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Student Question About Third Gender

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  • Nikki Ives
    Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it.  Here is her question: Do
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 28, 2013
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      Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it.  Here is her question:


      "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man), and “’manly-hearted woman”’ (biological woman) (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but not “’manly-hearted women”’ and/or vice versa; also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies with alternative genders?"

      I don't really know much about Native American culture and third gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you.  Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.

      Any thoughts?


      Thanks!
      Nikki


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Deborah Shepherd
      Hello, Nikki Here’s a very different example. Viking scholars working with Old Norse literature surmise that females who were still maidens could adopt
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 28, 2013
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        Hello, Nikki



        Here’s a very different example. Viking scholars working with Old Norse literature surmise that females who were still maidens could adopt masculine behaviors. The suggested reason for this is that the Norse believed in the inheritance of characteristics such as valor and fighting skill. If a warrior had no son, it would be possible for his daughter to substitute as a son until she married. Then she would be required to behave and dress as a woman. However, since she had been a virtual son for a period of time, she would then be able to pass down her father’s heroic qualities to her son. This interpretation has been offered as an explanation for Anglo-Saxon weapon burials where DNA has proven that the deceased was a female.



        Here are some sources:



        Clover, Carol

        1986 “Maiden Warriors and Other Sons,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 85 (1): 35-49.

        Dommasnes, Liv Helga

        1991 “Women, Kinship, and the Basis of Power in the Norwegian Viking Age” IN Social Approaches to Viking Studies, ed., Ross Samson. Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 65-73.





        I have my own paper on the subject (1998) posted online:

        http://www.academia.edu/456066/The_Elusive_Warrior_Maiden_Tradition_Bearing_Weapons_In_Anglo-Saxon_Society



        Deborah Shepherd





        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nikki Ives
        Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:29 PM
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender





        Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is her question:

        "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man), and “’manly-hearted woman”’ (biological woman) (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but not “’manly-hearted women”’ and/or vice versa; also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies with alternative genders?"

        I don't really know much about Native American culture and third gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you. Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.

        Any thoughts?

        Thanks!
        Nikki

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Anthropmor
        One of the points that ( I believe) Sherry Ortner had made was that although there was a lower status, there was an official status - that is, there was a
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 29, 2013
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          One of the points that ( I believe) Sherry Ortner had made was that although there was a lower status, there was an official status - that is, there was a place for the people who did not quite fit into the 2 big gender assignments.
          Hjiras, Xaniths, beardaches, etc - going from Asia, the pacific and into the US Southwest, have something like genders 3-5 available to them.
          The nature of the european explorers who reported on the early contact situation did not clarify a lot of this; they quickly wrote them off as homosexuals and /or then ignored them.
          I think there is a great deal of missing information on this topic.
          Mike Pavlik



          -----Original Message-----
          From: Deborah Shepherd <shephdj@...>
          To: SACC-L <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sun, Apr 28, 2013 4:17 pm
          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender




          Hello, Nikki

          Here’s a very different example. Viking scholars working with Old Norse literature surmise that females who were still maidens could adopt masculine behaviors. The suggested reason for this is that the Norse believed in the inheritance of characteristics such as valor and fighting skill. If a warrior had no son, it would be possible for his daughter to substitute as a son until she married. Then she would be required to behave and dress as a woman. However, since she had been a virtual son for a period of time, she would then be able to pass down her father’s heroic qualities to her son. This interpretation has been offered as an explanation for Anglo-Saxon weapon burials where DNA has proven that the deceased was a female.

          Here are some sources:

          Clover, Carol

          1986 “Maiden Warriors and Other Sons,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 85 (1): 35-49.

          Dommasnes, Liv Helga

          1991 “Women, Kinship, and the Basis of Power in the Norwegian Viking Age” IN Social Approaches to Viking Studies, ed., Ross Samson. Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 65-73.

          I have my own paper on the subject (1998) posted online:

          http://www.academia.edu/456066/The_Elusive_Warrior_Maiden_Tradition_Bearing_Weapons_In_Anglo-Saxon_Society

          Deborah Shepherd

          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nikki Ives
          Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:29 PM
          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender

          Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is her question:

          "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man), and “’manly-hearted woman”’ (biological woman) (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but not “’manly-hearted women”’ and/or vice versa; also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies with alternative genders?"

          I don't really know much about Native American culture and third gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you. Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.

          Any thoughts?

          Thanks!
          Nikki

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Dorothy Davis
          Thanks Deborah, The key seems to be being nulliparous...no kids. like the Cheyenne Manly hearted Women . ... [Non-text portions of this message have been
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 29, 2013
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            Thanks Deborah,
            The key seems to be being nulliparous...no kids. like the Cheyenne "Manly
            hearted Women".


            On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM, Deborah Shepherd <shephdj@...> wrote:

            > **
            >
            >
            > Hello, Nikki
            >
            > Here�s a very different example. Viking scholars working with Old Norse
            > literature surmise that females who were still maidens could adopt
            > masculine behaviors. The suggested reason for this is that the Norse
            > believed in the inheritance of characteristics such as valor and fighting
            > skill. If a warrior had no son, it would be possible for his daughter to
            > substitute as a son until she married. Then she would be required to behave
            > and dress as a woman. However, since she had been a virtual son for a
            > period of time, she would then be able to pass down her father�s heroic
            > qualities to her son. This interpretation has been offered as an
            > explanation for Anglo-Saxon weapon burials where DNA has proven that the
            > deceased was a female.
            >
            > Here are some sources:
            >
            > Clover, Carol
            >
            > 1986 �Maiden Warriors and Other Sons,� Journal of English and Germanic
            > Philology 85 (1): 35-49.
            >
            > Dommasnes, Liv Helga
            >
            > 1991 �Women, Kinship, and the Basis of Power in the Norwegian Viking Age�
            > IN Social Approaches to Viking Studies, ed., Ross Samson. Glasgow: Cruithne
            > Press, 65-73.
            >
            > I have my own paper on the subject (1998) posted online:
            >
            >
            > http://www.academia.edu/456066/The_Elusive_Warrior_Maiden_Tradition_Bearing_Weapons_In_Anglo-Saxon_Society
            >
            > Deborah Shepherd
            >
            > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            > Nikki Ives
            > Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:29 PM
            > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender
            >
            > Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good
            > question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is her
            > question:
            >
            > "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more
            > towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over
            > another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American
            > societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man),
            > and ��manly-hearted woman�� (biological woman) (Kottak 2012: 151). What I
            > am wondering is that, are there Native American societies who recognize and
            > respect berdaches as a gender but not ��manly-hearted women�� and/or vice
            > versa; also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies
            > with alternative genders?"
            >
            > I don't really know much about Native American culture and third gender
            > attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work with Native
            > American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you. Also, Laura - I
            > thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.
            >
            > Any thoughts?
            >
            > Thanks!
            > Nikki
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Laura Gonzalez
            Hey Nikki, That is a good question. I love when students make me think. I m by no means an expert on either hijras or Native American two-spirits (their
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 29, 2013
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              Hey Nikki,

              That is a good question. I love when students make me think.

              I'm by no means an expert on either hijras or Native American "two-spirits" (their preferred self-identifier). I did read a more recent ethnographic book (which I can't find right now�) on modern Native two-spirit culture and their resistance to the swinging homosexual lifestyle of bars and hooking up -- a third-gender struggling to maintain/recapture their identity in a modern Western world that only recognizes two genders. This book only dealt with biological males who take on a two-spirit identity. There wasn't any focus on biological females. The lack of focus could have been just this particular study, or it could be that since the title "two-spirit" speaks mostly to this particular population, females with "manly hearts" weren't addressed.

              Another book which is in the stack of India books by my bed is Serena Nanda's "Neither Man nor Woman," about the hijras. Since I haven't read it yet, ahem, I won't comment on what she has to say, but I am really looking forward to reading it. In my field experience and in what I've read before about hijras, again, I haven't come across data on females. I didn't meet any hijras who appear to be intersexed but with primarily female chromosomes (what I mean is to say who appeared to be primarily female� funny how it's difficult to find the terms to talk about this correctly�). All hijras that I'm familiar with both in reading and in India appear to be predominantly male, either intersex with mostly male chromosomes, or males with gender identity conflicts.

              Hope this helps, Nikki.

              Laura

              On Apr 28, 2013, at 12:29 PM, Nikki Ives wrote:

              Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is her question:

              "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man), and ��manly-hearted woman�� (biological woman) (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but not ��manly-hearted women�� and/or vice versa; also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies with alternative genders?"

              I don't really know much about Native American culture and third gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you. Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.

              Any thoughts?

              Thanks!
              Nikki

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mim.
              Thought I d throw my two cents in on this, even though I am not an expert on the topic by any means ;0) Best answer to the question from my perspective: Well
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 29, 2013
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                Thought I'd throw my two cents in on this, even though I am not an
                expert on the topic by any means ;0)
                Best answer to the question from my perspective: "Well it depends on the
                specific identification of alternative genders and their definitions by
                the individual societies that recognize alternative genders." Even
                American and other Western cultures have recognized alternative genders
                that although have not been completely codified into legislative
                recognition, are recognized socially, at least to some degree. This is
                why we have terms like transgender, transvestite, androgynous, "Butch,"
                "Femme," etc. It is important to consider that even if an
                identification of a gendered type is not legitimized, it may often have
                some altern role within the society, contributing to cultural
                dissonance, but still necessarily a part of the cultural scope of
                possibilities.
                In some Native American cultures, each alternative classification was
                its own gendered type (for instance, the term Berdache was not applied
                to transgender or transvestite females, and in fact was a French term to
                accommodate a misinterpretation of alternative gender of certain
                biological males who had different social and sexual roles than other
                biological males). Gender is a fluid construct, not a rigid one, and
                should only be apply to socio-cultural roles and tasks engendered by the
                culture of study. Increasingly we are learning that the assignment of
                sex is more fluid than was once thought, often based on gender
                stereotypes, not on biological facts, like hormone production,
                phenotypical presentation, and chromosomal assignment (at least until
                recently - point in case, how many of us know where we fit into the
                norms of what we have assumed our biological sex to be without having
                detailed tests of said factors?).
                I could go on, but nobody wants this, I'm sure ;) Instead, here are
                some links to review and consider:
                http://www.socqrl.niu.edu/forest/SOCI454/Berdache.html
                <http://www.socqrl.niu.edu/forest/SOCI454/Berdache.html>
                http://www.old.li.suu.edu/library/circulation/Dean/anth1010edRoscoe1988F\
                all11.pdf
                <http://www.old.li.suu.edu/library/circulation/Dean/anth1010edRoscoe1988\
                Fall11.pdf>
                http://soar.wichita.edu/bitstream/handle/10057/1786/LAJ_16.1_p35-45..pdf\
                ?sequence=1
                <http://soar.wichita.edu/bitstream/handle/10057/1786/LAJ_16.1_p35-45..pd\
                f?sequence=1>
                http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_social_history/summary/v035/35.3\
                trexler.html
                <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_social_history/summary/v035/35.\
                3trexler.html>
                http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/lanmen
                <http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/lanmen>
                http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/97crs4ns9780252066450.html
                <http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/97crs4ns9780252066450.html\
                >
                https://admin.vancouver.wsu.edu/sites/admin.vancouver.wsu.edu/files/two-\
                spirits-discussion.pdf
                <https://admin.vancouver.wsu.edu/sites/admin.vancouver.wsu.edu/files/two\
                -spirits-discussion.pdf>

                This is, as they say, a can of worms type of subject. And could easily
                be expanded to other non-Native American Non-Western cultures for
                discussion (as our colleagues have already offered). Sometimes it is
                not the gender that is the question, but rather the roles associated
                with the gender.
                Mim. Roeder, M.A.AnthropologyButte Community College

                --- In SACC-L@yahoogroups.com, Nikki Ives wrote:
                >
                > Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good
                question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is
                her question:
                >
                >
                > "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more
                towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex, over
                another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native American
                societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches (biological man),
                and “’manly-hearted woman”’ (biological woman)
                (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native
                American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but
                not “’manly-hearted women”’ and/or vice versa;
                also, does this type of discrimination occur among other societies with
                alternative genders?"
                >
                > I don't really know much about Native American culture and third
                gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work
                with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you.Â
                Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.
                >
                > Any thoughts?
                >
                >
                > Thanks!
                > Nikki
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Deborah Shepherd
                That s very true. The contrast of wife or mother versus maiden seems more important than biological male versus female. ... From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 29, 2013
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                  That's very true. The contrast of "wife" or "mother" versus "maiden" seems
                  more important than biological male versus female.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  Dorothy Davis
                  Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 8:53 AM
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender

                  Thanks Deborah,
                  The key seems to be being nulliparous...no kids. like the Cheyenne "Manly
                  hearted Women".


                  On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM, Deborah Shepherd <shephdj@...> wrote:

                  > **
                  >
                  >
                  > Hello, Nikki
                  >
                  > Here's a very different example. Viking scholars working with Old
                  > Norse literature surmise that females who were still maidens could
                  > adopt masculine behaviors. The suggested reason for this is that the
                  > Norse believed in the inheritance of characteristics such as valor and
                  > fighting skill. If a warrior had no son, it would be possible for his
                  > daughter to substitute as a son until she married. Then she would be
                  > required to behave and dress as a woman. However, since she had been a
                  > virtual son for a period of time, she would then be able to pass down
                  > her father's heroic qualities to her son. This interpretation has been
                  > offered as an explanation for Anglo-Saxon weapon burials where DNA has
                  > proven that the deceased was a female.
                  >
                  > Here are some sources:
                  >
                  > Clover, Carol
                  >
                  > 1986 "Maiden Warriors and Other Sons," Journal of English and Germanic
                  > Philology 85 (1): 35-49.
                  >
                  > Dommasnes, Liv Helga
                  >
                  > 1991 "Women, Kinship, and the Basis of Power in the Norwegian Viking Age"
                  > IN Social Approaches to Viking Studies, ed., Ross Samson. Glasgow:
                  > Cruithne Press, 65-73.
                  >
                  > I have my own paper on the subject (1998) posted online:
                  >
                  >
                  > http://www.academia.edu/456066/The_Elusive_Warrior_Maiden_Tradition_Be
                  > aring_Weapons_In_Anglo-Saxon_Society
                  >
                  > Deborah Shepherd
                  >
                  > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  > Of Nikki Ives
                  > Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:29 PM
                  > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [SACC-L] Student Question About Third Gender
                  >
                  > Hello Everyone! A student in my cultural online class has asked a good
                  > question and I told her I would ask my colleagues about it. Here is
                  > her
                  > question:
                  >
                  > "Do cultures and societies that have a third-gender, tend to lean more
                  > towards acceptance of an alternative gender for one biological sex,
                  > over another? For example, the text mentioned that some Native
                  > American societies have alternative genders, known as berdaches
                  > (biological man), and "'manly-hearted woman"' (biological woman)
                  > (Kottak 2012: 151). What I am wondering is that, are there Native
                  > American societies who recognize and respect berdaches as a gender but
                  > not "'manly-hearted women"' and/or vice versa; also, does this type of
                  > discrimination occur among other societies with alternative genders?"
                  >
                  > I don't really know much about Native American culture and third
                  > gender attitudes but I know many of you have done a great deal of work
                  > with Native American cultures, so I thought I'd bring this to you.
                  > Also, Laura - I thought of you and your blog posts about hijras.
                  >
                  > Any thoughts?
                  >
                  > Thanks!
                  > Nikki
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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