Anthropology: Cultural Norms Essay

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Anthropology: Cultural Norms

Before taking this class, I often thought that our advanced society was the standard in which to measure all other societies from, but after reviewing the material in this course, it is impossible to make such a comparison. Many of the people in a culture similar to the U.S. would probably find most of the cultures we have studied to be “slow”, strange, or undesirable. In fact, it seems that many of the societies actually prefer to live the way they do and accept it as normal. “Normal” is a relative term, and it is difficult to establish evidence to label a culture or its characteristics abnormal. What may seem to work here often would be disastrous to other cultures.

Our society stresses
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Here, by sacrificing yourself with the help of others, the work gets done and everyone benefits from it, because no one person could provide everything necessary to survive (over an extended period of time). This society flourishes with people that are willing to live together and help each other out, even at the expense of personal prosperity or privacy.

The behaviors practiced by a culture, especially those concerning the treatment of men and women in a society, are reflective of how a society views its members, both by age and gender. Many societies, such as rural China and Taiwana, view their women as inferior, and the men dominate them. Women are basically powerless and at the will of their husbands. Viewing women as inferior to men often stems from the idea that a man’s work is important and a woman’s work, mainly around the house, is unimportant. This severely hinders a woman’s ability to reach their potential in both the household and society. The !Kung San and the Mbuti hold a woman’s work as a great asset and value it. It is no surprise that these societies respect both men and women as one and the same. This is portrayed by the Mbuti’s tug-of-war games between the men and the women in which neither side dominates the other, and the game ends in a truce with laughter on both sides. This is to teach the children that men and women are both equally important.
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