The book is a good documentation of the daily lives of the! Kung people as narrated by a woman named Nisa. Gender equality is best defined by this community because of its many practices that show gender fairness. At the beginning of their lives, during childhood both sexes play together. Although there are games that both sexes enjoy, there also games that they play separately. Role playing are commonly done by them to prepare them for their adult lives. It may be strange for modern societies how they treat sex as a natural phenomenon. Since children sleep with their parents, they are exposed to their parents’ lovemaking.
They also treat this as play when they go out with their playmates. Rape seems to be an alien concept for them. Boys being stronger than the girls could force a girl playmate to ‘play’ with him. But group mentality is strong that can alter situations like a boy harassing a girl. They play together everyday that camaraderie among them becomes strong. So, if a boy forces his way to a girl, the others would pester him with words especially among the girls. But there were successful attempts in the bushes and huts. Sex was treated something natural among them that boys when they turn into men do not take this against the girl he marries.
But they prefer to marry a very young girl whom they would nurture to become a woman. A woman may marry several times which is not an issue for the men who prefer to marry her. As for economic roles, both the role of the man and woman in a household are treated important. Taking good care of the children is considered a very influential part in community life. Children are more attached to the mothers but boys while growing up develop a closer affinity with their father. They will be taught to hunt which will be an essential quality when they choose to have a wife later in life.
The woman’s word in the house is considered vital by the husband. Though the man brings the food in the house, he stops and listens when his wife speaks. A man also prefers to marry a woman smarter than him. He thinks that she would help him become smart himself. There is clear cooperation among the men and women to fulfill community life. If there is an issue that needs to be handled, both the mother and father work together to resolve it. They are both involved in resolving an issue as in the case of Nisa. She encountered a problem when her husband was caught sleeping with another married girl.
The! Kung tribe is a good model of gender equality. There is no competition among the sexes who is considered superior over the other. Survival recognizes that both male and female need to work together. The dynamics of a community are complete because of the interaction of the roles of both sexes. Though special skills may be present in some, they are conscious people who make sure that recognition is properly given and will not cause conflicts. Works Cited Shostak, M. (1981). Nisa, The Life and Words of a ! Kung Woman. Harvard University Press.