Presentation on theme: "Kimmel, Chapter Three Cross-cultural Construction of Gender –Anthropologists, like biologists, come to their work with their own biases and will try to."— Presentation transcript:
Kimmel, Chapter Three Cross-cultural Construction of Gender –Anthropologists, like biologists, come to their work with their own biases and will try to support their beliefs or will unconsciously reaffirm their beliefs just as the biologists do. –Great variety of masculinities and femininities, more than can be accounted for from an essentialist biological perspective
Margaret Mead –Most important legacy: her insistence that Anthropology, through its probing of human similarities, differences and connections, should educate us all; and her insistence that it is personally and politically important to challenge the commonplace understandings of everyday life—to lead lives that are culturally thought- through.
Margaret Mead New Guinea cultures –Two with very little gender distinctions Arapesh: Utopian, cooperative; individualism was absent; men and women shared in domestic responsibilities Mundugamor: Cannibals and headhunters; both sexes were violent, neither seemed to like children (high infanticide— especially of males—and abuse), vengeful, and wealthy (conquest and population control) –One with pronounce gender distinctions Tchambuli: Patrilineal and polygynous –One sex who gossiped, shopped, dressed up, and nurtured the kids –One sex who were unadorned, worked to support the family, and held the power Men Women
Margaret Mead –Tchambuli: Men and women were seen as opposites; patrilineal polygynous. One sex (the men) liked to dress up and go shopping and gossip. One sex (the women) were the dominant economic providers Each sex thought biology determined their personalities and behavior
Margaret Mead All three cultures believed they were structured this way naturally, that their behaviors were based on the biologically- determined way that people of these sexes behaved
Division of Labor Most societies have a gender-based division of labor –Functionalism—at one time this gender-based division was necessary for the survival of the species As times change, the behaviors stay, in spite of need or reason As reasons for the difference change, they seem more ideologically necessary What occupations are biologically dependent upon one’s sex?
Theories of Gender Differentiation (and Male Domination) Marxist theories: –Marx and Engels –Capitalism creates the need or desire for private property, which leads to the importance of legitimacy and inheritance, which leads for strong government with rules and laws dedicated to that inheritance Leacock Sachs
Warfare theories –Harris –War and territory acquisition and protection lead to a culture where warriors are necessary and valued. To compel men to behave in this tradition, women and their work are devalued and held as rewards for ideal male behavior
Descent theories –Tiger and Fox –These theorists see the mother-child bond as natural and as excluding men. Men, then, they argue, must bond outside of areas where women function. Hunting, then, is not just for securing resources but for providing men with a female-free domain, which will encourage monogamy and male solidarity.
Alliance theories –Levi-Strauss –As men turn women into sex objects they bond socially, and the women’s fulfillment of their duties as wives cements the males’ relationships with each other
Determinants of Women’s Status Generally, the higher the gender differentiation, the higher the inequity –Child care: the more men participate, the higher the women’s status tends to be The more time men spend with children, the higher women’s status –Parent/child relationship: The closer the relationship between father and son, the higher the women’s status tends to be
Control of property: the more women retained control of property after marriage, the higher their status Male bonding: the more elaborate the male- bonding ritual, the lower the women’s status –Spatial segregation also follows this. The more separate the areas that women and men inhabit or work within, the lower the status of the women
The two central determinants are the man’s involvement with children and the woman’s retention of property after marriage Violence against women also decreases as these variable increase
Conclusions Male dominance is lower when men and women work together and labor is not sexually segregated Male dominance is higher when men control the resources: physical and ideological Capitalism and industrialization reduce women’s status and increase male dominance Demographically, the more men in relation to women (of marriageable ages), the lesser the women’s status
Gender Rituals Genital mutilations –Circumcision: male and female –Hemi-castration
Gender Diversity Several cultures have more than one gender Likewise, several cultures have different sexual practices Conclusion: It is likely that gender is not biologically-based
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