Leisure Recreation and the Arts

If, by leisure time, we refer to activities that do not result in material products such as food, then men have considerably more leisure than women. Men often congregate in the men's house, sometimes just to laze in the shade and nap, or to chat about the day's events. Men, too, much more than women, discuss politics, recount myths, plan ritual, and so forth, typically in the men's house. In this respect, adult leisure is gendered.

Still, neither men nor women, in my assessment, are so burdened with daily toil that they are unable to enjoy at least some daily leisure. Both men and women socialize with friends—who, in this society, are kin. Men often socialize during collective work efforts—say, hewing a large canoe. Women do likewise while engaged in productive activity. Hence, a group of women might individually prepare reeds for basketry while chatting about village events.

Women may sing during the day, sometimes dirges to deceased kin. Men may blow flutes during communal labor. In the main, though, music and dancing is confined to ritual, both traditional and Christian. Both men and women sing during "prayer meetings," but men alone play musical instruments.

There is another gendered dimension to art. Ritual carvings and masks, when decorated for display, are wooden "bone," which directly recalls the paternal contribution to conception. The floral ornamentation is female "skin," which derives from the mother's blood. Paint colors are also gendered. Black evokes masculine power. White symbolizes semen. Red recalls menstrual blood or blood shed during warfare, which is masculine. Yellow is the color of birds and femininity.

Tobacco and betel nut are currently used by both men and women. Traditionally, some say, these substances were utilized mainly by men. Beverage alcohol is consumed by men with very few exceptions, and then typically during the honorific naven celebration when women assume the demeanor of men.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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