Summary on the subject: Gender Issues and Hopewell Culture

Studied since the discovery of the conspicuous mounds in Ross County Ohio, the Hopewell have been an archaeological enigma to

Summary on the subject: Gender Issues and Hopewell Culture

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k over the whole community. Soon after the bipedal creatures gained control the hominids on four legs die off, precisely because they could not evolve quickly enough and produce healthy, if any, offspring. The bipedal community grew into the hundreds and thousands. Tough, healthy, and agile hominids, the strong survived and the females produced healthy offspring which is called reproductive fitness. The mouth became smaller and the brain increased in size. More brains equaled better tools, which lead to a faster, more efficient evolution. (Diamond 1992 pg 12) According to the bone and fossil evidence that I have learned, this is my interpretation how evolution might have happened. When a species develops tools, many things can a will change. The definition of a tool is, performing or facilitating mechanical operations. (Websters Ninth New Dictionary) Take for instance a hominid that walks on all four limbs. How easy would it be for a hominid, without agile arms, to mechanically operate a tool? It would be very difficult. This type of arboreal hominid, probably lives in a tree, swings from the branches, vision is not great, and is mostly a vegetarian. After the proto human began to walk on two feet there hands became free and moveable. Now give this hominid a sharp stick or a blunt object, practice as how to properly use it, and pg 3 maybe arm agility. Then over time (about 3 to 2.5 mya) the animal becomes a hunter, being able to strike a predator, protect, and gain control over resources. In the movie 2001 Space Odyssey, (Anthropology 100 9/5/97) Stanley Kubrick gives his interpretation on how we evolve. The movie shows groups of stem-primate type creatures who represent early proto-human communities. The creatures begin to explore their environment finding resources and developing new ways to do things. The communities battled other primate communities for the natural resources in their environment. One of the primates begins to break some objects with a bone it picked up. The primate then realizes that this bone can do major damage. When one community learns to use bones as weapons, then that group can take over the resources in a certain area and be selected for, which increases reproductive fitness. This scenario could have happened but the truth is nobody knows exactly how and why things turned out the way they did. Not just hominids use tools. Wood-peckers, vultures and sea otters are among the other animal species that evolved by using tools to capture food, but these creatures are not as heavily dependant as we are. (Diamond 1992 pg 36) Without tools evolution might have taken much longer. Tools had a major affect on teeth, hair, behavior, and even language. (Diamond 1992 pg 12) When developing and using tools, the species takes control over the environment and makes it work for them. One major change in the physical aspect of evolution is the morphology of the body. Proof of this came from the discovery of Lucy, the 2.5 million year old homo - pg 4 erectus, half monkey half human. (Haviland Eighth Edition pg 140-141) The head grew so the brain could expand, allowing hominids to think and create new tools. The mouth became smaller and teeth turned into herbivore teeth, enabling speech to develop. The widening of the pelvis was a major and critical change, it allowed the animal to walk on two feet. This change in the pelvis allowed all proto-humans to stand at long periods of time, making it more free and taller which increased vision. Having the features of better vision and maneuverability made it easier for the hominids to control the environment instead of letting the environment control them. Being able to control the environment leads to better food, healthier bodies, better reproductive fitness and increases the quality of life. If you think about how primitive early hominids were and you look at modern day humans. How could a bone or stick make so much of a change in our bodies? The whole process is amazing and until science gets the whole story, we may never know the whole truth about how tools shaped our lives today. Who would have thought that a 0.1 percent difference in DNA could have made such a change? (Diamond 1992 pg 54) One thing is for sure, without tools evolution would have taken much longer.

In the country of Sudan, in Northern Africa, there is a procedure that is tradition and is performed on most women called female genital mutilation, or FGM, which used to be known as female circumcision. It has been a normal practice for generations, but is now the subject for international controversy on the morality and safety of this procedure. It is now known that 82 percent of Sudanese woman have an extreme form of genital mutilation done on them, normally at a young age. This form of mutilation is called the Pharaonic form and includes the total removal of the clitoris and labia, and stitching together of the vulva, leaving only a small hole for urination and menstrual cycle. This is normally done without any type of anaesthetic or professional medical care. There is also a more moderate form of mutilation, called Sunni, where only the covering of the clitoris is removed. This practice started and became tradition in foreign countries in order to ensure that women practice chaste behavior, and to suppress female sexuality. It has also been attributed to religious beliefs of monogamy although most religions do not support this type of practice. In today's society it has become more of a traditional and social norm, and has less to do with religious beliefs. This problem is not only in Sudan; it is practiced in the majority of the continent of Africa as well as other countries. In other cultures, such as Australian aborigines, genital mutilation is a part of the rite of passage into maturation, and is done on both men and women (Bodley, p.58). FGM has often been referred to as female circumcision and compared to male circumcision. However, such comparison is often misleading. Both practices include the removal of well - functioning parts of the genitalia and are quite unnecessary. However, FGM is far more drastic and damaging than male circumcision because it is extremely dangerous and painful. It is believed that two thirds of these procedures are done by untrained birth attendants, who have little knowledge of health. They are often unconcerned with hygiene, and many use instruments that are not cleaned or disinfected properly. Instruments such as razor blades, scissors, kitchen knives, and pieces of glass are commonly used. These instruments are frequently used on several girls in succession and are rarely cleaned, causing the transmission of a variety of viruses such as the HIV virus, and other infections. There are many side effects of this procedure including trauma, stress or shock from the extreme pain; and bleeding, hemorrhaging and infections that can be fatal from improperly cleaned instruments. There can also be painful and difficult sexual relations and obstructed childbirth. The effects of this one procedure can last a lifetime, both physically and pyschologically. Today, 85 to 114 million girls and women in more than 30 countries have been subjected to some form of genital mutilation. It was declared illegal in Sudan in 1941, although that did little to stop this age-old tradition. To this day, about 90% of women are still being subjected to the mutilation, especially if it is a family tradition. In various cultures there are many "justifications" for these practices. Many older women feel that if they have an uncircumcised daughter, she will not be able to find a husband and will become a social outcast. Family honor, cleanliness, protection against spells, insurance of virginity and faithfulness to the husband, or simply terrorizing women out of sex are sometimes used as excuses for the practice of FGM. Examples similar to this are found in other cultures, such as the Maasai, an African cattle peoples tribe. A clitoridectomy is performed on adolescent girls in this tribe as part of their rite of passage, and signifies that they are ready for marriage. This practice is openly accepted by these women as another ritual and a normal precondition of marriage (Bodley, p.121). The efforts to stop procedures of this kind are mounting though, especially with the help of women ages 16 to 30 who realize the dangers of this practice. These women can help to save their daughters and many other women from this if they are educated of the dangers. It ends up damaging their health, as well as their socio-economic lives; which is why it needs to be put to a stop. It is also unnecessary in today's society. These women have joined together to create the Sudan National Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices, and are now working to eliminate it completely. They have also joined together with government support and are a part of the National Plan of Action for the Survival, Protection and Development of Sudanese Children, where they work to educate people of the dangers of this procedure. In the United States and other Western countries, both female and male circumcision is practiced, although male circumcision is much more common. Female mutilation is still an issue in Western countries though, and needs to be dealt with. These countries commonly used FGM as a means to deal with unruly, insane or temperamental women earlier in this century. Routine circumcision as a preventative or cure for masturbation was also proposed in Victorian times in America. In females, it was once thought that the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement. The procedure of circumcisions, on both men and women, became commonplace between 1870 and 1920, and it consequently spread to all the English-speaking countries such as England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As a form of social control it fell out of fashion some time

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