Maya Stela H, Copán.
Gender studies in ancient Maya culture and art often address the question of sexual identity.
Costume, which is gender distinctive among the modern Maya, has been a focus of attention and is usually assumed to be either masculine or feminine in archaeological contexts.
Masculine attire is generally represented as a hip cloth or loincloth, sometimes coupled with a short skirt. Feminine costume is typically a skirt worn to below the knee, sometimes accompanied by a long tunic-like huipil.
Occasionally in Maya art, the relationship between sexual identity and gender-marked costume is problematic when attempting to interpret the subject matter.
Stela H is an example of this. In an early account of the stela, Alfred P. Maudslay identified the skirted figure shown as a woman (1889-1902, 5:50). Subsequent work and the recovery of the inscriptions has determined that this monument actually represents Waxaklajuun Ub’aah K’awiil (18 Rabbit), the male ruler of Copán.
So why is he shown wearing the long skirt typical of women? One interpretation is that male rulers donned such “female” costumes for bloodletting ceremonies (Schele 1979). As argued by Andrea Stone (1988, 1991), such gender crossing is suggested in other aspects of Maya ceremonies.
Photo taken by Christine and John Fournier. Quoted segments from Traci Ardren’s Ancient Maya Women (2002).
we have stereotypes for aliens
we have stereotypes for things we don’t even know anything about
FINALLY SOMEONE SAID IT
maybe that’s why they won’t visit us
they think we’re racist
we are sorry aliens