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The North American Berdache - Coursework Example

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The term Berdache is basically used as a broad term by anthropologists but strictly condemned by the native Americans. The reason being that similar words in other languages have not a very good meanings for the word, for example in French, Spanish, Arabic, Persian it means a kept boy, a male prostitute, and a catamite…
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The North American Berdache
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The North American Berdache

Download file to see previous pages... Such people are also called two-spirited people. Way back in history the Spanish 'Conquistadors' came across two-spirited individuals in almost every town or village they visited in Central America. It was believed in the past that these individuals possessed numinous powers. History says that once in an encounter between a tribe and a group of women the soldiers of the tribe found that one of the women was a Berdache they ran frightened when the women started running after them. This proves the point that Berdaches contained significance in North America.
However some writers criticize these individuals. Natives were and are usually thought of as warriors. Now when it is discovered about the Berdaches, writers criticize it as being a social failure. The reason being that such individuals believe that these people do not possess masculine qualities in them and hence are failure for their culture and their tribe.
The writer Lang comments that in the past cross dressing that is male dressing like a female or a female dressing like a male did not mean they were necessarily Berdaches. He believed that dressing did not describe a person's society role, gender or even the partner he or she would choose for his or her life. A child's gender was decided by his or her tendency towards masculine or feminine activities. Clothing only mattered at the stage of Puberty to display a person's gender.
Two-spirited people with a male body could go on a war, could even indulge in male activities such as sweat lodges. However they even had the capabilities of performing feminine tasks such as cooking and other domestic jobs. However now such feminine males are looked down by the society. People take them as a shame to the society and no longer look at their dual capabilities.
These two spirited people or berdaches had sexual relations with any of the gender. How ever in the early days and even now Female bodied berdaches were involved in sexual relations with the female gender (now who are usually named as lesbians). A classic example of a relationship or a marriage was seen in the Lakota tribe which had male bodied berdaches, which would marry usually other males whose wife had passed away. They could take up the job of nursing the children of the family. Such people how ever did not gain much recognition, but some people believed that having sexual relations with two spirited people would get them magical powers. It was even believed that male-bodied berdaches having sex with another male will lead to the increasing of the masculinity of the other male.
Another example brings in a totally new study of these two spirited ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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