Gender Related Social Groups

The social groupings of the island are structured entirely around patrilineal kin relations. The villages are made up almost entirely of households belonging to the same clan, and it is these groupings that make up dance or work parties, which support their chiefs with labor and food, and who perform life ceremonies together. Men gather together to talk in public. There are no organizations or clubs that men join.

Women from related households may sit together outside their houses to weave mats or beat tapa cloth, but organizations such as Mothers' Union and other church groups for women have not succeeded in Tikopia. In part this is due to the kinship structure of the island: intimate talk is inappropriate between mothers and daughters, sisters and female cousins are competitors for husbands, and the household of a married woman is one of female in-laws whom she must address by kin term and not by personal name. That the children of sisters-in-law will be competitors for the land of the patriline also exacerbated a lack of solidarity among females.

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