Posts Tagged ‘matrilineal socieities’

This One’s for the Girls

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Hello, y’all.

Let me start off with a personal plug: there is a lot of really rich and fruitful discussion going on in previous posts about The Zuni Man-Woman. Please keep up this creative and scholarly energy for class today when Brittany and I talk to y’all about the book! =] I am really curious to see where our discussion will take us today!

All right, moving on…

Something that struck me as heartening about this book (and about Zuni society as a whole) was the fact that it is matrilineal. Though the concept of matrilineal societies isn’t exactly new to me, I guess I had never thought about all of their different implications. I was astonished and gladdened by Roscoe’s description of how women function both in and out of their families: how it is considered both normal (and expected) for women to choose their sexual partners as they wish, how children are considered legitimate no matter what because the parentage of the father is not “necessary” to know, and about how women are always grounded within their families and are not dependent on their husband’s family line. Roscoe puts it best when he says that “Married, divorced, or single, women always had a home,” (20) a concept that is both alien to Anglo-Saxon history and is comforting to our 21st-century feminist minds.

Additionally—and on a less serious note—did anyone else get a kick out of the Zuni method of divorcing a husband? It’s pretty funny:

“To divorce a husband, a woman simply set his possessions out on the doorstep. ‘When he comes home in the evening,’ Ruth Benedict explained, ‘he sees the little bundle, picks it up and cries, and returns with it to his mother’s house. He and his family weep and are regarded as unfortunate’” (20).

This definitely brought me right back to Beyonce:

Anyway, I’ll leave this post at that, but there is a lot more to be talked about and I hope our in-class dialogue proves as interesting as these posts have been!