Feminist Anthropology

1462 Words 6 Pages
The feminist perspective on anthropology has, like in numerous other disciplines, run ‘parallel’ to the subject. The attempt to shift the paradigms has created some tension between the ideas of the feminist perspective and the existing archetypes of anthropology. However, feminist thinking in anthropology has reshaped the study of gender and has become somewhat accepted by mainstream social anthropologists. In this essay my aim is to explore the ways in which male-bias has been allowed to occur and how feminist thinking has affected the study of anthropology. It is my intention elaborate on the ideas where the feminist perspective has broken the parallel form and touched with particular subjects within the study of anthropology.
Male bias
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To gain greater understanding of a society it is imperative to attain your information from different sources within the community to include as many different perspectives as possible. Women’s viewpoints in anthropology have previously been underrepresented due to the common opinion that women’s roles within a society are not as important to the dynamic of the population. In some cases when women have been included in ethnographies it has only been through the voices of the men. In Levi-Strauss’s alliance theory, the women feature as mere voiceless exchangeable objects. This conclusion came about through lack of interaction with female members of the community. To counteract this inequality several anthropologists mirrored the actions of previous anthropologists, for example Margaret Mead chose to single out the women in Samoa to study adolescence. Mead has often been criticised for the lack of male interaction included in her work, despite the lack of female interaction included in the work of past anthropologists. Derek Freeman in particular set out to correct many of her findings. Feminism and anthropology, like copious amounts of other professions, have had numerous attempts to combine interests. There has been much resistance to this combination, despite the similarities within the two, “the proximation makes anthropologists’ resistance more poignant” (Strathern, 1987:277). These …show more content…
Despite the increase in feminist thinking within the study of anthropology, there is no obvious sign of bias being eradicated completely. The term male-bias can be mirrored with gender-bias, as it is possible for both genders to collect inaccurate data due to their gender and the gender of the people providing the information. An issue with overcoming gender-bias is that of the subconscious tendency we and other cultures have to alter our stance and wording on a subject depending on the gender of the person we are interacting with. All of these issues make it evident that until we eliminate gender-bias in western society we will not be able to gain an understanding of other societies without

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