whale rider

Last semester in my Intro Anthropology class I was assigned to watch a movie  called “Whale Rider”. I honestly thought it was going to be a movie that talked on the culture of this said tribe, but it was just the opposite. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and believe it showed a lot on gender roles. Whale Rider, starts off with a birth of twins, a boy and girl. Unfortunately the mother and boy passed away, and the father was unfit to raise the remaining baby girl. Needless to say this left the parents of the father to care for her. One would think they would be joyous to at least have the baby girl, but this was not the case for the grandfather. He would have preferred the boy to live so he could carry out their traditions. Through out her life he loved his grandchild but expected nothing from her other than house chores and “womanly duties”. Although, as this little girl grew she became more and more free willed. This movie shows how her grandfather “the chief” is tying to find a new leader to take his position when he passes. The young girl has all the qualities and more to fill those shoes but she struggles throughout the movie because this chief believes women are not capable of accomplishing those duties. I found it very interesting to watch the gender roles in this particular tribe. As I stated before the women were responsible for house chores such as cooking and cleaning. The young men on the other hand learned specific chants and tribal dances from their ancestors. Even at ceremonies women were expected to sit in  the back behind the men because that was “their place”. I didn’t agree with how the women were treated, because if someone earns something they should be given equal opportunity to achieve the goals they are aspiring for. Whale Rider is a perfect example of how gender roles are in different societies. Even though we still have a long way to go, I’m proud of the adjustment our society has made in attempting to become equal.

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4 Responses to whale rider

  1. Dugutigui says:

    I like Whale Rider too!

  2. Sil says:

    I agree that women deserve an equal place in society as men. Especially since the “chores” of women are not perceived as important as the “work” of men (notice that even in labeling each gender’s work women’s is diminished). As observed in this film, carrying out tribal traditions is the man’s role, while “simply” caring for the home is the woman’s less privileged and looked down upon job. As if caring for the home is not the MOST important! First of all, without women the tribe/humanity does not go on (granted men are also needed, but ultimately women are the ones who carry the developing embryo). Plus, without a home and all the chores involved in maintaining it, the tribe does not go on successfully. Ultimately, women are the backbones of society. Feminist or not, that is my belief.

  3. renatepavusa says:

    I totally agree, even in this tribe the men would not be able to carry out their traditions without the women taking care of them and starting off the ceremonies. For instance the grandmother begins to sing the tribal songs which set the mood and start the ceremonies the men do not even contribute to the ceremony until well into the process. But yes, the women are responsible for all house chores and caring for the children as a whole. Then men on the other hand do less things that in the end receive more credit. Not that the women in this tribe were not appreciated they were just not seen on the “same level”.

  4. cjohn162 says:

    I agree that women should have the same privileges as men receive. The same type of things that went on in the tribe go on today as well. Even though women get the same opportunities as men when pursuing jobs, their chances of actually receiving it are less. The part where you talked about the girl having more qualities than some of the men to fulfill the duty of chief reminded me of the workforce today. Some of the time women are more experienced or have received a high education and still are payed less, and are the second option.

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