Anthropology and Gender Essay

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Though women have played an integral part in the history of the discipline of anthropology, it was not until the early 1970’s that the field of anthropology and gender, or feminist anthropology emerged. Sex and gender roles have always been a vital part of any ethnographic study, but the contributors of this theory began to address the androcentric nature of anthropology itself. The substantial gap in information concerning the study of women was perceived as a male bias, a prejudice made more apparent because what little women-centered fieldwork was done received insufficient attention from the academic community. While anthropology was considered one of the more egalitarian fields of study, it was dominated by white, Western males who …show more content…
One of Slocum’s contemporaries, Eleanor Leacock (1922-1987) chose to differently analyze gender research, focusing on distinctions in power as it relates to society, the economy, and politics (2011: 397). She concentrated on North American natives and aboriginal Australians and their changing gender roles as the result of Western influence. Another feminist trend gave emphasis to gender identities, analyzing the ways in which race, class and gender converge. David Valentine, born in 1966, illustrates such an emphasis in his work which concerns the cross-cultural variations on the westernized concepts of gender identity and sexuality, by which we categorize sexual desire (2011:398). As evidenced by the variety of emphases within the theory, feminist anthropologists were fully committed to assessing all previously ignored facets of the subjugated female within numerous cultures worldwide.
Several decades ago the idea of women as subordinate was considered to be a universality by the aforementioned white, Western male anthropologists who lead the field. Despite an anthropologist’s endeavor to be unbiased, the fact is these traditional anthropologists came from a culture where many aspects of human life were male dominant. Though many studied
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