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. Due to my lack of knowledge on the topic of gender I have decided to do a literature review on Inuit gender. This will allow me to familiarize myself with this much nuanced concept that is very much all around us.
This literature review will be divided in three sections. In the first part of this paper I will provide an explanation of the gradual shift of our societies understanding of gender. This will be followed by general definitions of the main concepts that I will discuss in the subsequent part of the paper. In the second section I will present a literature review of the limited contemporary works that treat the topic of Inuit gender. Finally I will end with a few closing remarks.
Developments in the Field of Anthropology Regarding Gender
Recent anthropological works reject the idea that the terms gender and sex are interchangeable. According to Frances Pine (2000: 319), today ‘‘sex is generally taken to refer to the anatomical, biological and physiological characteristics of female and male bodies, and gender to the culturally specific symbolic articulations and elaboration of these differences’’. This said it ...
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...rd gender as all authors who discussed this topic referenced Bernard Saladin d’Anglure work (the man who established this area of study) and did not bring forward opposing views. I would have liked to have access to some testimonies of children who grew up learning the opposing gender roles. It would have been interesting to hear about their experience and who that has affected their perception of self. I would have also liked to have known if reverse socialization was common and if it persists today. Unfortunately I had not found any data on this. I also did not find any literature that discusses homosexuality or bisexual behavior in Inuit communities past or present. I believe that this would be an interesting area of study as traditionally the Inuit perception of gender was quite open. I wonder if this perception on gender has changed since colonialization.
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