Gender and Sexual Orientation
In Bambara society, women are seen just usually wear a rag or loincloth around their hips, with their breasts exposed. This constant exposure, the Bambara believe, desensitize men from desiring women, as they are always around nearly naked women. Also, women are used to being seen as objects to men, being often harassed and bossed around by men. Men are often seen chatting about topics such as sex and other vile topics that are considered taboo for women to discuss. Men further separate women by at one point in the night, isolating all young girls to a communal living space, where an older women watches over them to make sure no boys are coming for them for companionship during the night.

Men and women also have secret societies, broken up by gender. Each society for women is organized by age as well as how far they are in their iniation process. Males, on the other hand, have brotherhoods. Both of these type of groups are completely off limits to non-members and cannot be entered by the other gender. (Treatment of Women) (Men and Women)


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Bambara Men

In the Bambara culture, there is a demand for circumcision with both sexes. Because of its close ties to Mohammed, it is considered a rite of passage where it embodies both civil and religious duties. The actual act of circumcision follows a very strict practice, incorporating four festivals into one religious passage. On the second day of celebrations, those who will be circumcised are deemed the soli and need to offer to the higher members of society called the to-n-déou. In order to do so, they must complete soli kili basi, which requires them to sing and beg at each home within the community.

The night prior to the circumcision (d’lo), the two genders are separated into their own groups for each sex. The candidates are covered with white, yellow, and red paint on their foreheads and are covered by blankets. Boys are shaved and greased, and girls hair are done in a neat manner, with the girls wearing loincloths provided by their husbands-to-be that they have to wear, with colors corresponding to their tribe and level in society. Once the soli are circumcised and healed, they have another ceremony of the boloko déou don bo to conclude the event. This ceremony is important in showing how in some aspects of Bambara life, there is some similiarities between sexes, however, men still dominate the Bambara culture. (Circumcision Event)