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Lecture 4

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Cultural Relativism, Third Gender, Margaret Mead

Course Code
Tristan Carter

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Gender roles
roles that a culture traditionally assigns to men and women
differing degrees of overlap
often status impactions
different by culture (to degrees)
culturally constructed NOT natural
Gender roles performed via behaviour,jobs etc…
Normative behaviour through socialization and naturalization
you are for example giving a girl and barbie and a boy a toy car or truck
it becomes normal that a girl watches girl stuff or a boy watches boy stuff etc…
Tom Boy
a woman or a girl who acts like a boy including wearing boy clothes,playing with boy toys
“connected with connection of rudeness and impropriety”
Gender norms can reverse/blur at specific historical moments
woman started to work once WW2 started than the US government started to encourage
woman to work at “manly jobs”
Cultures are not static, nor are gender roles
SEXISM- to deny these possibilities is to prejudice or discrimination bases on a persons sex or
The spatial configuration of gender relations
A menstrual woman as impure,dirty,sick-common taboo
From gender roles to gender(power) relations
interactions between men and woman in private,public,and ritual spaces
can reflect differences in status prestige and power
some societies relatively equal,despite different roles in life
in many societies male dominance
In a male-dominated culture
men considered superior,more capable,intelligent,or spiritually endowed
more prestigious/powerful roles
at home power over activity of wives
Extreme forms of male dominance can be reflected in rape or physical violence
where strongly patriarchal societies,ir almost all power in hands of men
Gender and economic disparity
Woman paid directly,but less than men
empowerment/village tension
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The Gender Pay Gap
average difference between mens and women aggregate hourly earnings
various “education,preferred jobs…”= cultural pressures
most low-paid workers are woman
Canada = 72-85 cents to the dollar
on average in the western countries woman are paid get less these things don't just happen
in the non developed villages
In terms of Anthropology there is zero evidence that there was a male dominance therefore this
was not natural
Feminist critiquer in anthropology (Ruth Benedict)
Traditional focus on “mens work”
1970 anthropology of women inequalities, roles,and gender contracts in different societies
cultural relativism leads to critically reflect ways of being in West/elsewhere
Margaret Mead
Taught at Barnard by Benedict
studied attitudes towards sex in S.Pacific SE Asia
Developed cultural relativist position
Sex and Temperament in three primitive societies
Cornerstone of feminist thought
claimed females dominant in area of Papua New Guinea
patriarchy NOT universal/natural
Arapesh: pacifists,equal child -rearing duties,shared garden plots
Mundugumour:women/men equally warlike
Tchambuli: men primped,women worked
Mead first to show gender is culturally constructed
Is male dominance universal? [NO]
long-held that most societies women NEVER truly equal to men
Enthnographies suggest that some cases of egalitarian societies - why so rate?
Male scholar influence (bias reporting)
Binary :”relating yo, composed of, or involving two things”
Case Study: “Two-spirits”—A Third Gender
status marked with rituals
powerful:heal,tell future,mourning rituals , mediators, arranged marriages
preform “opposite” economic duties (e.g. female hunters,male sewers)
sex and marriage followed biologically
sexual relations NOT views as homo- or heterosexual,distinct
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gender equality key element in these societies
pattern? no socio economic correlates,through limited hunting
dies out in contact period:US/Canadian legal/cultural normative
Rituals/Rites of passage
A ritual(celebration) that is performed to mark the transition on an individuals status
culturally specific markers/acts
Case Study: Third gender in past (Minoan) societies
Patrilineal - a culture wealth,property,rights,titles are inherited along the male line
Patrilocal- upon marriage a husband moves into the household of her husbands family
KEY TERM: Kinship
Web of social relationships that form an important art of the lives most humans in most societies
Social affinities or links— through birth relations,marriage
Different kinship systems by culture
Rules of inheritance and succession
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