The Feminist Perspective Of Anthropology Essay

The Feminist Perspective Of Anthropology Essay

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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 range of lives and experiences. (Barrett, 2009)
To reflect upon the contributions the feminist perspective has made to anthropology, it’s relation to ‘The Anthropology of Women’ must first be understood. Initially, during the 1970’s when The Anthropology of Women first began to appear, it is widely acknowledged that a ‘Stir and Mix’ approach was taken to introducing women to the study of anthropology. Whereby it simply tried to include the study of the roles of women in addition to the already in depth study of men. (Barrett, 2009). Although, it must be acknowledged, before this, women were studied in anthropology, just not the extent or depth of the male sex (Moore, 1988). One explanation for this division between the study of men and the study of women is given by Ardener (1975), he splits it into 2 parts, the technical and the analytical. The technical being that ethnographers tended to communicate more with men because they are usually representatives for their society and the analytical being that even when women do speak they are silenced...


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...e inequality between men and women (which will be explored in greater depth later). By identifying this ‘male bias’ feminist anthropology could begin to break down ‘fundamental truths’ which were held by anthropologists and in turn truths held by society, by looking at them from another point of


view. For example, the idea that women are ’naturally’ better at caring for a child because they are biologically programmed this way (Rosaldo, 1974). This is a hugely important factor in the feminist anthropology perspective as it is key to understanding the differences and similarities between societies (and women) without reducing them to simple patterns or truths which we impose upon them (Rapp, 1979). Furthermore, this way of thinking is beneficial to the study of anthropology as it allows us to move forward from restrictive ideas of what it is to be a man or a woman.

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