Coming Of Age In Samoa Case Study

925 Words 4 Pages
The study of female sexuality, youth, and behavior is a vastly influential study in the anthropological world. However, it wasn’t until recently that it became a widely accepted study and a phenomenon. Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, helped spur the emergence of cultural studies of females. Mead focuses on many various aspects of culture and how it connects to psychology. More specifically, she fixates upon the cultural conditioning of sexual behavior, culture change, and the differences between the natural and biological performance. Her ethnography , Coming of Age in Samoa, argued that it was cultural factors rather than biological forces that caused adolescents to experience psychological and emotional stress, anxiety, and behavioral …show more content…
The divisions were determined by age and the girls in differing groups had various roles and responsibilities, such as mat weaving, child care, household duties, and transition into adulthood (chapter V: pg. 42). The typical Samoan girl belonged to a relatively stable, monoculture society, surrounded by women and other family members. Their culture lacked taboos around birth, bodily functions, sexual actives, and death, but required society to respect the taboos and rules encompassing the relationship between brothers and sisters, as well as age groups. The Samoan girls had a carefree nature of sexual-activity, and when going into the adolescent period of their life, reveled in their freedom and lived their “best period” of their life by deferring marriage and expressing their sexual awakening (chapter VII: pg. 75). In the United States, much larger restrictions were placed upon young and developing females and created unnecessary stress prosper in their own social confinements. Mead concluded that the transition from childhood to adolescence was a smooth passage of time and was not tainted with the motion distress and confusion found in the United States (chapter XIV: pg. …show more content…
Coming of Age in Samoa is valuable because it challenges stereotypes and helps explain how stress is caused and how culture evolves girls. She challenges the traditional American system, and with her research stresses the importance of providing freedom to females, so they, like their fellow males, can have room to grow, and experience self discovery. Women should be provided all the same opportunities and freedoms that males have. Instead of pressuring women to be pristine, pure, and perfect, they should be able to broaden their horizons, expand their minds, and develop thoughtful and meaningful opinions and truths. In order to achieve this Mead writes that “the children must be taught how to think, not what to think” (Chapter XIV: pg. 169). The American system cannot put a restriction upon a females knowledge; instead we must teach people how to learn, and how to consider subjects

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