Answers to: Body Rituals of the Nacirema

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John Teems January 14, 2009 Answers to: “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” 1. My reaction to this (our) culture (when put in a cryptic, unbiased viewpoint such as it has been in this passage) is that we as a whole are a very particular and at times very strange culture. Taking into account the sadistic nature of some of our customs (i.e. body waxing, shaving, hair curling, tattooing, piercing); it makes me think “Why do we choose willingly to do these things to ourselves”? How did we evolve into this self-absorbed, vein, and sometimes self loathing people? Our vanity has taken over the instinctual and natural parts of our being! But is it vanity or just a socio-adaptation in response to the rest of the world around us, the media we soak in on a daily basis, the ploys of corporations to make us spend money, or did we shape all of those things which now seem to rule us to do these things to ourselves? This reading has made me more aware of how our views of other cultures often are interpreted as “weird”, or just plain wrong in some instances. Without knowing an intimate history of a particular culture, it is presumptuous of me (or anyone else for that matter) to categorize other people’s customs, practices, and beliefs in this way. The story depicted in the passage of the culture hero Notgnihsaw (Washington spelled backwards), in a way reminds me of certain Native American stories, and their iconic views of their own great leaders (and not just because of the wampum addition to the story). Being that I have no actual belief system based within these stories, I catch myself wondering “Why do these people have so much faith and conviction towards these stories and fables?” I have to assume that other cultures view our high

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