Coming of Age in Samoa; A Sexual Discussion.
At the young age of 23, Margaret Mead left the comforts of her home on a journey to Samoa. During her time spent there she became one with the people, and focused on three families of three different tribes. She was partly concerned with observations of females from birth to post-pubescent stages of life. Mead focused much of her book on sex and sexuality as well as relations between the sexes. Along the way, she mentions ways that our Western culture and Samoan culture are similar and different having to do with child rearing, general behaviors of youths and adults, and sexual issues. Mead found the Samoan culture to contain much more freedom than our own culture. This freedom is what affects the lives of all the growing males and females, and begins immediately with birth. There is mention in the introduction of a scientific method approach to observation including the control of a certain factors when all others are the same. The people in Samoa and in our culture are biologically similar, while the ways of their lives are different. What makes the practices of humans of different cultures differ from each other? The attitudes about sex and sexual relations utilized by the Samoan people as introduced by Mead are culturally prescribed. The liberation that the children are raised with, the ease from adolescence to adulthood, and the social structures between same, and cross-gender relations, all contribute to the overall difference between Samoan culturistic views, and those of our own culture.
Children in the Samoan culture are reared very differently than in our own culture. When a Samoan child is born, their biological mother only gives them care until they no longer require her breast milk. After this time, they are passed on to what is referred to as a chief nurse maid. Usually the nurse maid will be at an age of about six or seven.