By Helene, Belarus
Samoa, traditions, customs. The combination of these words evokes some exotic images, many people will claim to know something about this country. But when you ask about the meaning of “fa’afafine”, even those who pretend to know Samoa will be quite confused. Though this is a very distinctive feature of Samoan culture, even not culture, but rather Samoan society. It is difficult to describe that mixture of emotions and feelings when I was reading about fa’afafine. Surprise, curiosity, thoughts about our society that claims to be the most human in the world, and of course, a question, how would those people feel here, in my country?
Fa`afafine is a third-gender person. Actually, those people are male biologically, but if they engage from childhood more in girls activities, if they feel more like girls, parents do not force them to get to male`s world. Such boys are grown up like girls. But they are not gays, as we are used to say, no, they are fa’afafine. They live a complete life and they are respected members of society. Moreover, if in family there are many boys but not enough girls, then some of boys could be brought up like a girl, so that fa`afafine could take care of family and help the mother around the house.
Immediately arises a question, if such people can find themselves in the modern world. And they do! As long as they were not pressurized in their families and as long as they were accepted positively in their society, they are not afraid of the world. Mostly they engage themselves in fashion, modeling, show-business, as those are creative people with very fine feelings.
Take for example, Cindy of Samoa. This is an example of how an ordinary person from Samoa can become world-famous and beloved. While reading her posts and comments I even felt a hint of envy, so much positivity and friendliness that one doubts if that person is from our world. First I thought it is a pose, nothing more than just a pose to gain some popularity, but while reading her Cindy`s posts more attentively. Some of them made me laugh, some of them seemed crazy to me, some of them made me think. But one was for sure this is an incredible person, with brilliant sense of humor, kind and loving heart, with her advantages and disadvantages and no doubt, very talented.
Unwillingly a memory came to my mind. An old story, half-fairy-tale, half legend. Long ago there were no men and no women, people were complete and happy. So happy that gods got envious with them and divided them into two parts – a man and a woman. I think such kind of story exists in every culture, and this time Cindy of Samoa was the reason why I remembered about it.
I am not sure if fa`afafine could find a place in my country, but I am sure in one simple fact – progress was made not by ordinary people. If an ordinary person reads about fa`afafine, different feelings arise. But one is for sure they are unique, they are different, and we can learn from them many things.