Don't know if this should go in the World-Building forum, but it does count as a concept...
The Vandu People
Few societies have gender roles as sharply delineated and deterministic as the Vandu people, for the men and women live almost completely separate lives. However, Terran observers show the most surprise not at the extreme division between man and woman, but over which roles they are assigned. To Terran sensibilities, Vandu gender roles appear topsy-turvy, a total reversion of expectation. To sum them up as briefly as possible, women hunt and men gather.
"Vandu" as an ethnonym translates to "human being", but its definition is conventionally based on language. Per this definition, anyone who speaks some dialect of isiVandu as their native tongue qualifies as an ethnic Vandu. However, since the Vandu people have spread across a vast area with contrasting terrains over the centuries, ranging from dry plains to steamy rainforests, isiVandu's dialects are many and do not always sound intelligible to one another. Given this variation, the description of Vandu culture in this article must be interpreted as a set of loose generalizations and may not apply to every Vandu subgroup.
By and large the Vandu have very dark skin as an adaptation to the flaming tropical sun. Those living in open savanna and semiarid regions tend to be even darker than those who have settled in the shadowy rainforest regions. Their tall and lean figures, with elongated limb proportions, help dissipate heat in their sweltering homeland. Vandu people, especially the women, tend to store what little body fat they do have over their rear ends; rigorously developed hind muscles accentuate this steatopygia.
The fundamental division in Vandu society is between men and women as said earlier. Women roam and hunt in nomadic family groups for most of the year while men reside in permanent villages and grow crops. Periodically a female band will visit a male village for commerce and of course reproduction, but even then bands will cycle between multiple villages rather than sticking near one. Some bands do not even stay within one region and instead travel across the whole continent. Permanent and monogamous couples do not exist among the Vandu.
In their early years, Vandu boys and girls both travel in the bands with their mothers and other female kin, but once they approach adolescence the boys must leave their mothers' bands and join the nearest male village. There the men already living there will teach the newcomers how to farm and guard their crops, forge iron tools, weave clothing, and other village duties. Meanwhile, the girls receive from their elders rigorous training to mature them into huntresses. This period of education concludes with a rite of passage called the First Hunt, in which a girl must hunt and kill a certain dangerous animal all by herself to graduate into full womanhood.
Both Vandu female bands and male villages have social hierarchies which privilege elders as spiritual and political leaders who work in council. In general Vandu elders and more experienced individuals regardless of gender have prestige and authority over youth and inexperienced, but relations within the same age-set and experience level tend towards egalitarianism.
edited 22nd Feb '13 8:04:57 AM by Jabrosky