Friday, April 12, 2013

Puberty Rites

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New World Notes News
Vol. 6, No.14 -- April 12, 2013

This week in New World Notes, radio program #267, April 16, 2013

Puberty Rites

A public part of the puberty rites for girls of the
Ashanti ethnic group of Ghana

In brief

Our culture lacks--and very much needs--"puberty rites" for adolescents, such as civilized societies have. These ceremonies
  • teach kids adult roles
  • reinforce community values
  • celebrate sexuality
  • define the licit and illicit
  • increase social cohesion
  • help teens through a difficult period
  • justify a big party
  • honor the gods
  • etc.
I'll describe the rites of Ghana's Ashanti people, play 2 songs and a 1958 health-class movie for girls, and discuss why puberty rites won't soon be coming to the U.S.

Christian "Confirmation" class in the United States. Confirmation is a sort of "coming-of-age" ceremony but a really poor excuse for a puberty rite. The white gowns are a tip-off.

Notes, credits, & links

This program was originally broadcast in September 2008 (as NWN #31--no blog entry available).

Includes 2 songs of comic satire: Tom Lehrer, "Be Prepared!"; Roy Zimmerman, "Nothing But the Best [For Our Little Girl]"

Movie is Molly Grows Up (1958)

The complete article on puberty rites in Ghana (which I read in part) is here: .

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "First Floor") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

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Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.
The worst puberty rite ever: the parental "birds and bees" lecture.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • April 23 -- TBA
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