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Re: Student Question About Third Gender

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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