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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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I HAD OBSERVED THAT THE PUERTO RICAN PEASANTRY (JIBAROS) WERE
VERY (UNDERLINED) CLEAN PEOPLE. THEIR SHACKS, WHILE
REFLECTING AN EXTREME LEVEL OF POVERTY, WERE SPOTLESS. THE
CHILDREN WERE DRESSED IN CLOTHES WHICH SHOWED THAT SOMEBODY
CARED. THEY WERE STARCHED AND IRONED WITH GREAT CARE. THE
BOYS INVARIABLY WORE LITTLE SPORT SHIRTS WHICH LOOKED NEW, AND
MUST HAVE COST A LARGE PORTION OF THE FAMILY'S INCOME. KNOWING
HOW THESE PEOPLE VALUED THEIR MALE CHILDREN, I COULDN'T HELP
WONDERING WHY THE LITTLE BOYS (UNDER FOUR) ALWAYS RAN AROUND
IN THEIR IMMACULATE SHIRTS--ONLY. NEVER DID THEY WEAR ANY
GARMENT ON THE LOWER PART OF THE BODY. WHY--IF THEY COULD
AFFORD SHIRTS, WHY NOT PANTS?
IT IS THE BELIEF THAT A BOY WILL BE MACHO (VIRILE) IF THE
SUN IS ALLOWED TO SHINE ON HIS GENITALIA AS MUCH OF THE TIME
AS POSSIBLE WHILE HE IS LITTLE. LITTLE GIRLS ARE ALWAYS
COVERED UP.

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Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; SANTURCE

Keyword(s): Genitalia ; Machismo ; MASCULINITY ; Peasants ; Poor ; Puerto Rico ; Sunshine

James Callow Keyword(s): CLEANLINESS ; SEX

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Lower body and legs
BELIEF -- P566

Date learned: 00001963 ca.

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