Men as Women, Women as Men: Changing Gender in Native American Cultures

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University of Texas Press, 1998 - Social Science - 398 pages
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As contemporary Native and non-Native Americans explore various forms of "gender bending" and gay and lesbian identities, interest has grown in "berdaches," the womanly men and manly women who existed in many Native American tribal cultures. Yet attempts to find current role models in these historical figures sometimes distort and oversimplify the historical realities.

This book provides an objective, comprehensive study of Native American women-men and men-women across many tribal cultures and an extended time span. Sabine Lang explores such topics as their religious and secular roles; the relation of the roles of women-men and men-women to the roles of women and men in their respective societies; the ways in which gender-role change was carried out, legitimized, and explained in Native American cultures; the widely differing attitudes toward women-men and men-women in tribal cultures; and the role of these figures in Native mythology. Lang's findings challenge the apparent gender equality of the "berdache" institution, as well as the supposed universality of concepts such as homosexuality.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Missionaries and Traders Physicians and Ethnologists
17
TwentiethCentury Research
26
Gender Identity Gender Role and Gender Status
47
PART TWO Gender Role Change by Males
57
CrossDressing and Mixed Gender Roles
59
CrossDressing and the Feminine Gender Role
91
Feminine Activities Without CrossDressing no CHAPTERS The Imitation of Femininity and Intersexuality
128
PART THREE Gender Role Change by Females
259
CrossDressing and Mixed Gender Roles
261
MenWomen in Masculine Occupations
268
Status Relationships and Entrance Rituals of MenWomen
286
Warrior Women and ManlyHearted Women
303
PART FOUR The Cultural Context of Gender Role Change
309
Attitudes Toward WomenMen and MenWomen
311
Gender Role Change and Homosexuality
323

WomenMen as Shamans Medicine Persons and Healers
151
Other Specialized Occupations of WomenMen
169
Partner Relationships and Sexuality
185
2 Entrance into the Status of WomanMan
218
Ideology and Reality
241
Gender Role Change in Native American Oral Traditions
331
Conclusion
342
References
355
Index
380
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About the author (1998)

Sabine Lang is an independent scholar who holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hamburg. She is the coeditor of Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality.

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