What better way to show people gender doesn’t (and shouldn’t) affect how you go through day-to-day life than to cross-dress for a day? That’s something Fuji Hokuryo High School in Yamanashi Prefecture decided to do yesterday during their “Sex Change Day” (セクスチェンジ・デー or sekusu chenji dee).
According to Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest papers, (from game site My Game News Flash), the day took its name from “sex” and “exchange” (交換 or koukan). While “gender exchange” might’ve been a bit more accurate, the concept is still the same: have all the boys wear plaid skirts and ribbons, and the girls wear pants and neckties, to give students the freedom to separate themselves from preconceived gender expectations of masculinity and femininity.
This break from traditional genderized clothing isn’t practiced by all Japanese schools which makes it a bit unusual, albeit an idea worth considering for everyone else. Of the students, 117 male and 182 female volunteers took part, swapping uniforms that fit their size and otherwise going about their studies as usual, with the idea that what they thought was a given wasn’t always the case.
A fantastic incentive to put some perspective on “gender roles” and how much they do/don’t define us.
Also worth noting: any photos seen online of the event primarily show the males in skirts as opposed to females in pants, probably because that’s far more unusual to see, but why is that? Women used to only wear skirts and dresses, yet now wear slacks, shorts, items that were traditionally “men’s clothes,” and it’s generally accepted. What’s the big deal, then, for a man to wear traditional “women’s clothes” like skirts? Seems strange now, but women in pants used to be just as “strange” too, so what’s stopping the men of the world from donning a dress? Perhaps the world’s generally lower view on women is unconsciously reflected by the clothing we share and don’t share. Some food for thought…