Rituals of Manhood: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea Essay
This research paper covers the rituals of manhood in Papua New Guinea and analyzes the cultural relativism regarding the area dwellers. It also offers a small summary and a clear explanation of manhood in this culture.
The author of the article provides a detailed explanation of Sambia people and the area where they live. He states that people who live there are mountain-dwellers whose origin can be traced back to the Papua interior. Males and females perform different kinds of activities. Males are involved in hunting, while females cultivate crops. A special group of warriors deals with performing rituals and fighting. People in Sambia live in small groups, mostly in the villages where they were born. Marriages of Sambia people are prearranged through infant engagement and sister exchange.
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Another point covered in this article is the family traditions in Sambia. For example, the tradition of nuclear families exists there. It means that all family members live in one hut. According to some restrictions, male and female family members eat and sleep separately. Male and female children are brought up differently. In particular, boys move to male clubhouses when they’re aged 7 to 10, while girls live with their parents until marriage. Boys are removed from their family earlier because they need to prepare for their future life and learn to hunt or fight. It’s one of the parts of cultural relativism.
According to the article, Sambia males have to know how to fight. They have to be strong and manly, which is another significant part of cultural relativism. The author of the article says that the meaning of strength and manliness in Sambia tribes can be explained by their previous wars with enemy peoples. Another important part of cultural relativism consists in the way males treat females. In particular, males are considered to be superior over females which is reflected in their attitude and behavior. Sambia people also think that while manliness has to be acquired, femaleness is an inborn quality. Females are born with everything they need for reproduction, while males have to learn how to become men. They need to undergo the process of initiation to acquire the highly valued qualities of masculinity and strength.
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To sum up, cultural relativism, along with equality and plurality of different cultural types, is an essential part of any culture. The most significant aspects of cultural relativism for the tribes of Papua New Guinea are gender segregation, superior position of males toward females, and the importance of male strength and masculinity. It is important to note that to understand the culture, one has to comprehend the aspects of cultural relativism and grasp the uniqueness of this culture.
In conclusion, this research has provided the principal points of the article about male initiation of Papua New Guinea men and significance of cultural relativism in the area. It also deals with the issue of gender relations and masculinity in representatives of Sambia peoples.