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Word Count: 2,001
In the last few decades there has been a rapid change in social attitude towards so-called sexual problems There has been a call for the freedom to live in the style of which one chooses so long as no one else is harmed in the process One area that appears little understood however is transvestitism or cross-dressing In order to gain some knowledge about this phenomenon there are many aspects of transvestitism that should be examined some being history societal views the gay versus straight issue and women dressing as men Transvestitism has a long history ranging from mythical figures to medieval saints who cross-dressed from the many instances of berdache in anthropological literature to historical figures such as the most famous eighteenth century French transvestite Chevalier dEon Bullough 1993 There are countless examples of this in Greek Theater the public theater of England including Shakespearean plays Kabuki and Noh theaters in Japan and the Chinese opera For years it was considered immoral for women to act in theater so men assumed the roles of female characters Even after it became acceptable for women to enter acting there are many cases of crossdressing in film Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon donned full womens garb in Some Like It Hot 1959 Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby 1938 and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie 1983 Women have been known to get into the crossdressing act in film and theater as well with the role of Peter Pan traditionally played by a woman Marlene Detrich and Josephine Baker were also known to occasionally dress for the stage in full tuxedo top hat and tails included More recently cross-dressing has been seen in popular culture with among many others drag diva RuPaul the movie The Crying Game 1992 and as an example of female to male crossdressing singer Madonna This gives a sense that transvestitism and performing are interrelated not merely historically or culturally but psychoanalytically through the unconscious
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