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    Reading Analysis: Body Ritual among the Nacirema Essay

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    Reading Analysis: Body Ritual among the Nacirema

    Written from an about amusing point of view, Horace Miner’s dissection of the American civilization was certainly a tough pill to get down for many. It is about like looking at one’s contemplation in a amusing mirror and non believing it is the same individual. Although really witty it is besides really stating of what Americans value the most and that is pecuniary points and unachievable physical expressions ; sometimes even traveling to extreme steps to accomplish these things.

    Opening his paper Miner explains that the people of the Nacirema are non pleased with their physical visual aspects and that they do many befog things to change their expressions. Miner’s account of a modus operandi they go through every twenty-four hours is pinpoint accurate. He explains that the public toilet is a shrine with a charming box that hides potions and medical specialties, and that the sink is a fountain of holy H2O ( Miner p. 503 ) . He refers to tooth doctors as “holy oral cavity men” because of the Nacirema’s compulsion with dental hygiene explicating precisely what these work forces do and demoing the great painful lengths that the Nacirema go through to affect one another. Ultimately he says is a waste of clip because the dentitions finally end up disintegrating even after all the attention for them. A visit to one of these sanctums mouth work forces is described as an dispossession to free the oral cavity of immorality ( Miner p.505 ) . The clip the people of this civilization pass on their oral cavity is seen as a waste of clip but it besides shows the great lengths of hurting and torment they go through in the name of amour propre.

    Every male knows how tormenting shaving their face is, but imagine to an foreigner what this ritual must look like. Miner uses the footings lacerating and grating to explicate the rite that the work forces of the Nacirema go through daily ( Miner p. 505 ) . A Perm is a hairstyle which is non as popular today as it one time was and is explained merely as adult females baking their caputs in little ovens ( Miner p. 505 ) . He uses the word sadists throughout his paper to explicate the Nacirema because of the repeated hurting they put themselves through to achieve desirable expressions and is evidently unfathomable to the civilization he comes from.

    The most revealing of the Nacirema’s rites are their visits to the temple referred to as a latipso or infirmary spelled backwards. He explains that some of these ceremonials are similar to the 1s performed by the holy oral cavity work forces but sometimes these work forces use charming wands to execute their trade ( Miner p. 505 ) . He says that if they can afford a visit to one of these temples that most of them are more than willing to undergo one of these painful purifications to free themselves of illnesss and sometimes even put on the lining their lives ( Miner p. 505 ) . Even though it has been found that these ceremonials sometimes do non relieve clients, they do non lose religion and will return clip and clip once more to these temples.

    The people of this civilization do many odd things to look desirable to another person’s criterions. Miner’s surveies found that fleshy people held a ritual where they would fast and that there were ritual banquets held for thin people ( Miner p. 505 ) . Even funnier than that is how he sees breast augmentation or decrease which is besides seen as ritual by these people ; which has about become a rite of transition for adult females displeased with their organic structures. He says that adult females with that have developed big chests will allow work forces see them for a fee and this would be his account of adult females that work at gentlemen cabarets ( Miner p. 505 ) . Although his accounts are really amusing they are surely true of the behaviour exhibited by Americans every twenty-four hours and possibly the outlooks that they have set for one another excessive and bizarre.

    Although Miner’s reading could be seen as amusing and capricious he manages to turn out a great point about Americans without being rough. Americans will travel to extreme steps to look great and non merely for themselves but to affect other Americans. They will endure painful experiences because that is what they supposed to make to belong to the norm. A civilization of uneven people which will make everything and anything to accomplish higher societal position along with desirable physical expressions set by another’s criterions ; the Nacirema.


    Miner, Horace. “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.”American Anthropologist,503-507, no.3 ( 1956 ) : hypertext transfer protocol: // sici=00027294 % 28195606 % 292 % 3A58 % 3A3 % 3C503 % 3ABRATN % 3E2.0.CO % 3B2-Y

    Germain Guerrero

    ANT 101

    Prof. Lee

    14 April 2014

    Reading Analysis: When Brothers Share a Wife

    In the Tibetan civilization it is non an uncommon thing to see different types of matrimonies which include monogamy polygyny and fraternal polyandry. Polyandry is one of the most popular amongst the people of Tibet and has become more than merely a tradition passed down from one coevals to the following. It has become a agency of subsistence for the people of Tibet because it has helped maintain wealth in many of these households without holding to divide either the household of belongings up and maintaining wealth amongst brothers that participate in polyandry. Although it may look odd to many western civilizations to see one adult female married to three or more brothers for whatever the logical thinking may be ; they have managed to do it work to their benefit.

    In the United States monogamousness is the most common signifier of matrimony and so it may look unusual to happen out there are civilizations that allow for brothers to portion a married woman. Most of their point of positions are ethnocentric and can skew the true ground why these things have become common in the states that pattern this signifier of matrimony. There are multiple false grounds why this pattern is common in Tibet. One of those false grounds is that there is a deficiency of females due to infanticide, and a deficiency of nutrient because of the high lift with hapless evidences for agribusiness ; so it seems as if polyandry is the reply to their sufferings ( Goldstein p. 2 ) . Both of these grounds were proven to hold been false by Goldstein ; he states there is no cogent evidence that there is a deficit of females and that the land may be rough for agribusiness it is non the ground for polyandry being popular in Tibet ( Goldstein p. 3 ) . If anything Goldstein points out that there are more than adequate adult females for every male to get married and in 1974 there were 60 females to 53 males in the 15 to 35 age scope ( Goldstein p. 3 ) . This proves that there are more than adequate adult females to fulfill the male population in monogamous relationships.

    In the United States most people have ne’er had a job with agribusiness. Most people could merely walk into a food market shop and purchase anything they desire, so those jobs have ne’er affected the people of America. A likely ground for polyandry in Tibet is that it reduces population growing which in bend reduces the force per unit area on resources ( Goldstein p. 3 ) . Polyandry so is seen as a executable solution to the strain put on the few resources that they do have ; nutrient being the major resource. Many states have seen their population spiral out of control but non Tibet. As it is shown in the graph on page 2, by the clip the 3rd coevals in a monogamous relationship reaches its full potency there are 27 matrimonies which will treble every coevals. On the other manus the 3rd coevals of the polyandry matrimony stayed the same and will go on to make so every coevals therefore commanding population growing ( Goldstein p. 2 ) .

    Even though that ground is a likely ground it is non the existent ground why Tibetans choose this signifier of matrimony. Goldstein believes that brothers choose polyandry because of the wealth the brothers inherit from it. He states that brother can anticipate to maintain a higher criterion of life with entree to the family’s land and animate beings ( Goldstein p. 3 ) . Along with land and animate beings they besides inherit apparels and gems along with many other things of high value. They will hold less duties and have to work a batch less than a individual who marries monogamously, because there will be a group of brothers to assist out with the work burden. For case while the married woman is at place taking attention of the household fields the three brothers could be off working assorted occupations such as one brother could be taking attention of the animate beings. Another brother could work the lord’s corvee, a signifier of bondage, and the other brother could be involved in trade ( Goldstein p.4 ) . This would maximise the family’s end product which finally trumps what a monogamous relationship could of all time carry through.

    Many Tibetans have chosen to get married polyandrous for many grounds. One of the popular beliefs remains largely true and that it is done as a agency of endurance, although that is non the lone ground why they do it. It has helped maintain wealth within the household without holding to divide the household or the land apart. As uneven as polyandry seems, seeing one adult female that chooses to get married three or more brothers ; it has worked out good for the people of Tibet.


    Goldstein, Malvyn. C. , “When Brothers Share a Wife.”Natural History.( 1987 ) 1-4.

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