Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ponderings of a manner unidentifiable

Ladies, gentlemen, hermaphrodites, and non-identifiables, welcome! One hopes that this blog may be of interest to some of you, and if not then I should imagine that you shall find your interests elsewhere.

So, there are many things in life that intrigue me. Most of all, perhaps, is anything relating to anthropology. The number of books that I own that ponder the way in which people act/do/think certain things will require a small truck should I ever decide to move them. One thing that caught my interest recently is that of the realm of the different status awarded to males and females. In the modern, twentieth-century Western society we often think that there is no differential between a man and a woman, save for the obvious biological things and some smaller concepts (talking on a broad scale here). However, if we travel further east, or even back in time, we realize just how segregated life can be.

It has been something which in my studies has cropped up a lot - the status and 'value' of boys versus girls. It was actually a radio talk show that highlighted an area which I had never heard of before - the devadasi. In India, the culture suggests that there is more value placed upon males - they are the ones that generally go and work, support their parents and provide for the family. In this Southern Indian society, the females are not quite so valued. Here they become devadasis - slaves to the goddess of fertility, Yellama. From childhood they are sworn to serve the goddess, to serve in rituals and dance for the goddess. So far, it doesn't sound quite that bad. But when these girls reach puberty, this seemingly idyllic life is changed. It doesn't take a genius to work out how these girls are made to bring in money to the families. Auctioned out to the highest bidders, these girls are refused 'normal' lives where they marry and have a family.

But is it really that different to our way of life in the Western world? We think nothing really of those that go and sell themselves to get by in life, and if you think of it, exploitation of females is somewhat of an everyday occurrance. It is, perhaps, only our desire to not recognize the undesireable aspects of life in what we see everyday, that makes us so shocked at the occurrance of something like this. Which begs the question, what will become of humanity?