Social Inequality Between Men and Women Essay

Social Inequality Between Men and Women Essay

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There are many forms of social inequality that can be analyzed in the study of anthropology. One of these is the social inequality between men and women. Though gender is studied relatively commonly in the field of anthropology, it is not often looked at through the lens of social inequality. The observations of Sarah Lamb and Deborah Tannen in their articles, "The Politics of Dirt and Gender: Body Techniques in Bengali India," and "Who's Interrupting?: Issues of Dominance and Control," respectively, lend a great deal of information to the topic at hand, as does my general observations of the conversations and traditions that occur in the sociocultural setting of the family dinner table. The social inequalities between men and women are often rationalized by the stereotypes that are perpetuated in their respective societies. However, there is an interesting wrinkle here: the stereotypes are different! So, which one is closer to the true inherent nature of men and women?

Some of the ways that the inequalities are rationalized and held in place within the culture are by referring to the innate differences between males and females. In Lamb's account of the use of dirt in India, she mentions how the innate gender differences are considered in India to be not only psychological and physical for the obvious differences in endowment, but, as a North Indian saying goes: "Women are like unglazed earthen water jugs, which are permeable and become easily contaminated to such depth that they cannot be purified. Men are like impermeable brass jugs, which are difficult to contaminate and easy to purify" (Lamb 221). The fact that men and women are both being compared to jugs indicate that they have approximately the same form, but ...


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...s sports and food while the women frequently discuss school or work and shopping. The two common subjects that most often overlap between the genders are television and musical theater. While I do not believe that the members of my family accurately represent their gender cohorts in the rest of our society, they are yet another example of how diverse members of the same group can be in terms of behavior and inequality. Even though men and women are not specifically considered to have inequality at the dinner table, there is a perceived notion that the opposite sex has more power- this perpetuates equality in that everyone believes themselves to be the underdog, and is thus on the same page. If only men and women around the world could be as equal as Americans are at the dinner table, there would be much less oppression and the world would be a much safer place.

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