The Nacirema Culture: Attitude to the Body

The article “Body ritual Among the Nacirema” written by anthropologist Horace Miner in 1996 is an essay describing the American culture in the eyes of an anthropologist’s perspective. The Nacirema culture presents the development in a high market economy focusing the activities regarding the rituals on the human body and the appearance of being healthy. The Nacirema are to be the American people considering that Nacirema is American spelled backward. The Nacirema “tribe” believes the human body to be ugly and unpleasing to the eyes to look at.

According to Miner, the Nacirema people have the belief that the human body is ugly and weak, so the people made shrines to their homes to perform everyday rituals treating their vanity in life. In their homes, the Nacirema people's shrines are a chest or box of any shape that is attached to a wall with “charms” used in the performing rituals. Each member of the family would wash with the “holy water” that is placed under the charm box on the wall. There is serval of rituals such as the men performing “scraping and lacerating the face with a sharp object” and the women “baking their heads for an hour”.

The masochistic of the acts led to the theory of giving others the ability to grow the specializations. The specialization required the holy-mouth men to visit the Nacirema tribes once or twice a year depending on the circumstances. The holy mouth men would place magical materials into people decaying teeth that feared their teeth were going to fall out or their loved ones would reject them. The daily ceremonies would be a feeling of discomfort and being torture for the pleasure to fix the flaws of the body. The Nacirema avoids the exposure of their body in everyday life; a part of the body rituals the people would bathe in the privacy of their own homes before participating in the ritual.

The information that is portrayed in the article reflects the Nacirema culture as in American culture showing the “perfect image” that’s modern Americans live by making their lives. The rituals would focus on the human body and the appearance of if the body looked healthy or put out of portion was a main concern of the Nacirema people. Every day American people are changing the appearance of their bodies because it's not the way they image their bodies to look so plastic surgery is on the top of the list for people to change their bodies. The most parts that were important values to the people of their appearance were their teeth and breast. Many members the society of their wealth and power by the shrines that people had in their homes. Most of the cultures deal with ceremonies that would be basic in the daily life of the people.

In conclusion after reading the article, I realized that Miner had an obsession with the vanity of the people without name-calling and showing with a number of hands. In mind, people would be concerned about their bodies during the time just as people are today in modern America. The articles can relate to modern times with the makeovers and surgeries that are perfumed daily just as the holy mouth men would come to the homes of the Nacirema and do bodies ritual on their bodies.

07 July 2022
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