Anthropology and Gender Essay

Anthropology and Gender Essay

Length: 1582 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Though women have played an integral part in the history of the discipline of anthropology, it was not until the early 1970’s that the field of anthropology and gender, or feminist anthropology emerged. Sex and gender roles have always been a vital part of any ethnographic study, but the contributors of this theory began to address the androcentric nature of anthropology itself. The substantial gap in information concerning the study of women was perceived as a male bias, a prejudice made more apparent because what little women-centered fieldwork was done received insufficient attention from the academic community. While anthropology was considered one of the more egalitarian fields of study, it was dominated by white, Western males who focused primarily on the study of men within a society. The women seen in fieldwork were merely identified in regard to their gender specific roles, something these feminist anthropologists hoped to rectify. Those women deserved to be accurately portrayed for the part they played in the human experience.
The 1960’s and 70’s belonged to a tumultuous period in American history, characterized by an array of social and political movements including anti-Vietnam war activism, the origination of a “counterculture” which strove for societal liberation, the civil rights movement, and the rise of feminism (McGee & Warms 2011: 396). Women began to question the limitations of their gender, rallying to promote their own rights and interests. Women’s liberation became encompassed within a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, exploring themes found cross-culturally such as patriarchy, discrimination, and objectification. In addition to the cultural anthropological focus on gender inequality, feminis...


... middle of paper ...


... and views of studied societies. Basic anthropological assumptions were questioned when it became evident that the male-centered field had neglected to document women and gender as important aspects of social life. While it is clear that several feminist anthropologists sought to correct the imbalance of knowledge by focusing solely on women and their significant impact upon the development of humankind, the theory has evolved to focus on gender as it relates to power, class, societal construction, and sexuality among others.



Works Cited

Kuklick, Henrika. 2008 Women in the Field in the Twentieth Century: Revolution, Involution, Devolution? A New History of Anthropology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Pub.
277-292

McGee, R. Jon, and Richard L. Warms. 2011 Culture and Personality. Anthropological Theory: an Introductory History. New York: McGraw-Hill. 396-436

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Developments in the Field of Anthropology Regarding Gender Essay

- Introduction Prior to my enrollment at the University of Manitoba I, like many other individuals, interpreted gender as a synonymous word to sex. This false interpretation stems from my upbringing in a French Catholic community where I was taught to interpret gender as a static and bounded binary concept with two fixed options: male or female. Consequently, I have yet begun to understand the multidimensional arrays of gender identity, gender expression, and gender roles. Non-binary gender expressions exist all over the world, and have been recorded throughout time by historians, sociologists, and anthropologist....   [tags: inuit community, homosexuality]

Powerful Essays
3197 words (9.1 pages)

Gender And Sexuality : Approaches From Cultural Anthropology Essay

- In her 2002 book, “Interpreting Gender and Sexuality: Approaches from Cultural Anthropology,” Alma Gottlieb gave insight into the roles of gender and sexuality in different cultures and how these roles have developed over time. Her book contrast gender stereotypes and how they are changing in Western nations like America, but are stationary in places like Afganistan. She dabbles on the topics of religious and cultural beliefs, and how these functions reflect societal opinions about masculinity and femininity....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Sociology, Culture]

Powerful Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

Postmodern Multicultural Society Essay

- The evolution of a postmodern multicultural society places a premium on increased understanding of issues surrounding culture and ethnic identity. Anthropology has traditionally defined culture as the sum total of artifacts (language, customs, tools/technology, institutions, etc.) that make up a human society. From a psychological perspective, it is useful to focus on the processes of symbolic communication that sanction the coherence of human societies and enable them to evolve such a variety of artifacts....   [tags: Anthropology, Culture, Gender Roles]

Powerful Essays
1765 words (5 pages)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Essay

- My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a film made in 2004 that evidently portrays several sociological concepts throughout the film. This film highly demonstrates the sociological topics of gender and culture all through the movie. The roles of gender, gender stratification as well as gender stereotyping are shown during the film. As for culture, the film displays subculture, counterculture, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism and lastly, cultural diffusion. My Big Fat Greek Wedding focuses on a 30 year old Greek women, Toula Portokalos, who is single and works at her family’s restaurant....   [tags: Culture, Sociology, Gender role, Anthropology]

Powerful Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

The Feminist Perspective Of Anthropology Essay

- The feminist perspective of anthropology, as the question alludes to, has made many contributions to the world of anthropology. Including, but not limited to: the idea of ‘male bias’, the study of women, and the study of gender. Within these broad topics of feminist anthropology, further contributions can be seen, for instance the deconstruction and exploration of naturalisation and the universality of inequality. Although, ultimately it could be argued that the biggest contribution of the feminist perspective of anthropology is the existence of an alternative perspective, one that strives for a less objective reality and aims to open a dialogue enabling the exploration of a hugely diverse...   [tags: Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural anthropology]

Powerful Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Child Language Acquisition, Language and Gender and Attitudes to Language

- Prior to enrolling in Anthropology 104, my only knowledge about language was that, English is a necessity in my life to be successful and Hausa is a necessity to be able to communicate with individuals of my ethnicity. There was not a single time in my life that I thought any further into language and the driving factors behind language. I walked into lecture the very first day with a neutral opinion and now I can proudly say the knowledge I have gained from this course is one that will be used and expanded for a lifetime....   [tags: Linguistic Anthropology]

Powerful Essays
1599 words (4.6 pages)

Gender Inequality Throughout History Essay

- Today's world, as much as we pride ourselves to live in the 21st century, is still a world where gender inequality is very much present. It has taken mankind many thousands of years to reach the point where we are today, when women are almost on equal foot with man, regarding education, choice of profession, rights and privileges. It was uncommon not many decades ago for women to pursue any academic path, women in science were very rare, and those who did manage to put their foot in the door had to deal constantly with men who were telling them that they were in the wrong place, and that they should conform themselves with the gender role that society has cut out for them....   [tags: anthropology, prehistory]

Powerful Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

Ethnographic Fieldwork : Cultural Anthropology Essay

- 1). Ethnographic fieldwork is very important to the practice of cultural anthropology. In a 2 to 3 page essay discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this research method. In doing so, please do the following: a) Define ethnographic fieldwork and explain why it is important to cultural anthropology. Ethnographic fieldwork is characteristic of cultural anthropology (Sprandley, 6) . Ethnography entails theory of cultures. Ethnographic fieldwork is important to cultural anthropology to undercover the unknown principles of another way of life so they can enlightened the people through it to understand different way of life and the situation another way of life are living....   [tags: Anthropology, Culture, Cultural anthropology]

Powerful Essays
1755 words (5 pages)

Applied Anthropology: Domains of Application Essay

- What is applied anthropology and how can it be applied to almost every facet of society. The answer is obvious when we look at what the field of anthropology encompasses. Anthropology, as defined by the American Anthropological Association is, “the study of humans, past and present.” In the United States, anthropologists are educated in one of the four areas, sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Active within these four subfields is Applied Anthropology, which is the application of the method and theory of an anthropological subfield to the analysis and solution of real world situations and practical problems....   [tags: Physical Anthropology]

Powerful Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Anthropology Essay

- Anthropology Works Cited Missing Anthropology is a discipline studying flux and change in human communities and definitions of identity, mirroring the dynamic play of modernist reconceptualizations of meaning. As an academic discipline, anthropology demands a realization of the interconnectedness between human groups, a heightened abstraction of vocabulary and tools with which to articulate these connections, and self reflexive sensitivity to its history. In this same vein, modernism, as a movement of avant-garde ideas and art forms, draws community to study of itself, demands its own vocabulary of critique, and harkens back to the history of events that prompted the movement....   [tags: Anthropological Culture Essays]

Free Essays
367 words (1 pages)