Puberty and Adolescence

As indicated above, in most parts of Igboland initiation rituals that marked the transition from child to adult (usually occurring at or shortly after puberty) have been abandoned in the wake of formal education and conversion to Christianity. Related to the growing duration of time between puberty and marriage, the concept of adolescence seems to be of recent origin in Igboland (Ottenberg, 1989). Though gendered differences in appearance and behavior are apparent in childhood, they are more significantly marked after puberty. As young people's bodies develop and become more sexually dimorphic, cultural inscriptions of gender difference are also made more elaborate. In adolescence, relations between males and females become obviously stylized in terms of sexuality, and this emphasis on sexuality seems to be part of a process that fixes gender more rigidly. Interestingly, in many secondary schools sexual maturation is marked by relaxed rules of dress and hairstyle. For example, as they reach senior secondary school (usually around age 16), boys are allowed to wear long trousers (instead of short trousers) and girls are allowed to grow their hair.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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