The article “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner was intriguing because, although he never outright states it, the reader can tell that Miner is mocking our society as a whole. He does this by presenting the way of life of the Nacirema tribe; with their magical beliefs and superstitions appearing outrageous to outsiders.
For example, the Nacirema way of life includes going to the temple to bathe and being ritually cleansed. The use of magical spells and charms is also a huge part of their everyday lives. Even though all of these things may seem outrageous to us, if we take a step back and look at our own culture some things may not seem so different after all.
One example that stuck out to me was the way in which the Nacirema obsess over their bodies. In our society, people often diet or go on crazy fitness routines in order to lose weight or get “beach body ready”. We even have plastic surgery to change the way we look. To the Nacirema, these things may seem just as outrageous as some of their own beliefs.
So, what can we learn from the Nacirema? I think that Horace Miner was trying to show us that we should not be so quick to judge other cultures. We all have our own quirks and rituals that may seem strange to someone else. It is important to remember that before making any snap judgments.
In the paragraph below, “The emphasis of this activity is on the human body, which looms large in the culture’s ethos,” it parallels how we as North Americans think. (Miner, 1956) Appearance has become a more significant issue for many people in our society, and it affects everyone from childhood through adulthood. Body weight and stature are among the problems.
The Nacirema are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. The focus of this paper is an examination of the body ritual of the Nacirema.
The Nacirema have several customs and beliefs which revolve around the human body. One such belief is that the head is one of the most important parts of the human body. As such, they believe that it must be kept clean and free from any dirt or impurities. To this end, they practice a ritual which involves cleaning their heads with a special solution. This solution is made by mixing water with ashes from certain plants.
Another belief of the Nacirema is that the human body is susceptible to a number of diseases. To protect themselves from these diseases, they have developed a number of rituals and customs. One such ritual is the use of charms and amulets. These charms and amulets are believed to protect the wearer from a range of diseases.
The Nacirema also believe that the human body is subject to a number of forces which can cause illness. One such force is known as “the evil eye”. This is a force which is believed to be transmitted through looks or glances. To protect themselves from this force, the Nacirema wear special talismans around their necks.
There are also concerns with specific “places” on the body, such as the breasts, nose, or legs. With a perplexing problem, the people of Nacirema visit a medicine man. In exchange for his information and substances for a remedy, he takes donations. I can have my thighs trimmed by a plastic surgeon and get paid for it as an “interest” on my money because he will not “cure” me if I do not pay him.
The Nacirema religion is also very interested in the human body. They have many body rituals that revolve around the human anatomy. One example is sun tanning. The Nacirema believe that if they do not spend enough time in the sun, their bodies will become weak and sickly. Another example is the way they treat their hair.
The Nacirema are obsessive over their hair, and will go to great lengths to make sure it is perfect. They use a variety of potions and lotions on their hair, and will even go so far as to shave it off completely if they feel it is necessary. Body rituals are an important part of the Nacirema culture, and are taken very seriously by its people.
The better off individuals in Nacirema had more shrines at home than the modest, and they were far more ornate. The shrines are meant to symbolize their social standing. Because they can afford to do so, the richer people may give greater offerings to medicine men, herbalists, and listeners. This implies that they will get additional components or a greater return on their investment.
The Nacirema are not very different when it comes to their religion and practices as they value their appearance, health and well-being.
The Nacirema Tribe has many rituals that revolve around the human body. One of the most important of these is the sun tanning ritual. This ritual is performed in order to ensure that the body is healthy and free from disease. The sun tanning ritual is also believed to promote fertility and virility.
Another important body ritual of the Nacirema is the ceremonial washing of the hands. This ritual is performed in order to cleanse the body and soul of any impurities. The hands are washed with a special soap that is made from herbs and roots.
Is there a link between beauty and status in our society? Yes, people with more money have greater access to the resources that make them “beautiful.” But surgeries, diets, hair coloring, and tanning beds are also symbols of status. In fact, as Miner (1956) argued: “The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly.”
This is an interesting perspective, and one that might explain why there is such a focus on “fixing” ourselves in American society. We believe that our natural state is not good enough, and so we go to great lengths to change our appearance.
In the Nacirema tribe, there are many rituals surrounding the human body. One of the most important is sun tanning. The Nacirema believe that the sun is a powerful force, and by tanning their skin they are able to absorb its power. This ritual is performed regularly, often multiple times per week.
Another important ritual is the examination of the human anatomy. The Nacirema believe that the human body is full of secrets, and so they spend a great deal of time and money on medical procedures and tests. This ritual is often performed in the privacy of the home, but sometimes it takes place in public places such as hospitals or clinics.
The Nacirema tribe has many other rituals surrounding the human body, but these are two of the most important. These rituals show that the Nacirema have a deep respect for the human body and its secrets. They believe that by taking care of their bodies, they are able to live healthy and happy lives.