'It is in the best interests of children to have both a mother and a father’. In a society where marriage, heterosexuality and family are so closely intertwined, such a simple, albeit clichéd, statement would seem uncontroversial. In fact, the idea of a mother and a father in a married relationship carries such political and cultural currency that it is hard to imagine having children in circumstances that do not fit neatly under the matrimonial rubric. So how do we then manage to contemplate a family unit that is not only unmarried, but has two mums or two dads?
Whenever I think about masculinity in Mauritius, I'm reminded of a conversation between two friends of mine, both girls. It was on the recent emergence of several guys that would wear clothes or haircut styles that were understood feminine, like wearing a pink shirt and having rather long wavy hair along with trendy sunglasses, in a word ‘metrosexuals’. One of the two girls was arguing that these guys could not be called 'feminine' because they were not 'like us'. What surprised me was the firstly the argument, why is it so disturbing to both of them that guys should wear pink shirts? How did we come to consider pink as feminine? And why should it matter so much that a man should dress according to a certain code. But above all, the choice of the expression 'like us' puzzled me. I think it might come from doing a BA in English: to a certain extent you cannot help but notice how people use words. Words are never just words. They bear a history and a background that they cannot be divorced from.