Women Within The Society Of The Huli People

962 WordsMar 4, 20154 Pages
In Wayward Women, Wardlow explores roles of women within the society of the Huli people in Papua New Guinea. Within their society, Huli women are treated as a commodity. They are servants to their husbands and those that attempt to fight this system are labeled as pasinja meri, a derogative term given to those who try to escape the system. Huli women are oppressed and commoditized by the Huli system of brideswealth for their value as a sexual product instead of as people. The Huli society is very clearly patriarchal in nature. Men are allowed many freedoms in the public that are unavailable to women due to the Huli belief that men belong in the “hama” the public realm. It is here that men can achieve status, power, and a good reputation. Women, however, have their place within the “anda”, the private family realm (Wardlow 56) They are expected to care for the man’s lands, cook their food, and bear and care for their children. Women are “fenced in” by the men in a relationship that is supposed to be mutually beneficial. The men are supposed to protect the women in exchange for care of their household and lands. If a woman tries to fight the oppression and become pasinja meri, they are said to have brukim (broken) their fence. The fence (which may be either physical or mental) is said to keep the women in good behavior, but as one who has grown up in the western world with their cultures, I see only the oppression that the fence represents. Though the Huli may see the
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