The unequal role of women in the old aboriginal patriarchal society last night the tour of the night visit ‘Modeling identities’, held by the Canarian Museum on the occasion of International Women’s Day, next March 8. Under the direction of Teresa Delgado Darias, curator of the center, the purpose of the tour was to provide an analytical look around the role played by aboriginal women in that social, economic and political context, based on the analysis of a sample of clay figurines cooked produced by the ancient canaries.
The three-dimensional female representations of cooked clay forged by the ancient Canarian settlers, which today guard The Canary Museum, they contain a wealth of revelations about the role played by aboriginal women in a patriarchal and unequal social context. Despite the minimum size of these so-called “figurines”, the conservative Teresa Delgado Darias yesterday conducted a night visit to one of the rooms in the center where, under the heading Modeling Identities, defoliated the different readings that this set of pieces houses about sociocultural patterns and power relations marked by sexist discrimination.
“In the world of archeology and, above all, in periods where there are no written texts, the materialities generated by these populations allow us to approach gender relations and the role of women,” says the conservative, who notes that ” gender is a principle that guides a part of the forms of organization and structuring of almost all past societies. “
Along these lines, these small figurative representations constitute, together with human remains, one of the main sources of information to reconstruct gender relations through the analysis of their materiality, iconography and elements of representation and significance, as well as their recontextualization in the social, economic and political framework in which they were produced. In addition, in the case of the production that The Canarian Museum treasures, the sample shows the predominance of human and, above all, female figures, who coexist, to a lesser extent, with animal representations.
“The human body is a text where all social realities are written, because it has a huge cultural, social, political and biological burden,” says Delgado, “so the way to dress, decorate, sit or move is a form of communication nonverbal through the image. ” In this sense, the identification of the female body in the figurines already reveals that “the system of social and cultural relations is based on differentiation by sex,” adds the conservative.
The study of clay figures shows that the aboriginal Canarian society is part of a patriarchal and matrilineal scheme, divided into strata defined by wealth. This is demonstrated by the preponderance of representations of female sexual organs related to reproduction and different stages of pregnancy. “This trend indicates that, probably, all these statuettes reproduce moments in the course of a woman’s life that are important for this human group. And all those highlights have to do with the world of fertility,” says Delgado.
Although these representations were linked, not many decades ago, to the world of idols as an expression of a ritual based on religion, this archaeological record points to a scheme of social organization based on the inheritance of maternal lineages, so that ” through women, political power is inherited or transferred, which is always in the hands of male social elites. “
The chronicles of the historical period of the conquest and colonization gloss this deep gap of inequality, “since women are the only guarantee of access to that exercise of direct power from which, however, they are totally excluded, even though they transmit it “stresses the conservative. “Women occupy a clearly secondary place in society, where the management and control of their fertility is in the hands of exclusively male power organs.”
In addition, together with the importance of biological reproduction and the regeneration of social life, the figurines also reveal “a great concern for infant and maternal mortality in the gestation process, understood as part of the economic processes and demographic control that I made this society to guarantee reproduction. “
This is due, in the words of the conservative, to that “we also have statuettes that present a thickening of limbs or bellies, which responds, according to the chronicles, to a ritual practice in which the woman was subjected to an obligatory overfeeding during 30 days, because it was considered that thicker women could give birth to healthier and more beautiful children, as well as have a better survival during pregnancy or childbirth. ” In this regard, Delgado points out that “in North Africa there are still societies where this prenuptial fattening is practiced, which clearly shows unequal gender relations.”
However, another of the perspectives of study that brought up the route and according to which the pillars of patriarchy would be perpetuated in the successive generations were based on the physical situation of the statuettes, which presided over the domestic and daily environments. In this way, the conservative emphasizes that “boys and girls already begin to assimilate this system of norms that will govern their world since childhood, so that the situation of these figurines in housing serves to reinforce those ideas of power, which they will be transmitted from generation to generation. “
In addition, the sources of information also reveal unequal access to food and patterns of physical violence perpetrated by men towards women, which reaffirms the macho historical past in which our society is rooted.