Romani Studies

Becoming Rom (male), becoming Romni (female) among Romanian Cortorari Roma: On body and gender

Romani Studies (2012), 22, (2), 113–140.

Abstract

Much of the work on gender in Romany studies is centered on beliefs about the pollution of symbolically constructed female bodies. This article advocates, following Gay y Blasco (1997), reconsidering the importance of physical bodies for Romany conceptions of gender. My findings among Romanian Cortorari Roma show that representations of gender are based on procreative capacities of the sex-differentiated bodies that are called to enact a set of moral prescriptions in social behavior, relative to categories of age and kinship. Marriages are arranged for pubertal boys and girls by adults. They are legitimized through the spouses' first sexual intercourse, and endure only through procreation. Gendered personhood is thus achieved through proof of procreative capacities. I analyze gender as a process that revolves around folk conceptions of bodies and their lived experience in the culture.

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Tesăr, Cătălina