Body Rituals Essay

640 Words3 Pages
In the story, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”, by Horace Miner he talks about the Nacirema tribe and describes the body rituals that their society does on a regular basis that they view as the norm in their society and culture. While reading about these strange and unusual rituals, one can’t help but think that what these people are doing is totally and completely ridiculous. Ethnocentrism comes over and judgment takes place, but in reality some could view our American culture as just and crazy and strange. With every group of people comes their culture, every group has behaviors and strategies within their society that they practice and that is their norm. To understand a cultures norm, you must first understand why they do the things that they do. In “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”, Miner writes about the extreme rituals that people do in America. It brings out the idea that what they are doing is only to improve the looks which are actually unnecessary. Although the writer does not use the word America at all, we can tell from the content and the examples that it is reflecting the Americans. Actually, if the word “Nacirema” in the title reverses, it is America. He uses some events and makes them sound crazy and extreme that may be trivial and happen in our every day lives to describe them as “rituals”. For example, he talks about the ritual that we spend so much time to get ready in the morning. I agree that he makes a good argument to the American about always do things to pretend and only care about the looks. The author makes use of countless comparisons to primitive native culture to explain the obsession with health, hygiene, and anti-aging. Miner refers to dentists as holy mouth men and bathrooms as shrines for odd ritual practices. His language is clearly satirical and creates the notion of the "Nacirema" as vain and self obsessed.
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