Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:51:04 +0000 theSundaily 494214 at http://www.thesundaily.my
US author George Saunders wins 2017 Man Booker Prize http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/18/us-author-george-saunders-wins-2017-man-booker-prize
Judges for the world's most prestigious English-language literary award praised as "utterly original" the book that chronicles the death of Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie using the accounts of hundreds of narrators.

"The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative," said Lola Young, chair of the judging panel, in announcing the prize at a ceremony in London.

Saunders, 58, described the award as a "great honour, which I hope to live up to with the rest of my work, for the rest of my life."

In a brief, politically-tinged acceptance speech, he made several thinly-veiled references to the controversial policies of US President Donald Trump.

"We live in a strange time," he told the audience. "In the US now we're hearing a lot about the need to protect culture. Well, this tonight is culture."

He later told reporters he was in disbelief and numb at the award.

"For an artist, I think validation is really helpful," he added.

"My opinion of myself improves a little bit."

The winner of the Man Booker receives £52,500 (RM292,600), although the bigger prize is seen as a spike in sales which invariably follow the announcement of the winner.

Relishing artistic freedom

This year's shortlist stoked controversy over its big name omissions and eclectic line up, with one British columnist calling it "baffling" and a leading US critic decrying its "Americanisation".

It pitted three nominees from the US against two British writers and a British-Pakistani author.

The award, launched in 1969, was only open to novelists from Commonwealth states until it began permitting those from other English-speaking countries in 2014.

Last year Paul Beatty became the first American to win for his novel, The Sellout.

Saunders was the British bookmakers' favourite ahead of the 2017 announcement on Tuesday.

He wrote Lincoln in the Bardo over a four-year period, after first conceptualising it 20 years ago, the author told a press conference following the ceremony.

Saunders said he was unsure how exactly to tell the story at the outset, but relished the artistic freedom.

"I think the true mastery (of storytelling) is to be willing to wade into something and not be sure how it's going to turn out," he added.

'No fights, no blood'

In a lengthy and varied writing career, Saunders has penned award-winning short story collections, essays, illustrated fables and a bestselling children's book, as well as many pieces of journalism.

In 2006, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship, while in 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

To clinch the Man Booker Prize he beat competition from a varied selection of writers, including fellow American Paul Auster, who penned 4321.

The shortlist also included two other debut novelists – Emily Fridlund, who wrote History of Wolves, and Fiona Mozley, the 29-year-old British author of Elmet.

British author Ali Smith was shortlisted for the fourth time for Autumn, while Mohsin Hamid, a British-Pakistani writer, completed the line-up with his second shortlisted novel, Exit West.

The Man Booker's five person judging panel only reached its decision at 2:40pm (9.40pm Malaysia) on Tuesday afternoon, according to Young, the chair.

She said the nationalities of the writers were not a factor, and the group were "very diligent, very thorough" in their considerations.

"There were no fights, no blood on the carpet," she said. — AFP]]>
Lifestyle Wed, 18 Oct 2017 02:39:01 +0000 theSundaily 493953 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Picasso meets Lautrec in Madrid http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/18/picasso-meets-lautrec-madrid-0
Bohemians

Lautrec became aware of his talent for caricature early in his career, effectively capturing the personality of the people he painted. He painted many caricature self-portraits, as well as portraits of people he knew, such as Jane Avril. Picasso also used caricature in his work. In fact, two paintings — "Jane Avril" by Lautrec and "Bust of a Smiling Woman" by Picasso — display the same characteristic style and pointillist technique.

Underworld

The two painters' work offered a window onto a world often overlooked by art, such as Parisian cafés and the cabarets of Montmartre. Lautrec painted posters for shows and portraits of their stars, such as La Goulue and Jane Avril, on many occasions. This fascination with Parisian nightlife is also seen in the work of Picasso, with works such as "The Diners."

Wanderers

The world of the circus also played a key role in the careers of both artists. Lautrec was particularly interested in equestrian acts, while Picasso had a more melancholic approach, portraying harlequins as the outcasts of Parisian nightlife.

Brothel life

Prostitution is another subject common to both artists, expressed in many works by both Lautrec and Picasso. Lautrec portrayed prostitutes attending to their toilette, getting dressed or playing cards, whereas the Spanish painter took a more erotic, sometimes pornographic, approach. At the turn of the 20th century, Picasso went to Saint-Lazare hospital to sketch women with syphilis, leading to works such as "Woman with Bangs."

Hidden eros

When it comes to erotic themes, Lautrec, influenced by Degas, painted more symbolic and delicate connotations, whereas Picasso took a more violent approach.]]>
Lifestyle Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:54:30 +0000 theSundaily 493923 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Lighting up the way (Video) http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/17/lighting-way-video
Her performance in the inspirational biopic, Adiwiraku, earned her two best actress awards – at the Malaysian Film Festival, and the Anugerah Pengkritik Filem Kuala Lumpur.

In Adiwiraku, she plays real-life teacher Cheryl Ann Fernando, who left Kuala Lumpur to teach English in a rural school in Sungei Petani, Kedah, from 2013 to 2015.

The film depicts Cheryl’s efforts to inspire her students to greater heights, and overcome their fear of speaking English.

More exciting roles are in store for Sangeeta. She will next be seen in the 13-episode Malay teledrama series Banteras, playing an officer attached with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

And early next year, Sangeeta will be playing a secret service agent, something along the line of Angelina Jolie’s role in Salt.

“I won’t talk more about this role until I’ve signed the dotted line,” she says. “I understand that with the awards come certain expectations.
“All eyes will be watching me and what I’m doing next. But I will not allow those expectations to stress me out.

“I am human and I will make mistakes. There will be times when I will choose the wrong projects. Mistakes are important because they teach lessons so that you do not repeat them.”

Sangeeta has a strong desire to be a scriptwriter and a film director in future. In fact, she is saving up money so she can enrol in the prestigious New York Film Academy.

“I have always been crazy about films since I was young.” she says. “I always turned to films when I have problems. Films are good distractions. They are an excellent way to be entertained.

“I love watching art films like Children of Heaven and The Colours of Paradise. Majid Majidi is one of my favourite directors.”

Interestingly, Sangeeta never harboured any dreams to be an actress before she first joined the entertainment industry.

In fact, she was working for a college which was located near the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) in Sentul, where from time to time, she would watch plays that were held there.

One day, she stumbled upon a notice in klpac announcing that well-known theatre director Joe Hasham would be conducting a 10-week acting course. She decided to participate.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. “The acting course [got rid of] all the inhibitions I never thought I had.”

Her mentor, Joe Hasham, kept pushing her to attend auditions, and she eventually landed a plum role as an unwed mother in the Tamil series Manippu in 2009. Her performance got her noticed, and more roles started coming her way.

“I’m Anak Malaysia,” she says. “I will act in any [local] film, and in any language. I am even willing to act in a Chinese film if the director is willing teach me the language.”

Asked about her personal life, Sangeeta admits that she’s dating a fellow ‘entertainment personality’.
But she adds that right now, marriage is far from her mind.

“I have a very supportive partner,” she says. “Since he is [also] from the entertainment industry, he understands my busy routine, and I can always talk to him whenever I face problems in my career.”

Asked her plans for the Festival of Lights (which falls tomorrow), Sangeeta says this year, she intends to spend more time with her family.

She adds: “In the last few years, I have been putting my work before my family, and they have been seeing less of me. I want to change that this Deepavali.”
She is even taking time to make Deepavali sweets with her aunties.

Sangeeta also sadly misses spending Deepavali with her grandmother, Madam Alagammal, who passed away in 2006.

“She had a strong personality,” Sangeeta recalls. “She would ensure that we had our new festive dresses, and that we looked good for Deepavali. She taught me how to cook.

“She always brought our family together.

“Deepavali is a time for us to [celebrate] the triumph of good over evil, and for us to find opportunities to help others.”

With Deepavali just round the corner, we ask if Sangeeta is willing to do a photo shoot together with dancers from the Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur to wish all theSun readers of the Hindu faith a happy Deepavali

Special thanks to Sangeeta as well as The Temple of Fine Arts and its dancers – Purnima Segaran, Harshini Sukumaran, Shonabushani ­Velusamay and Ananga Manjari – for making this photo shoot possible.

Below is a video of Sangeeta Krishnasamy wishing readers of thesun Happy Deepavali:

]]>
Lifestyle Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:50:58 +0000 theSundaily 493720 at http://www.thesundaily.my
British and US authors vie for Man Booker Prize http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/17/british-and-us-authors-vie-man-booker-prize
US author George Saunders is the bookmakers' favourite to take the world's most prestigious English-language literary award for his first full-length novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

The book weaves a tale around the death of Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie, using the accounts of hundreds of narrators.

He would become the second US author to win the prize following last year's victory by Paul Beatty, for his novel The Sellout.

The prize, which was launched in 1969, was only opened to non-Commonwealth authors from 2013 – a decision that was highly controversial in Britain.

Washington Post critic Ron Charles urged Britain to "please take your Booker Prize back home" in a recent article bemoaning the homogeneity of US culture.

"For any serious reader of fiction in this country, the Americanisation of the Booker Prize is a lost opportunity to learn about great books that haven't already been widely heralded," he wrote.

Debut writer Emily Fridlund is in the running with History of Wolves, an exploration of teenage desire through a 14-year-old girl in Minnesota.

Fellow debut novelist Fiona Morley, 29, is on the list for Elmet, which tells the story of a father and his two children and their battle with a local landowner.

The British writer raised eyebrows when she revealed that she had written the story on her phone while commuting.

Paul Auster makes up the US contingent with 4321, a coming-of-age narrative that replays the life of its protagonist four times over, highlighting how minor events can trigger a chain reaction with deep-lasting effects.

'Baffling'

British author Ali Smith makes the shortlist for the fourth time with Autumn, written in response to Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

British-Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid makes his second appearance on the shortlist with Exit West, in which mysterious black doorways whisk people to far-off countries in an exploration of immigration.

The winner, who will be announced at a London ceremony, is guaranteed a huge increase in global sales that dwarfs the £50,000 (RM280,000) prize.

Previous winners of the prize, launched in 1969, include Ian McEwan, Iris Murdoch and Salman Rushdie.

The final six were whittled down from a longlist of 13, with former winners and big names such as Arundhati Roy, Zadie Smith and Sebastian Barry controversially missing out.

"This shortlist is just baffling," said the Daily Telegraph's Anthony Cummins.

"Clearly they've tried to favour novels that take a narrative gamble, that have been overlooked by other prizes," he added.

Organisers defended their choices as "six unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention".

"This year's shortlist both acknowledges established authors and introduces new voices to the literary stage," said Baroness Lola Young, who chairs the judging panel. — AFP]]>
Lifestyle Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:54:42 +0000 theSundaily 493658 at http://www.thesundaily.my
'Once in a lifetime' Cezanne portraits exhibition to open in London http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/17/once-lifetime-cezanne-portraits-exhibition-open-london-0
Hailed as a "once in a lifetime" exhibition, the "Cézanne Portraits" exhibition is leaving Paris for London's National Portrait Gallery. The first major exhibition dedicated entirely to Cézanne's portraiture, the show brings together 50 pieces from collections in Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Of these 50 pieces, several have never before been publicly exhibited in the UK, including "Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat" (1885-86) from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek gallery in Copenhagen. Returning to the UK for the first time since the 1930s are "Boy in a Red Waistcoat" (1888-90) and "Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair" (1888-90.)

Called "the father of us all" by both Picasso and Matisse, Cézanne remains known predominantly for his landscapes and still life artwork despite producing over 200 portraits. "Cézanne Portraits" seeks to spotlight the artist's lesser-known talent as a portrait artist, by examining the chronological evolution of the Post-Impressionist artist's portraiture, as well as the changes in technique, method and style depending on the sitters. Subjects include Cézanne's uncle Dominique, a young man believed to be Michelangelo de Rosa, and the gardener/caretaker Vallier, painted shortly before the artist's death.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, explained the importance of the exhibition, "Up until now, Cezanne's portraiture has received surprisingly little attention, so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne's art."

The "Cézanne Portraits" exhibition first opened at Paris's Musée d'Orsay in June 2017, closing in late September. Following its run at London's National Portrait Gallery, the show will head to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, USA. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Lifestyle Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:51:56 +0000 theSundaily 493555 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Legoland Malaysia Resort to launch the world's first Lego Virtual Reality roller coaster in Nov http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/14/legoland-malaysia-resort-launch-worlds-first-lego-virtual-reality-roller-coaster-nov
Combining cutting-edge virtual reality technology with roller-coaster thrills, the new attraction was developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making – the company's global creative division that designs and develops attractions for Merlin sites around the world.

The Great Lego Race will transform three existing "Project X" roller coasters into an exciting, high-octane experience that puts kids and parents alike in the driver's seat and asks, "Are you brave enough to face, race and beat the best of the best in all of Lego world?"

"The Great Lego Race was inspired by the way kids play with Lego toys at home," said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making.

"It's a unique Lego adventure that lets kids enter an epic imaginary world made entirely from Lego bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun Lego characters."

Featuring a colourful lineup of racers drawn from the ranks of the popular Lego Minifigure mystery assortments, The Great Lego Race builds a universe of imagination that will unleash the inner child in everyone.

It pits riders in a rollicking race against wild, brick-built contraptions driven by Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and Pirate Captain, including a rocket-powered surfboard and a stylish scooter fueled by espresso.

Wearing VR headsets, guests will experience the action from every direction – up, down, forward, backward and all points in between – in a spectacular environment completely made of Lego bricks.

General Manager of Legoland Malaysia Resort, Kurt Stocks added, "We're honoured to be the first Legoland park to launch this experience in the world. Fuelling this launch is our commitment to consistently deliver refreshing experiences and attractions so that every visit here is a new experience for our guests. This November's launch will further testify to that commitment as guests visiting Legoland Malaysia Resort will be among the first in the world to embark on The Great Lego Race and lose themselves in a virtual world with captivating storyline suitable for adults and children alike".

The adventure begins the moment guests approach the ride's bold new entry portal enveloped in the sounds of roaring engines fill the air. Nearby, the coaster's queue will resemble a pre-race space where pit crews for each of the five Lego racers prepare for the competition, including interactive and hands-on elements to entertain riders in the queue.

During the ride, Bluetooth technology will sync the virtual visuals with the roller coaster's twists, turns, drops and climbs, creating an all-new experience filled with thrills, spills, surprises and humour – done in Legoland's brilliance.

The Great Lego Race can be experienced with or without the VR headset, and is suitable for children ages 6 and up.

For further information on promotions and activities, visit Legoland Malaysia Resort's official website www.Legoland.com.my and stay connected with the resort via social handles (Facebook & Twitter) to find out more.]]>
Lifestyle Sat, 14 Oct 2017 06:07:59 +0000 theSundaily 492759 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Gender is new battleground in culture wars http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/08/gender-new-battleground-culture-wars
But as the blurring of boundaries has gone from the margins to being a progressive cause, the political temperature of the debate has risen sharply.

Gender fluidity has become a hot-button issue in the culture wars between liberals and conservatives, often reduced to newspaper stories over "which bathroom somebody chooses," said Johanna Burton, curator of the exhibition "Trigger: gender as a tool and a weapon" which has just opened at New York's New Museum.

"It is very much an exciting moment, but also a scary moment politically ... Gender is in the forefront of people's thoughts right now," she added.

"I think people have considered the limits of the binary construction of gender for a very long time, but only recently has it made the newspapers every day."

No one has put gender issues out there more than Bruce Jenner, the former decathlete and erstwhile member of the Kardashian clan, whose transition to becoming Caitlyn in 2015 pushed the subject into the mainstream.

Time and National Geographic magazines have both devoted their covers to the transgender debate.

And later this month Conde Nast, the publishers of GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair, will launch a new glossy magazine aimed at LBGTQ people (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and questioning).

Transgender stars

Hollywood too has played a part.

First the Wachowski brothers, creators of The Matrix movie franchise, became the Wachowski sisters and then they cast transgender actress Jamie Clayton as a hacker in their hit Netflix series Sense8.

One of the first places trans issues stepped out of the shadows was on stage. And next year's Avignon festival in France, the world's biggest theatre gathering, will be on the theme of "gender, trans identity and transsexuality".

"Gender doesn't exist anymore," according to Guram Gvasalia, the business brain behind fashion's ultra-hip label of the moment, Vetements, whose collections are all mixed.

"Man or woman, we can choose what we want to be," insisted Gvasalia, whose brother Demna Gvasalia designs for both the label and Balenciaga, where he has carried on the relaxed attitude to gender.

On the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan, brands now regularly show "mixed" collections and many market their clothes as "gender fluid".

Philosopher Thierry Hoquet calls this the "Conchita Wurst phenomenon", after the bearded Austrian drag queen who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014.

"Today some people mix masculine and feminine characteristics, and they do not need to be coherent," he said.

While the author of the book Sexus Nullus claimed these "gender pirates" are very rare, he believes they are also very influential.

Anti-gender' backlash

But this new emerging reality is not to everyone's taste.

"There is a political battle being waged right now on the territory of gender," said the American historian Joan W. Scott, a specialist in women's history and gender studies.

"The 'forces of order' and 'anti-gender' groups – the Vatican, religious fundamentalists, populists, nationalists, even some in the centre and on the left – have organised to stop the spread of the idea that gender is fluid or flexible and always mutable," she said.

US President Donald Trump was quick to realise it was a hot-button issue which could shore up his conservative base.

He banned transgender people from serving in the US Army in August and insisted on calling trans whistleblower Chelsea Manning a "he".

An uncrossable divide?

In France, large protests against the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 included slogans like "Hands off our stereotypes!"

They also spawned a movement to protect "traditional family values" and roles which later helped fuel a furore over false claims that a "theory of gender" was being taught in schools.

French sociologist Marie Duru-Bellat said that while trans issues have been embraced in the arts world, in society at large "there has been a hardening of attitudes", and a reinforcing of the idea of an uncrossable divide between men and women.

She said some Catholic groups are holding "masculinity support" workshops and pointed to how gender stereotypes are still very strong among children.

"There are a lot of people for whom equality is about men and women complementing each other," said the academic, who wrote "La Tyrannie du Genre" (The Tyranny of Gender).

"So for them, you cannot touch traditional gender models." — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Lifestyle Sun, 08 Oct 2017 03:27:43 +0000 theSundaily 490653 at http://www.thesundaily.my