The culture of the Cashinahua was studied by Cecilia McCallum in an
attempt to understand the creation of gender and the effects of sociality in
their amazonian culture. She more specifically studied the physical and
symbolic creation of gender within the Cashinahua's culture. McCallum's
personal insight allows readers to have a more indepth look at the
Cashinahua culture which enables one to have a better understanding on
how it compares to the considerably modern western culture.This
information is essential to our class discussions because it gives a more
complete insight into a culture instead of the less explanative versions we
often tend to read in our daily class readings.
McCallum discussed in Gender and Sociality in Amazonia the
physical making of persons. She used the metaphor of cooking for the
birthing process. It is a good way of explaining how the Cashinahua
percieve the process of forming a child. The creation of a child or ba va
according to the Cashinahua occurs due to repeated intercourse. This
theory is quite similar to western culture since we know it occurs due to
repeated intercourse without the use of birth control. What is quite unique
about the Cashinahua is that they have interesting concepts on what a child
is made of, believing that semen, or male blood as it is referred
actual blood make up a baby. Western cultures have of course the biology
to prove the semen and the egg theory for making a child. The Cashinahua
also believe that any man who makes repeated love to a woman while she
is pregnant will be the father of the child even if he is not the biological
one. This could be seen as similar to the process of adoption in
westernized cultures, though a parent may not be a biological one the child
is raised by parents as if it was their own.
Another physical aspect of Cashinahua culture... [continues]
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