Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

The Woman with the Zebra's Penis: Gender, Mutability and Performance

Camilla Power and Ian Watts
The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Vol. 3, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 537-560
DOI: 10.2307/3034766
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3034766
Page Count: 24
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($20.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Woman with the Zebra's Penis: Gender, Mutability and Performance
Preview not available

Abstract

In certain African hunter-gatherer cultures (the Khoisan and Hadza), gender appears mutable and paradoxical with respect to sex. During initiation ritual, girls acquire `masculine' characteristics, such as penises and hunting weapons; boys are treated as menstruants. Anthropological models of a hierarchized `masculine' v. `feminine' correlated with biological sex, would not predict such reversals. Alternative models of `multiple' genders fail to account for the structural similarities between female and male initiations, which tend to unify gender irrespective of sex. Using data on Khoisan and Hadza ritual and myth, with illustrations from southern African rock art, a `native model' of gendered symbolic oppositions is presented. This indigenous model represents gender as mutable through time, and as correlated with ritual potency, not with biological sex; the model thereby supports predictions made by the `sex-strike' theory of the origins of symbolic culture.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[537]
    [537]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
538
    538
  • Thumbnail: Page 
539
    539
  • Thumbnail: Page 
540
    540
  • Thumbnail: Page 
541
    541
  • Thumbnail: Page 
542
    542
  • Thumbnail: Page 
543
    543
  • Thumbnail: Page 
544
    544
  • Thumbnail: Page 
545
    545
  • Thumbnail: Page 
546
    546
  • Thumbnail: Page 
547
    547
  • Thumbnail: Page 
548
    548
  • Thumbnail: Page 
549
    549
  • Thumbnail: Page 
550
    550
  • Thumbnail: Page 
551
    551
  • Thumbnail: Page 
552
    552
  • Thumbnail: Page 
553
    553
  • Thumbnail: Page 
554
    554
  • Thumbnail: Page 
555
    555
  • Thumbnail: Page 
556
    556
  • Thumbnail: Page 
557
    557
  • Thumbnail: Page 
558
    558
  • Thumbnail: Page 
559
    559
  • Thumbnail: Page 
560
    560