Utwe Christmas Pohnpei Dress Issues

A debate over the exact style of the dress the women in the Pohnpei-Kosrae community arose. The two basic styles, nearly indistinguishable during the marching, are seen in detail below. The debate among the women over the matter, and whether it mattered at all, quickly divided on age lines. The result was a tussle over dress styles that was actually masking a power struggle between a smaller group of older, senior, women leaders and younger, untitled, but more numerous women and girls. The community elders demanded that the young girls respect the choices they were making, the younger women found strength in unity and argued against the style choices the elders were making. Eventually a male elder forged a compromise and the women agreed to disagree and wore two slightly different styles. There are actually a number of sub-variations on the two styles including some hybrids which went unphotographed.

The key differences, hard to notice in the flurry of the marching, were the double-layered top and sleeve seen on the left below versus a single layered top seen on the right. The left alos featured a decorative white flower and small white string-like loops.

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Differences in the bottom hem can be seen below.

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