Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality
Publication date: 1981
In Polynesia, sexuality is not merely an idiom for gender relations but of transgender rank as well: Chiefliness and aristocracy are associated with active sexuality and with the stimulation of the fertility of nature (Ortner).
– Page 17
Whitehead suggests that the identification of gender with occupational specialization in most of the relatively unstratified native North American may have arisen from the fact that, in the absence of strong gender-linked surplus appropriation that tend to be associated with highly ritualized and symbolically “loaded” definitions of the sexes, and in the absence as well of transgender prestige hierarchies (cast, class, rank), occupation rose to the surface as simply the most salient (and prestige-relevant) sex marker.
– Page 18
As a reflex of persons inhabiting a certain social order, and as their way of understanding it, the various gender-crossovers, recategorizations, and double-entendres of American Indian culture were an ingenious comprehension of a situation in which social and economic powers tended to assume more complex distributions than those that could be readily encompassed by simple gender hierarchy and in which, at the same time, class or caste structures were not sufficiently consolidated so as to delineate a transgender system of rank.
– Page 108