Gender In Samoa By: Angkor-LeakkhnaRos, Spencer Leippi, Kristen Hameluck, Andrew Fitzsimmons, ChantelWeinmeister, and Justin Nenson
Males in Samoa http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm112/funkeecreations/SAMOAN-TATTOO.jpg http://brentstephensmith.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/samoa.jpg
Timelinefor Samoan Males At the age of 3-4 boys and girls start to assume different responsibilities, but boys are given more free time for play. At 8 years boys are circumcised. By 14 or 15 boys are entered into the society of untitled males (aumaga). Around the age of 25 males marry. http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/gender/adoption/images/samoa3c.jpg
The Matai A Matai is a titled man who is responsible for the behavior and welfare of his family. Titles are given through election by the entire extended family who are 16 years or older. To be elected the male must show qualities of leadership and worthiness. It is also advantageous if the previous title holder was your father and you are the eldest son. http://1samoana.com/about-samoa/files/2010/08/matai.png
The Matai’s Responsibilities The Matai’s responsibilities include: supporting his family economically and creating wealth for them settling disputes promoting religious activity supervise the family land representing the family in the village council http://pacificeye.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/photo-2-paramount-matai-tafua-maluelue-tafua-chairs-meeting-of-village-council-village-mayor-tiumali-amakesi-in-striped-jersey.jpg
Male Sexuality Boys engage in sexual acts with each other, but this is seen as a form of playing. Soon they begin to have sex with women, and are given much more freedom than girls. Boys were expected to have sex with many different women because this was a sign of their vitality and of their masculinity. If a boy did not, he would be called a fa’fafine.
Male Sexuality Continued Older men would prefer to marry younger women in order to keep their vitality. Brothers were responsible for the protection of their sister’s “purity” and for her protection. His responsibilities were then passed on to his sister’s husband when she married. http://i660.photobucket.com/albums/uu324/684LYFE/samoan_bride_and_groom_small.jpg
Women in Samoa http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/image/?imageId=images-23397&profile=access http://www.princesstui.ws/images/samoa_village_life/motherdaughter.jpg
Traditional Roles in the Home Traditionally women took a large role in completing the house work. This work was left to women because were not as well educated as men. Women were the primary caregivers. Women would cook unless it involved directly cooking over a fire. They would weave floor mats, finer sleeping mats, and very fine togas. http://www.janeresture.com/samoa_postcards10/Pago%20Pago,Samoa%20..jpg
Other Tasks for Samoan Women Samoan women were to remove weeds from around the home. Traditionally women would gather shell fish from the beach and shallow water, whilst the men fished on the reefs. Some women would take part in a women’s group known as a Aualuma. These groups had little to no political power. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wLgRhXRBpkU/TcgJlnwkaoI/AAAAAAAABbY/6SUkD_06Cx0/s800/shellfish.jpg
Traditional Female Hairstyles There were 7 main hairstyles for Samoan women. Longer hair was considered much more beautiful than shorter hair, but it was often kept in a bun. Hair could express a lot of information about the woman’s sexuality. For example only a virgin was meant to have a hair style called a tutagita. A tutagita consisted of shaved top of head ordinated with hair reddened by bleaching it with a lime. This hair hung down over the left temple and onto the cheek.
Modern Samoan Women Samoan women are now much more free than before. Their roles in society have changed in many ways, but in others stay the same. In 1990 full suffrage was granted. Women are now educated. Girls are generally doing better than boys in all areas and levels of academics in Samoa.The literacy rate of women is around 92%. http://universityaddress.net/Australia_Oceania/Samoa/images/National_University_Samoa.jpg
Modern Role in the Home Daily food has changed in Samoa. Canned, prepackaged, and processed foods take a much larger role in everyday cooking for women. Women still tend to weed gardens. Weaving is now done to preserve traditional culture, rather than a necessity. Mothers still care for the children but now will often take a lesser role once the oldest female child can take care of her siblings.
Roles Outside of the Home It is common for women in Samoa to work now. Many women find work in tourism, banking, canneries, and education. There has also been an influx of women working in government. Samoa has the highest percentage of women in government when compared to other Pacific Island nations. Pictured here is Minister SafuneituugaPaagaNeri. 20.2% of matai are now women according to the Samoan Bureau of Statistics http://www.mcit.gov.ws/Portals/162/photos/minister.jpg
The Abuse of Samoan Women There are high levels of physical and sexual abuse in Samoa. Much of the abuse is against women. Here are some World Health Organization statistics on women who are abused by their significant other. Organizations such as Amnesty International are looking to resolve this issue. http://www.who.int/gender/violence/who_multicountry_study/fact_sheets/samoa_en.gif
The Fa’afafine http://deep-massive.net/images/bullshit/fa'afafine.jpg http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5094/5523113817_04014cd4f7.jpg
Fa’afafine Overview Fa’afafinemeans: in the manner of a women. They are biological males who express female gender identities. They do not identify as a male or a female. Instead their societies identify them (as a whole) as notbeing: Homosexual: because they identify themselves not as male or as female therefore, they cannot be homosexual. There are also no Samoan words for homosexuality or being gay. Transexual:they don’t see themselves as wanting to be the other gender (except for select few who go as far as sex change operations).
3 Types of Fa’afafine There are currently three different views on the definition of Fa’afafine: Traditional Adapted Palagi lifestyle (modern) http://www.gayexpress.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Picture3.png
TraditionalFa’afafine Families steered a male child into the role of a female, if there were too many male children in the family or no females to cook/clean. These boys are introduced to female roles such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of younger children. Fa’afafine were also identified by their task preference at a young age. These tasks would usually carry on as they grew older.
TraditionalFa’afafine Continued They depend on family to provide for them even into old age. Fa’afafinewere and still are very accepted in Samoan culture. They were not attracted to other Fa’afafine. They were attracted to masculine males. Sexual relations with masculine men were seen, as a consequence of being Fa’afafine, not as a determiner. Most masculine men had sexual encounters with Fa’afafinewhen there was a lack of women around.
TraditionalFa’afafine Continued There were no differences in dress between male, female, and fa’afafine. They all wore lavalava (sarong) and a shirt. Names did not have gender differences until the western world was introduced. Marriage to women was not possible since it forfeited the Fa’afafinestatus. Masculine men tended not to uphold long relationships with Fa’afafine since they can not conceive children. Fa’afafine did not present themselves as flamboyant.
Adapted Fa’afafine They are in transition from traditional to modern. They could be described as liminal. They fa’afafinewith traditional views that adapt to western ideals/trends and larger urban cities. They undertake a more independent status, since they are able to provide for themselves. Many have “feminine” jobs. They do not present themselves as being flamboyant. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3078/3203050649_7ae33868db.jpg
PalagiFa’afafine(Modern) When fa’afafine people move into urban centers, they escape the constant scrutiny of their peers or village members. Here they are allowed to be more open with their sexuality. Modern fa’afafine have noticable influence from western civilizations. Some enter beauty pageants and/or drag shows. They have begun to wear shorter skirts as well and tend to dress more flamboyant thanbefore. http://peoplesofoceaniafinal.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/cindy_samoa_12.jpg?w=141&h=189