Indigenous culture there was no such thing as gender. It was an egalitarian society. In many Indigenous cultures the women had important powers. They were the one who made decisions in their household. In addition, gender was not divided because both men and women could become shamans in the culture of the Innu of Northern Quebec and Southern Labrador. Furthermore, when Europeans came in their land, they were surprised to see that women are high in the hierarchy because “gender relations vary from one culture vary to another”. Men and women roles were equally divided, and they were both essential to ensure their survival. In other words, their labour work was divided so that their family or tribe could survive and eat. Moreover, people who are two spirited (masculinity and femininity are in one body) could marry individual from the same sex.
The Indigenous cultures had many differences during colonialism, but now they are coming to be similar. In contemporary Western culture, the notion of gender is slowly being eliminated. In Canada, people are trying to eliminate it and bringing egalitarian ideas like the First Nations. However, there is still a long way to go because women are not totally equal to men. For example, in some jobs, women are not paid as same as men. In addition, another similarity is that Western culture legally accepts the LGBTQ+ community, however they are still some cases where they get discriminated. Furthermore, both Indigenous cultures and contemporary Western culture have sexual autonomy which means that they can have sexual relationships before marriage, chose their spouse and divorce which are all common now. One thing that is different is that women are less included are less included in politics. In the United States most of the ministers are men and the women are minority. In indigenous culture women are allowed to be shamans which is highly respected in their society. In brief, Western culture are becoming similar to Indigenous cultures as the years go by, however there is still some struggle trying to normalize it.
What struck me the most about the Indigenous culture is that they are matrilocal and matrilineal seen in Iroquoian culture. I did not know that it was common for them that a man has to live his house when he marries a woman. I am so used to seeing that the bride moves in with her husband when they get married. Today it happens, but it is not common even in Western culture. In conclusion, we can learn from the Indigenous culture is that in order to live together and peacefully equality must not be absent. Men are just as important in society and in the household as women. In their culture there is no discrimination against people based on their gender. Moreover, gender equality eliminates stereotypical ideologies that Western people have in their minds.
In indigenous culture gender is not categorized. There’s no ideology of women being “inferior” and men being “superior”. Both genders have their own tasks and skills that they are trained from birth to do so. There’s an equal amount of division of tasks to do on the daily. They even accept those who put themselves under the category of “two-spirit”. They also do not have any restrictions in sexual relations before marriage unlike the Europeans. It’s safe to say that they had the society we dream to have today.
The case that makes us similar to them is the idea of equality. The difference is that Western culture took time to realize that women can do more than just cook, clean and take care of their children and yet were the ones who were “civilized” at that time. While the indigenous people were way ahead of them; establishing ground rules to divide the amount of tasks equally between each gender. They never left women out of the picture, women had a big role in decision making as much as the men did in their culture. Indigenous people’s ideology of equality between genders was way ahead of time. Now we wish and hope that, that day will come around.
I didn’t get struck by the way indigenous culture was formed and how they operated amongst themselves, since I have taken anthropology, which mentioned the “two-spirit” and talked a lot about other clans/tribes that are minorities.
We can learn from indigenous people about gender is that each gender has their own strengths and weaknesses. Both can help one another in order to succeed and progress, and for that to happen no one should be stepping on anyone’s toes and no one should be at the top to give orders. Yes they did have a chief, but he/she/ that family gained that status by vote or by helping everyone else. Yet they do not govern their tribe.
According to the Gender and Culture Diversity in the Early Contact Period, it describes how the cultures of both the English and French colonizers and the indigenous colonizers encountered. After reading about the indigenous cultures, I learned about how men hunted and gathered, while women took care of gathering berries, prepping for meals and taking care of the children. Although the work was divided and the men were mostly leaders, women had authority and were respected. Women were also entitled to be Shaman and included into everyday life decisions. On the other hand, European people lived in a different way. Men also did the hunting and gathering while women took care of the family and cooked, but women had no say in anything. There was a hierarchy that men were in charge and that women and children had no choice but to obey the man of the family. The only time a woman would be involved was if a man decided to sell his property, he would have to consult his wife before doing so. Unfortunately, women were kind of put in the background, they would be seen as assistants rather than owners. Ultimately, aboriginal women had great power and European women weren’t allowed to rule their husbands.
Both cultures do relate to our own contemporary Western culture. When comparing the indigenous culture to today, women and men do share equal responsibilities in a household, like cooking, working, cleaning and taking care of children. Women and men can both be owners of a business and both have opinions that are accepted and valued. Unfortunately, not everyone perceives life that way so that’s why the European culture relates to our culture as well. For example, there’s stereotypes of how women should be in the kitchen and shouldn’t work because they aren’t capable of doing so. How women should be silenced and walk behind their husbands, just as the French women did. Even today, men will refuse to cook or clean because they believe it’s a women’s job. There’s no excuse to why it should be considered a “women’s job”, when other cultures have been proving that all genders should be equal.
Lastly, the aspects of indigenous cultures that struck me the most were that the women were seen as, “hyper-sexual” because they weren’t bound to one husband and that they were allowed to experiment sexually before marriage. It upsets me that the European women would trash indigenous people, when in reality it’s what they all should’ve been routing for. It’s ridiculous how many innocent people from European cultures have been forced into marriage without any love ties, therefore I find it rather strange that they wouldn’t want that for themselves. I think that a choice to experiment sexually before marriage and the right to divorce should’ve been less frowned upon by European women because it could’ve led to a place where all genders are equal.
By: Julianna Noto
During the past few years, the industry of rap music has sky rocketed and there has become more and more of a following towards this type of music. Rap music carries a catchy beat and most of the time, expresses an individual’s feelings. Although this genre of music is widely known and enjoyed, it doesn’t hide the fact that it also delivers extremely inappropriate and degrading context towards women. Many rap songs, including the ones I listen to, give out a very harsh and humiliating message towards women which is trying to belittle and criticize their worth and individual capacities.
The lyrics of these songs put an image on women, stating that they are vulnerable, fragile, dependant and follow whatever the men tell them to do or say. It has gotten to the point where the words said in certain songs can make many of us women feel uncomfortable and very disrespected. It seems that many rap artists categorize women as objects rather than opinionated human beings which is very wrong, yet nobody seems to take action on the arrogant comments expressed in the lyrics. In a post published in 2004, they present a certain part of the lyrics in one of Ludacris’ songs, that says “Move bitch get out the way, get out the way bitch, get out the way.” This language is way out of the boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed and on top of that, the lyrics previously shown is nothing close to the worst of what’s out there.
After analyzing many song lyrics, I recognized that male and women rappers both have completely different points that they are trying to put across to us listeners. Many women rappers such as Cardi B and Nicki Minaj have no interest in attacking or judging men but rather focus on empowering women and give them a voice where women didn’t have one originally. By these women rappers speaking up, it opens a door to more female rappers who are trying to portray the same message.
The document on Aboriginal and Europeans talks about the gender relations in each of their societies. As for Indigenous people, their ways of distributing power was very just and egalitarian. In their society, the male and women tasks were very different but had an equal value for contributing to their survival. For example, while men did the hunting, the women cleaned the meat and prepared the meals. Women in aboriginal societies were also eligible to important decision making such as trade decisions, distribution of food etc.…; they also shared the power with the men to be a Shaman. Each aboriginal society respected and viewed women as having equal power and domination as men. They acknowledge that the jobs done by the women are crucial to their survival which is why a women’s role is their society is very important. They even included a two-spirit gender identity role in certain indigenous societies. It is the accommodation of masculine and feminine traits in one body, each aboriginal society expresses this identity in different ways. Overall, men were not distinctly seen as more powerful in Indigenous societies; women shared power with the men and were seen as equally essential to their everyday lives.
Gender relations in indigenous societies are quite similar to todays society. I might even say that a women’s role in their society was more appreciated in their culture then in todays contemporary world. From indigenous cultures, I can gather that todays view on women roles and their view on women roles both show supportive recognition to a women’s abilities and contributions to society. Women have the right to important decisions and positions as well as men do. The difference to me seems that women in their culture didn’t have to fight for justice between the sexes because their jobs were already seen as equally valued. In todays society, we seem to have adopted a more European view on women’s roles because although we have had a great increase in the support of women’s power, we still had to fight a long time for our rights to equality. Indigenous women were not all seen as equal to men but for the most part both genders shared equal status. While reading the document, I was surprised by the power women had in indigenous cultures. I figured back in those times that all women were seen as less; I appreciated the fact that a women’s role could be equally valued and recognized as those of the men. Women in aboriginal cultures worked hard, as well as the men did, and a society that can view women as equal to men shows strength, decency and intelligence.