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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
A 3 page discussion of societal examples of how those who are neither wholly male nor wholly female are sometimes valued by their cultures rather than criticized by them. Bibliography lists 2 sources.
3 pages (~225 words per page)
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these gender reversals serve, however, can vary according to the particular culture. The purpose can also be astoundingly similar between even the most diverse of cultures. We have
only to consider certain indigenous cultures of North America and Africa to affirm this contention. Certain Native American cultures, for example, actually value gender reversal in much the same
way that certain indigenous African cultures value this phenomena. Despite prevalent beliefs to the contrary that dominated theories until only recently, neither biological
characteristics nor sexual preference play a primary role in self identity (Ramet, 1996). Just as importantly, gender ambiguity is not an assurance of poor social attainment. These are,
in fact, important points when considering what purpose gender reversal could possibly serve. Ramet (1996) observes, for example, that among Native American cultures gender-ambiguous individuals have actually attained high
social status in some cases. Some of the Plains tribes have the berdaches, those so-called backward people that reverse not just their genders but other day-to-day aspects of their
lives as a matter of choice. There are similar examples of gender reversal among several of the Central American and South American Native groups as well.
For many indigenous cultutes, in fact, gender-reversed individuals have played important roles as ceremonial leaders and even as diplomats to other cultures (Ramet, 1996).
The same could be said of certain indigenous African cultures. Consider, for example, the Azande tribe of Africa. There too gender reversal can be valued. Gender
ambiguity, a phenomena Ramet (1996) actually prefers to refer to as gender reversal, was often embraced in these cultures precisely because of the ambiguity. Gender ambiguity was perceived by