My wife was watching some National Geographic video on Netflix the other day. It was about various indigenous tribes in New Guinea. What I found really interesting about the show was that each tribe invariably placed women in lesser roles. It wasn’t that the women were not integral to the success of the tribe, obviously they were, it is just that either they were valued less than the men, from a comfort/social standing point of view, or they were viewed as “weakening” the men by their presence. This lead to the tribe to some form of segregation in each instance. Sometimes it was just separate jobs, other times they did not share food, and in one tribe, they did not sleep or live together. Sex was viewed strictly as a necessary function of survival- at least according to the show. As this was a documentary, I’m sure there was editing to portray everything in certain a light, but it was quite obvious that there were deep rooted sexist issues. This really makes me wonder, though, that if sexism could exist in such isolated, primitive cultures, how the hell does it originate in the first place? What fundamental human process seems to lead to placing a lesser value on half the human race? I want to explore these ideas more, work out some additional questions. Hopefully I can find some research that isn’t too damn dull to read that can shed some light on the origination of these wrong sexist values.
By Dan Granot
I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.View all of Dan Granot's posts.