In and subordinate to men, victims of

In order to become a man in Sambia culture, one must rid themselves of the pollutants associated with womanhood and take in the fluids that are necessary to becoming a man (Herdt). This rite of passage is based on the idea that women are pollution to men and when a boy becomes a man he must rid himself of the womanhood that has polluted his life so thoroughly (Herdt).Elders take him violently from his mother at age seven or eight and force bloodletting from the nose with sugar cane rid him of the female pollution because blood symbolizes womanhood (Herdt).Bloodletting is viewed as essential to “male growth” (Herdt 368) in Sambia culture. He bleeds out the female pollution he has received from his mother (Herdt). He then must ingest the fluids, which will make him a man. He does this by performing fellatio on the elders of the tribe and swallowing their semen (Herdt). By doing this, the boy gains semen himself and over time and repeated fellatios becomes a man (Herdt). He is also taught to be a warrior and to be disgusted by women, distrustful of them and remain as distant as possible from them (Herdt). This very anti-female ritual exemplifies how women are treated in the Sambia culture. They are considered inferior and subordinate to men, victims of domestic violence, seen as a pollution to avoid, be cleansed of on a regular basis, and be disgusted by continually (Herdt). Through the ideas of Sherry Ortner, Mary Douglas, and Victor Turner this rite of passage and the beliefs it is based on concerning the inferiority and fear of women can be critically analyzed and explained.Sherry Ortner argues that it is the association of females with nature and males with a culture that explains the inferior treatment of women and the male’s need to cleanse himself of women upon the passage to manhood and the separation from female society. Through Mary Douglas’s “Abominations of Leviticus,” the case can be made for the symbolic association’s …