ANTH 331 Lecture Notes - Bacha Posh, Gender Apartheid, Matriarchy

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25 Jan 2014

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Movie: The End of Men
- don’t have to examine masculinity because it is the generic form
- what a “man” is has been remarkably constant- brave, loyal, etc.
- a man is the provider and protector of his fam
- being a provider was the index of measuring your manliness- it trumped all other
goals- to fail in this is to fail in life
- to lose ones job is to lose your masculinity
- wallstreet worker- bank closed his division and lost his job- he didn’t tell his wife
right away, felt numb
- crash happened hard times for men happened dreams dyin
- industrial hardland is another time when dreams crashed
oSlipped into extinction
oAuto industry died
oUsed to be that just need diploma
oChallenges men faced used to seem remote in the industrial hardland-
middle class man now a days has much more in common
oPeriod of time that if you got a degree you would have a job- wasn’t true
100 years ago and isn’t as true today
- To be a man means to have control
oThus they should be privileged and get certain advantages
- Men fear not being real men even today
- Rise of female worker was at its peak in 2010- crossed the 50% threshold-
became majority of workforce
oIf men are not better than women, then who are they? So much of their
masculinity is not being female
- the structure of a mans job becomes the structure of his life- without it he is lost…
- economic collapse could not have come at a worse time (2008)- many men
accumulated lots of debt to reach a certain standard- what once came easily to
their parents was now not
o50’s model was unattainable
ocosts are great, level of consumption is increasing, and to maintain this
requires a sea of borrowed money
o6 billion credit card applications were sent out last year
oexploded in 2008
orecession destroyed middle class family dreams- caused many divorces
omarried men who get fired have a higher chance of divorce
oaffects couples who don’t support each other well most (typical males are
supposed to be self sufficient and so this can disrupt order)
- a mans job brings him prestige and respect, if this changes it can affect his self
esteem and affect how his wife/partner sees him
- men are ultimately betrayed by the model of masculinity that they swallowed
ofoolish enough to buy into this picture
o“just be a man and get a job”
- men feel like they are letting their whole family down when they can’t maintain a
good paying job
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omen as protector and provider
othe man feels as if he is not a man anymore
owomen in the same position feel bad, but don’t feel like less than a woman
- value of being home with family is important, more important to some than
having a consuming job
- mens embrace of fatherhood is one of the most significant developments to occur
as of late
- in the past, role of father was to provide financial security – psychologically and
often psychically not present
- push came from outside for men to become more involved fathers, but since has
been embraced
- new kinds of relationships btw men and their work/family/selves
- for centuries, the question “what is it to be a man” was always easily answered-
no longer
oshaken by wave of economic and social change
oleaving men with the task of discovering a new sort of manhood and a new
definition of masculinity
owhat does future man look like? – less polarization- equality- more
realistic and true to self!
- what has been gained?
oIn the end, the eco crisis has brought things to a boil and now a close- old
archetypes of masculinity are giving way
oNot everyone believes the old masculine virtues are obsolete tho
oSome traditional masculine traits are positive, and should be kept
(protecting those we love, strength, etc.)
oSome say it is now “the woman’s time”… tho cant have society where
women are prospering and men floundering- must maintain equality
- old defintions of masculinity are bad for women, children AND men themselves
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Movie in weird Room- Asante Market Women
- Asante – in Ghana
- Women in groups with a queen mother- Oba
- Tomato section and Yam wholesale area- Yam’s are crucial in their diet so this
area is very important
- Queen mother is headwoman- she has all say and keeps everything under control
and running well
- Plantain section is growing fast as well
- Queen mothers authority depends on how they got that position- some get their
position from courting important men- some are elected
- Delegates price fixing to elder members of the group
- Prices are higher and bargaining fiercer for produce that is not produced in that
area- such as tomatoes
- Can be overthrown- can use political influence to maintain position as queen
mother- equilibrium
- “if there was no queen mother there would be chaos” – queen mother
- only women buying and selling- “men buy gunpowder not vegetables”
- “if one day your husband dies, you can look after your children still” -
matriarchal society- inherited from mothers
othis means if a husband dies, his property goes not to his wife but his
sisters family! Matriarchy
- during the funeral they make business and political contacts, but also enjoy the
- in every village there is a queen mother who elects the village chief
- most men have little power and can gain status with child bearing or age
- Asante women live separately from their husbands
- Polygamy- useful for Asante people- “if things go wrong with one wife, youre in
oAlso menstruating women can not cook for their families- need more than
one wife
oOne wife can watch children and others can go to market, etc.
- not romantic love- marriage is practical
- most important relationship for a women is with her children and her mother
- wives inevitably fight, husband judges the case- or find an elder to give input and
stop wives from fighting- husbands get outside perspective to stop wives from
thinking he is picking sides
owhoever is found guilty has to pay a fine- eggs perhaps
- “youre husband is not from your family- like a crash of two trains- cant push your
ideas on him- polygamy is wrong but what can us women do?”
- most marriages are not happy so women do not care too much when their
husbands get another wife
- some men pay compensation to their wives in order to get a new wife- then the
wives don’t have reason to complain
- some husbands rotate who they sleep with, with some it is random
- some men deny their children- seems like lots of dead beat dads
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