A Village Where Adolescence Has No Special Treatment

A Village Where Adolescence Has No Special Treatment

The Most ‘Awkward Age’ of Human Life

Adolescence is characterized as the period in which idealism gets flowered and rebellion against authority gets stronger, a period during which difficulties and conflicts are inevitable. Generally, this is called the most ‘awkward age’ of human life.

Hence, a special treatment is always provided to the children in this period. However, is the scenario the same everywhere? Here, we will talk about a village, where growing up is so easy that general casualness remains everywhere in society.


Samoan girls 

Samoa is a South Sea island inhabited by a brown Polynesian people. This society has historical traditions of thousands of years to treat the adolescent girls in a completely different way.


In the picture above, we can see a girl sitting cross-legged on the ground. If you ask Samoan girls to sit upon a chair, will they do that? No, they will feel stiff and miserable.

Samoan girls do not possess much knowledge about the outside world. In fact, in most Samoan villages girls are ceremonially ignored until she is married.


To-do lists of the growing up Samoan girls

The responsibility list of a Samoan girl gets started when she is still a kid. The babies of Samoan villages are usually nursed by a child aged six or seven who is hardly strong enough to lift a baby.

Girls aging nine or ten here get to learn about the taboos which have to be maintained with the relatives of the opposite sex. Therefore, avoidance and antagonism predominate between small girls and small boys. 

However, two to three years later, the situation gets worse when they begin to giggle, blush, bridle, and run away seeing the boys.

By the age of fourteen, a girl has to be skilled in cooking, weaving, and fishing because they cannot act lazy if they want to be married.

The work lists show that a girl’s strength is never understood according to her age. Her whole adolescent period goes on by following rules and improving her household skills


What community thinks about them?

Girls are not trusted at all. So, they are not allowed to make friends with the unknown ones. However, the girls make friends with the known ones or the unknown ones, boys always spy upon their love affairs.

Under fifteen or sixteen age, girls have no social standing, no recognized group activity, and no part in social life. They are neither treated with specialty nor their feelings get understood.

There is no contamination in a girl’s touch or look while she is menstruating. But girls are always forbidden to touch the fishing canoes and fishing tackle because it is considered a real source of danger. Besides, women’s anger is considered an evil curse for men.


The level of casualty in Samoa

In Samoa, watching births, deaths, miscarriages, and sexual intercourses are very common for children. There is no desire to protect them from shock or to keep them in ignorance.

The adults think that these incidents can be horrible but perfectly natural, non-unique occurrences, forming a legitimate part of the child’s experience.

This level of casualty is the main reason for not treating adolescent girls with a specialty. Because they think, “aren’t these things a usual part of life!” 


Sexual practices among the girls

The casual lifestyle of Samoan society also reflects on the love life of Samoan girls. Love affairs, run away and punishments are very common in Samoan girls’ lives.

Heterosexuality is common but Masturbation and homosexuality is also a casual practice amongst them.

Adolescent as a non-unique part of girls’ lives

In Samoa, girls’ lives are bound into a cycle of being a baby to baby-tenders to household workers to lovemaking to finally get married and settle down to rearing children. 

From a Samoan social background, it appears that their causal thinking of life makes the adolescent period a non-unique and non-special part of girls’ lives. Should this be really acceptable?


–Ishani Sarkar, Ismat Jahan Nishat

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