The Island of Menstruating Men by Ian Hogbin

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Book Report/Review
Miscellaneous
Pages 7 (1757 words)
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The Island of Menstruating Men, written by Ian Hogbin is an ethnography. Hogbin has made a detailed study of the culture at Wogeo, an island in the South Pacific with a unique and exquisite culture that allows its inhabitants, both men and women, to enjoy a balanced freedom and social equality through dogmas, rites and beliefs without altering their roles as men and women…

Introduction


Men and women in Wogeo have discrete responsibilities which are quite different and are enshrined in the beliefs. The men, for example hunt to provide sustenance, and are the leaders in the society, where as women bear children and celebrate it. They take care of the young ones; as the little ones depend on them for nursing and nurturing, for which they command the cultural authority. The women get the vegetables, fish and other food items and cook. The men have a certain edge over women, for they can play flute to mimic the voice of Niebek-a monster spirit. Women celebrate their first menstruation, as it empowers them to curse if they are hurt or mistreated. Both the genders depend on each other to survive.
A ritual of tongue slitting, common to both men and women is performed to ward off the calamities befall upon them. Tongue, being the source of curses, arguments, disagreements, insults and contemptuous language is blamed and punished-due to the flow of blood sanctified and celebrated equally as that of menstruation. In the case of men the ritual purifies them to have sex and the women to suckle their offspring.
Although the men and women in Wogeo share equal social status butthey command authorities in different spare ...
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