Papua new guinea the consumption of their dead males

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Papua New Guinea the consumption of their dead males is not repulsive or inappropriate, instead it is a way of legitimizing their gender. Cannibalism to them is one of the only ways that they can struggle against the constricting gender roles enforced by males. Cannibalism may have allowed the Aztecs to flourish and the women of Papua New Guinea to assert their gender roles, but in other regions of the world it had disastrous results. In Brazil for example, where the cannibals of the Tupinamba tribe encountered the European explorers who were just discovering the new world. These explorers traveled the world with a certain mindset, one that said that they were the arbiters of civilization and those that did not fit their criteria were inferior beings. Predictably when they were confronted with the cannibalistic Tupinamba they found them savage and inhumane. The Europeans had filled the edges of their maps with monsters for years but now they were coming face to face with them, and they realized that they looked the same as them. Gananth Obeysekere explains this phenomena in his book Cannibal talk : the 7 Ibid p. 151
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man-eating myth and human sacrifice in the South Seas by saying, “People in these strange lands, though they were physically the same, now took over the persona of the monsters of the mythopoeic imagination.” 8 Eating people is certainly a quick way to find yourself on a list of monsters. However, the Europeans are simply looking for any excuse to dehumanize the inhabitants of this new and lucrative land. The Europeans utilized the cannibalism of the Tupinamba to justify their wholesale slaughter of the people. They painted them as vicious savages, tearing into each others flesh with animalistic fury and fervor. They insisted that the savages needed to be civilized, and so they went about establishing colonies. They feared the practice of cannibalism so they used it as a scapegoat for the destruction of an entire people. The tribesman of the Tupinamba, had they the ability to communicate, would have told a very different story of their practices. To them cannibalism is one of the highest forms of honor that one can receive. The consumption of the flesh is said to communicate the spirit of those consumed. It was not at all uncommon for family members to eat a deceased relative so that his spirit might be honored. The most interesting aspect of the Tupinamba cannibalism is their propensity for eating enemy soldiers. Much like the Aztecs the Tupinamba would engage in raids to capture enemy warriors for sacrifice, however unlike the Aztecs, those slain by the Tupinamba appeased no god and starvation was no issue for the tribesman. Instead the Tupinamba hoped to gain the strength of those consumed. Warriors of great power and ability were thought to confer their attributes 8 Gananath Obeyesekere, Cannibal talk : the man-eating myth and human sacrifice in the South Seas , (San Diego : University of California Press, 2005). p. 12
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through consumption.
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