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SOC111 
Introduction to Anthropology 
GENDER
Gender 
• How are biology and culture expressed in 
human sex/gender systems? 
• How do gender, gender roles, 
and gender stratification 
correlate with other social, 
economic, and political variables? 
• What is sexual orientation, and how do 
sexual practices vary cross-culturally?
Sex and Gender 
• Because of that anthropologists study biology, 
society and culture, they are in a unique 
position to comment on nature (biological 
predispositions) and nurture (environment) as 
determinants of human behavior. 
• Women and men differ genetically : they 
are different not just in reproductive organs and 
secondary characteristics as voice, breasts or 
hair distribution, but also in average weight, 
height, strength and longevity.
The predominant anthropological 
position on sex-gender roles and 
biology 
• The biological nature of men and women 
(should be seen) not as a narrow 
enclosure limiting the human organism, 
but rather as a broad base upon which a 
variety of structures can be built. (Friedl 
1975)
Sex and Gender 
• Gender refers to the cultural 
construction of whether one is 
female, male or something else. 
• Gender roles differ with 
environment, economy, adaptive 
strategy and type of political system.
Sex and Gender 
• Gender roles: tasks and activities 
that a culture assigns to the sexes 
• Gender stereotypes: 
oversimplified, strongly held ideas 
of characteristics of men and women 
• Gender stratification: unequal 
distribution of rewards between men and 
women, reflecting their different positions 
in a social hierarchy
Recurrent Gender Patterns 
• The subsistence contributions of men and 
women are roughly equal cross-culturally. 
– In domestic activities, female labor dominates. 
– In extradomestic activities, male labor dominates. 
– Women are the primary caregivers, but men often 
play a role. 
– Men are less restricted in mating. 
– Double standards restrict women more than men 
and illustrate gender stratification. 
• Gender stratification is lower when men 
and women make roughly equal 
contributions to subsistence.
Gender Among Foragers 
• The Domestic–Public Dichotomy 
– The strong differentiation between home 
and the outside world is called the 
domestic–public dichotomy, 
or the private–public contrast. 
• Activities of the domestic sphere 
tend to be performed by women. 
• Activities of the public sphere 
tend to be restricted to men. 
–Gender stratification is less 
developed among foragers.
Gender Roles 
• Men are the usual 
hunters and warriors. 
When you give such 
tools and weapons to 
men, they make 
better hunters and 
fighters because they 
are bigger and 
stronger on the 
average then are 
women in the same 
population.
• Warfare and trade are two public arenas that 
can contribute to status inequality of males 
and females among food producers. 
• In foragers, the public and private spheres are 
least separate, hierarchy is least marked, 
aggression and competition are most 
discouraged and the rights, activities and 
spheres of influence of men and women 
overlap the most. 
• Our ancestors lived entirely by foraging until 
10.000 years ago. If there is any most natural 
form of human society, it is best, represented 
by foragers.
Gender Among Horticulturalists 
• What is descent? 
Hereditary derivation. 
• What is a descent group? 
A group of people whose social unity and 
solidarity are based on a belief in common 
ancestry. 
– Matrilineal descent: people 
join mother’s group at birth 
– Patrilineal descent: people have 
membership in the father’s group
• Patrilocality: couple lives in husband’s 
community 
• Matrilocality: couple lives in wife’s community 
Among societies with matrilineal descent and 
matrilocality, female status tend to be high. 
 Matrilineal and matrilocal systems tend to 
occur in societies where population pressure 
on strategic resources is minimal and warfare 
is infrequent. 
In matrilineal societies, women are the basis 
of the entire social structure.
Example to Matrilineal Societies 
• Iroquois society, a confederation of tribes in 
aboriginal New York. 
• For example, the Iroquois (women manage 
production and distribution, control alliances, 
make political decisions)
Gender Among Horticulturalists 
• Increased Gender Stratification— 
Patrilineal-Patrifocal Societies 
– Patrilineal-patrifocal complex: 
male supremacy is based on 
patrilineality, patrilocality, and warfare 
–Martin and Voorhies: The decline of 
matrilineality and spread of the 
patrilineal- patrifocal can be linked to 
pressure on resources.
Gender Among Horticulturalists 
• The patrilineal-patrilocal tends to have a 
sharp domestic-public dichotomy; men 
tend to dominate the prestige hierarchy. 
–Women do most of the cultivation, 
cooking, and raising children, but 
are isolated from the public domain. 
–Males dominate the public domain: 
politics, feasts, warfare
Gender Among Agriculturalists 
• Women typically lose roles as primary 
cultivators in an agriculture economy. 
– The advent of agriculture cut women off from 
production. 
– Belief systems started contrasting 
men’s valuable extradomestic (outside the 
home) with women’s domestic role. 
– Descent groups and polygny declined with 
agriculture and the nuclear family became 
more common.
Patriarchy and Violence 
• Patriarchy: a political system ruled by men in 
which women have inferior social and political 
status, including basic human rights. 
– Societies that feature a full-fledged patriarchy, 
with warfare and intervillage raiding. Such 
practices as dowry murders, female infanticide, 
and clitoridectomy exemplify patriarchy which 
extends from tribal societies to state societies 
such as India and Pakistan. 
– Isolated families and patrilineal social forms 
spread at expense of matrilineality
Patriarchy and Violence 
• With the spread of the women’s rights and 
human rights movements, attention to 
domestic violence and the abuse of women 
increased. 
• Laws have been passed and mediating 
institutions established. 
• Still domestic violence is a big social 
problem.
Gender and Industrialism 
• The domestic–public dichotomy has 
affected gender stratification in industrial 
societies. 
• Gender roles are changing rapidly in North 
America. 
– The traditional idea that a woman’s place 
is in the home developed among middle- and 
upper-class Americans as industrialism 
spread after 1900.
Gender and Industrialism 
• With industrialism, attitudes about gendered 
work and beliefs have varied with class and region 
in response to economic needs. 
• After 1900, European immigration produced a 
male labor force willing to work for wages lower 
than those of American born men. 
• Those immigrant men moved into factory jobs that 
previously had gone to women. 
• As machine tools and mass production further 
reduced the need for female labor, the notion that 
women were biologically unfit for factory work 
began to gain ground.
Gender and Industrialism 
• Development and change of women’s status in 
business world: 
Wartime shortages of men promoted the idea 
that work outside the home is women’s patriotic 
duty. 
 Inflation and the culture of consumption have 
also spurred female employment 
The steady increase in female paid employment 
since WWII, also reflects the baby boom and 
industrial expansion. 
 In 1960s, feminist movements.
Sexual Orientation 
• Sexual orientation: a person’s 
habitual sexual attraction to, 
and sexual activities with 
– Persons of opposite sex (heterosexuality) 
– Persons of same sex (homosexuality) 
– Both sexes (bisexuality) 
– Asexuality: indifference toward 
or lack of attraction to members of either sex
Sexual Orientation 
• Recently in U.S., the tendency has 
been to see sexual orientation 
as fixed and biologically based. (genes 
and hormones) 
• Experiences during growth and 
development effects sexual orientation. 
• Culture always plays a role in molding 
individual sexual urges to a collective 
norm.

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Gender

  • 1. SOC111 Introduction to Anthropology GENDER
  • 2. Gender • How are biology and culture expressed in human sex/gender systems? • How do gender, gender roles, and gender stratification correlate with other social, economic, and political variables? • What is sexual orientation, and how do sexual practices vary cross-culturally?
  • 3.
  • 4. Sex and Gender • Because of that anthropologists study biology, society and culture, they are in a unique position to comment on nature (biological predispositions) and nurture (environment) as determinants of human behavior. • Women and men differ genetically : they are different not just in reproductive organs and secondary characteristics as voice, breasts or hair distribution, but also in average weight, height, strength and longevity.
  • 5. The predominant anthropological position on sex-gender roles and biology • The biological nature of men and women (should be seen) not as a narrow enclosure limiting the human organism, but rather as a broad base upon which a variety of structures can be built. (Friedl 1975)
  • 6. Sex and Gender • Gender refers to the cultural construction of whether one is female, male or something else. • Gender roles differ with environment, economy, adaptive strategy and type of political system.
  • 7. Sex and Gender • Gender roles: tasks and activities that a culture assigns to the sexes • Gender stereotypes: oversimplified, strongly held ideas of characteristics of men and women • Gender stratification: unequal distribution of rewards between men and women, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy
  • 8. Recurrent Gender Patterns • The subsistence contributions of men and women are roughly equal cross-culturally. – In domestic activities, female labor dominates. – In extradomestic activities, male labor dominates. – Women are the primary caregivers, but men often play a role. – Men are less restricted in mating. – Double standards restrict women more than men and illustrate gender stratification. • Gender stratification is lower when men and women make roughly equal contributions to subsistence.
  • 9. Gender Among Foragers • The Domestic–Public Dichotomy – The strong differentiation between home and the outside world is called the domestic–public dichotomy, or the private–public contrast. • Activities of the domestic sphere tend to be performed by women. • Activities of the public sphere tend to be restricted to men. –Gender stratification is less developed among foragers.
  • 10. Gender Roles • Men are the usual hunters and warriors. When you give such tools and weapons to men, they make better hunters and fighters because they are bigger and stronger on the average then are women in the same population.
  • 11. • Warfare and trade are two public arenas that can contribute to status inequality of males and females among food producers. • In foragers, the public and private spheres are least separate, hierarchy is least marked, aggression and competition are most discouraged and the rights, activities and spheres of influence of men and women overlap the most. • Our ancestors lived entirely by foraging until 10.000 years ago. If there is any most natural form of human society, it is best, represented by foragers.
  • 12. Gender Among Horticulturalists • What is descent? Hereditary derivation. • What is a descent group? A group of people whose social unity and solidarity are based on a belief in common ancestry. – Matrilineal descent: people join mother’s group at birth – Patrilineal descent: people have membership in the father’s group
  • 13. • Patrilocality: couple lives in husband’s community • Matrilocality: couple lives in wife’s community Among societies with matrilineal descent and matrilocality, female status tend to be high.  Matrilineal and matrilocal systems tend to occur in societies where population pressure on strategic resources is minimal and warfare is infrequent. In matrilineal societies, women are the basis of the entire social structure.
  • 14. Example to Matrilineal Societies • Iroquois society, a confederation of tribes in aboriginal New York. • For example, the Iroquois (women manage production and distribution, control alliances, make political decisions)
  • 15. Gender Among Horticulturalists • Increased Gender Stratification— Patrilineal-Patrifocal Societies – Patrilineal-patrifocal complex: male supremacy is based on patrilineality, patrilocality, and warfare –Martin and Voorhies: The decline of matrilineality and spread of the patrilineal- patrifocal can be linked to pressure on resources.
  • 16. Gender Among Horticulturalists • The patrilineal-patrilocal tends to have a sharp domestic-public dichotomy; men tend to dominate the prestige hierarchy. –Women do most of the cultivation, cooking, and raising children, but are isolated from the public domain. –Males dominate the public domain: politics, feasts, warfare
  • 17. Gender Among Agriculturalists • Women typically lose roles as primary cultivators in an agriculture economy. – The advent of agriculture cut women off from production. – Belief systems started contrasting men’s valuable extradomestic (outside the home) with women’s domestic role. – Descent groups and polygny declined with agriculture and the nuclear family became more common.
  • 18. Patriarchy and Violence • Patriarchy: a political system ruled by men in which women have inferior social and political status, including basic human rights. – Societies that feature a full-fledged patriarchy, with warfare and intervillage raiding. Such practices as dowry murders, female infanticide, and clitoridectomy exemplify patriarchy which extends from tribal societies to state societies such as India and Pakistan. – Isolated families and patrilineal social forms spread at expense of matrilineality
  • 19. Patriarchy and Violence • With the spread of the women’s rights and human rights movements, attention to domestic violence and the abuse of women increased. • Laws have been passed and mediating institutions established. • Still domestic violence is a big social problem.
  • 20. Gender and Industrialism • The domestic–public dichotomy has affected gender stratification in industrial societies. • Gender roles are changing rapidly in North America. – The traditional idea that a woman’s place is in the home developed among middle- and upper-class Americans as industrialism spread after 1900.
  • 21. Gender and Industrialism • With industrialism, attitudes about gendered work and beliefs have varied with class and region in response to economic needs. • After 1900, European immigration produced a male labor force willing to work for wages lower than those of American born men. • Those immigrant men moved into factory jobs that previously had gone to women. • As machine tools and mass production further reduced the need for female labor, the notion that women were biologically unfit for factory work began to gain ground.
  • 22. Gender and Industrialism • Development and change of women’s status in business world: Wartime shortages of men promoted the idea that work outside the home is women’s patriotic duty.  Inflation and the culture of consumption have also spurred female employment The steady increase in female paid employment since WWII, also reflects the baby boom and industrial expansion.  In 1960s, feminist movements.
  • 23. Sexual Orientation • Sexual orientation: a person’s habitual sexual attraction to, and sexual activities with – Persons of opposite sex (heterosexuality) – Persons of same sex (homosexuality) – Both sexes (bisexuality) – Asexuality: indifference toward or lack of attraction to members of either sex
  • 24. Sexual Orientation • Recently in U.S., the tendency has been to see sexual orientation as fixed and biologically based. (genes and hormones) • Experiences during growth and development effects sexual orientation. • Culture always plays a role in molding individual sexual urges to a collective norm.