Has any scene in any TG media ever so perfectly captured the core of gender fluidity like the transformation scene in Issue 1 of Futaba-kun change? Futaba, a young man who has just noticed girls and become “fascinated” with their bodies, sneaks into a bathroom stall at school with a porno magazine.
For the first time, he looks at a beautiful woman’s naked body, and his brain lights up. He imagines the naked body of the girl he has a crush on, and gets more and more excited until– he suddenly passes out! When he wakes up, he feels strange, pulls open his shift and stares in the mirror at his breasts, and the pretty face of the girl he has become, shouting, “What the hell?”
Three boys enter the bathroom. They see Futaba standing there, nearly naked, and immediately they charge toward the shy new female in an aggressive, threatening manner. He can’t believe it. He is a woman, and men want his body!
Futaba. Oh, Futaba!
That scene, where Futaba looks at the beautiful woman, wants her and then becomes her, perfectly captured my own murky dreams and fantasies. From the time I started to awaken, I always wanted both. I would look at pictures of beautiful girls, fascinated by the shapes of their bodies, and I would desire them and desire to be them. So often my dreams went that way, oftentimes starting off fairly mundane, thinking about some cheerleader in her little pleated skirt, and then somehow we would switch places, and I would be her, and then we’d switch back, or we wouldn’t.
A woman in a writer’s group critiqued one of my stories– this was an attempt at a mainstream, non-TG story– she said my male character wasn’t realistic. “Men fantasize about bodies,” she said. “Women narratives.” She explained the theory, which I have since seen elsewhere, suggesting that men catalog and dissect- check out those legs, that ass, those tits.
Women fantasize in terms of narratives, that is meeting some guy who sweeps them off their feet and takes them to Italy for a whirlwind romance.
Well, guess what? I always fantasized about both, and I think more men do than the theory realizes. Back in the day, Playboy used to feature little interviews with the girls with questions about their hobbies. What was that but back story to go with the body?
In any case, I always fantasized about both. I thought about bodies, and I thought about those bodies in stories, about people in stories, and always and forever my characters were always switching, changing, morphing, turning into each other or into versions of their own fantasy women and men. For me, what Futaba experienced is perfectly normal, at least in terms of psychology. To both desire the female body and to want to experience what it would be like to be desired always merged in my mind.
I think Freud said somewhere that we long to become the things we desire, which in turn inspired Roth’s novel in which a college professor is transformed into a giant female breast. That can talk.
If you don’t know Futaba-Kun, check it out. It’s a TG comic for grown-ups and deals with a lot more adult issues than, say, Ranma 1/2. Some of the book certainly falls into the “let’s see a guy deal with the crap girls deal with everyday” world, but much more the book explores and challenges the notion that male or female is inherently better, and follows a character along as he explores life as both a female and a male and comes to understand himself in the process.