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Chapter 2

Anthropology - Chapter 2 - Sex and Gender.docx

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McMaster University
Karen Slonim

Sex and GenderGender roles that people perform in their households and communitiesvalues and attitudes people have regarding men and women cultural categorySexwhether you are born male or female biological categoryGender identity how people internalize and enact attitudes and expectations associated with gender categoryGender construct gender model set of cultural assumptions about gender roles and values and relations between genders that people learn as members of their societies Every culture has ideas about roles that are appropriate for men and womenEvolutionary PerspectivesDNA evidence of human ancestors chimpanzees gorillas diverged 56 million years agoFossil evidence indicates hominid ancestors of modern humans australopithecines were 35 million years agoCould walk uprightCognitive complexity increased in ancestors to process information and solve problems brain became biggerWas dangerous to have babies with such big heads so women adapted to have larger pelvis than menEmphasis on hunting privileged males as major agents of human cultural advantagesMales represented as using intelligence and skills to provide food and make toolsFemales represented as passive and care for offspring or sickelderly people Man the hunter theory said bipedalism was adaptation so men could see prey animals over tall grasses and allow them to throw weaponsMargaret Ehrenberg said bipedalism was so hominid mothers could carry infantsCould not cling to them because of less hair and less grip in hands and feetMan the hunter said men were protectors of dependent females and childrenIn early human evolution female roles were reproduction food procuring social responsibilitiesFemales may have shaped the way men turned out by choosing the men they wanted to mate with and reproducing with those menEx Men who would share food and cooperate also protect them and childrenEven in australopithecines males and females would become interested in each other and mate with each otherChild would benefit from having father around to provide food and protection as well as teach them cultural knowledgeThe Cultural Construction of Gender Identity
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