Relative Status of Men and Women

Ceremonially, the Canela place high value on certain of their young of both sexes. They compare the ceremonially high girls (the we?teā€”aged 6 to 12) to beauty queens (reinas) in the Brazilian world. Similarly, the young male ceremonial chiefs (me ho?pa?hi and tamhak) receive deference, but command nothing. However, the mere arrival and presence of such honored persons of either sex before individuals or groups in conflict influenced them to stop their hostility and resolve their problems quickly out of respect.

The elders, men, award artifacts of honor to the best young festival performers of both sexes. They also assigned most girls, ages 12-14, to serve as girl associates to men's societies, involving them in sequential sex. Thus, older men controlled the development of the sexuality of young women to a considerable extent. Clearly, great status accrued in these ways to older men.

Economically, at the family hearth level, the man in the role of the senior father-in-law (payket) is likely to dominate his sons-in-law (me ipiyoye) in determining what they do each day. The women of this hearth group, all close kin, clearly dominate their junior married-in husbands, (me iwawe), but they may or may not dominate the senior male by the time he is a grandfather.

In kin-group matters, women dominate the domestic scene for food preparation and distribution and for simple childcare, but for questions affecting the kin group as a whole, the women's brothers, uncles, or great uncles determine most matters.

The Canela do not limit rights to important material resources to either gender. Economic commodities pass freely between the sexes. Fruits of the labor of either sex pass to the other one.

These days, the status of a young married man has risen because he can threaten to divorce his wife, and he does so increasingly.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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