All forms of symbolic “minimal clothing“, like lumbar cord, penis tied up to it, penis sheath, or the Namba on Vanuatu, which seemingly emphasises the penis, have a common meaning: all these practices follow the norms of shame and behaviour valid in the respective societies, but also demonstrate, that the power of the male sexuality of their wearers is tamed and under control, so that one fits into the social rules of the community and no danger of attacks against others is posed by the wearers of these utensils.

The utensils are therefore not just “covering“ garments, that shall protect against the looks of others, but symbols of acceptance of the valid social rules and norms. This also makes it understandable, that someone, who loses these symbols, is ashamed: He is thus outside his social community and is anxious to fit back into it!

So, this is not just a matter of a body-related “shame of being naked“ or a “genital shame“, but the much more important and complex “social shame“, i.e. the endeavour to fulfil the consensus of human coexistence in the respective social community. There are two very important reasons, why this “social shame“ plaid and still plays a central role in human development:

Firstly, successful, peaceful coexistence in a social society is only possible, if all members adhere to the social norms and violent assaults are safely avoided. Adherence to social norms is therefore essential for the survival of human society.

Secondly, the individual was doomed without a chance, if he or she broke away from the social community or was expelled from the community because of a violation of norms – in earlier times even more so than today.

Select article
Sitemap
Search using one or several search