Nestled deep in the hidden valleys of Yunnan, China, east of the Himalayas and abutting the blue waters of Lugu Lake, sits a community of inhabitants known as the Mosuo people. And like most members of this community, they collectively share several similarities—traits, ideals, morals, beliefs. What sets this group apart from the rest of their mainland counterparts is their surprisingly modern approach to Chinese tradition. In this mysterious and unspoiled region, known as the “Kingdom of Women,” men take a backseat.
Now, this “Kingdom of Women” is no primitive society. It just so happens that residents of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist collective live by a startlingly progressive and modern idea: the idea that Women Are Treated as Equal, If Not Superior, to Men.
Mosuo women eschew patriarchal constructs and operate within a faction where a woman can choose to have as many, or as few, sexual partners as she wishes. And for that matter, as many children by as many different fathers, without fear of reprisals or shame. Marriage is virtually non-existent: men reside in their mate’s home (which she owns) while fulfilling an intimate relationship that lasts as long as she wants.
In this community, no dispersions are cast. Mosuo children “belong” solely to their mothers, and are raised exclusively by them, with the help of grandmothers. And this reformist ideology does not only apply to reproductive matters.
Women are property owners and run their agrarian households while fulfilling domestic tasks like cooking and cleaning. The Mosuo men are typically found outdoors, plowing fields and repairing fencing—contributing physical strength. An asset, but certainly not a requirement.
And how do the men feel about this, you ask? As a result of a cohabiting in a non-patriarchal society, Mosuo men naturally grow into unequivocal feminists. A novel idea for a decidedly evolving world.