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Egalitarianism in Batek society

p. 25 they saw men and women as being different in various ways, but did not regard these differences as making either sex superior to the other. p. 28 this story suggests that men and women are distinct in shape but essentially the same in composition, having been formed of the same material and animated by the same kind of soul. p. 29 according to the Batek, mens breath is stronger than womens, a difference mentioned primarily in explaining why men are better blowpipe hunters than women. p. 29 Batek sometimes said that men are stronger than women, especially in arms, to explain why men are better at climbing tall trees. p. 29 Batek also believed that the blood of men and women smells different. Reasons women do not eat meat or salt during their menstrual periods. p. 30-31 Batek clothing differed slightly for men and women. The usual outfit for men was a loincloth made from a piece of sarong material of swimming trunks. Men also wore a single-strand rattan waistband. Women wore loincloths held up by long plaited rattan belts which they wrapped around their hips ten or twenty times. (When women plaited new belts, they gave their husbands or children pieces of their old belts to wear.) p. 31 some women tattooed lines across their foreheads or across their wrists. Women and occasionally men painted lines and dots on their foreheads with white lime paste and charcoal. All women, but not men, had their ears pierced, so they could wear flowers, rolled-up fragrant leaves, or even cigarettes in the holes. Girls decided for themselves when they were ready to have it done. p. 32 body decorations worn in ritual were similar for both sexes. The rule was only women could wear bunches of flowers in their ears, and only men could wear flowers in their armbands. These flowers were considered markers of the wearers gender. p. 35 Batek tales suggested that the Batek did not use myth to privilege one gender over the other. p. 36 both men and women could become shamans, either by studying with a practicing shaman or by learning from superhuman beings through dreams. p. 36 both men and women participated fully in Batek rituals.

p. 43 what we call personal autonomy is based on the Batek expectations that everyone could do whatever they wanted to do as long as it was consistent with their obligation to help and respect others. p. 44 people could try to persuade others do to something, but anyone could simply refuse without any need to explain the refusal. Batek did not accept the authority of anyone else over themselves. p. 45 husbands and wives often cooperated and worked together, but as equal, autonomous partners. They support each other no matter what, only because they are all part of the same society, Batek. p. 45 Batek regarded each other as basically equal in their intrinsic value and therefore worthy of respect. All Batek expected to be treated with respect by all other Batek, regardless of their personal relationships of feeling about one another. They considered it unacceptable to insult or ridicule someone. p. 47 Batek felt a general obligation to help nu other Batek who needed aid. Adults felt a special obligation to help all youngsters, not just their own children. Adult children were expected to make special efforts to help their aging parents in any way needed. p. 48 sharing food: the usual procedure was for people to give shares first to their own children and spouse, then to any parents-in-law or parents present and finally to all other families in camp. p. 52 both parents in a marriage had an equal voice in decisions affecting the household, including when and where to move, what economic activities to pursue, and how to use their money or trade credit. p. 63 Batek leadership 2 kinds of leaders: headmen and natural leaders p. 64 the JHEOA did not accept women as headmen. p. 64 natural leaders could be male or female p. 67 Batek ethical principles and social practices provided a basis for egalitarian relations between men and women. p. 72 most blowpipe hunting was done by men. p. 76 women who went blowpipe hunting did it mainly for fun; the data indicate that women were not highly involved in the activity. p. 79 usually men both felled the trees and clubbed the bats, although sometimes women helped with the clubbing. p. 79 any combination of men, women and children might participate in hunting porcupines and pangolins.

p. 79 men, women and children caught tortoises. Usually men dove into the pools, speared the tortoises and dragged them to the surface. p.79 women were far more involved in hunting bamboo rats. p. 80 as in blowpipe hunting, men were more active than women in these hunting methods. p. 80 rod and lone fishing was the most frequent method used, especially by women. Gathering tubers womens job (pp. 82-84) p. 86 children even infants did not seem to interfere greatly with the tuber-digging routine. Older children might do some digging p. 87 although women took primarily responsibility for gathering tubers during the study period, there were several circumstances under which Batek men also turned to this work. (reasons on page 87) p. 87 everyone gathered nontuberous vegetables, like banana flowers, ferns, wild ginger, mushrooms, nuts, palm cabbage p. 89 both men and women planted the rice and vegetable seeds p. 90 usually young men attempted to get honey p. 91 both men and women collected and traded some kinds of forest products p. 93 men were more active than women in collecting rattan p. 93 men were more active than women in carrying out trade transactions p. 95 work groups: there were no rules about who could or could not work together. p. 98 cooking was done by everyone, including young children. Meat cooking often involved men to a greater extent p. 99 both men and women processed poisonous foods p. 100 both men and women collected everyday necessities of water and firewood. Everyone, including children, made and tended cooking fires at the family heart. p. 101 building shelters: the husband would cut three saplings for the house support, stick them into the ground, and then rush off to hunt The wife handled the rest of the shelter building p. 102 women and men alike made most of the tools and goods they needed for everyday life (digging sticks, working with metal, sharpening knives). Hunting equipment was made by men. Both men and women

made their own loincloths. Both sexes also made flower headdresses and decorative bamboo combs. p. 103 bark baskets were made by men and women alike. Rattan baskets were the specialty of men. Pandanus baskets, as well as pandanus mats and pouches, were the specialty of the women. Even though some activities were specifically for men or for women, there were always some exceptions, in the sense that a woman could do a mans activity and also a man could do an activity in which women are specialized. The reasons for that are the variations of knowledge, skills, and physiological differences. p. 105 another craft that was the specialty of men was plaiting the long rattan waistbands women normally wore.