SEX, GENDER and CULTURE: In anthropology we refer to: • “gender” as a culturally constructed category • “sex” as a biologically determined category. • Yet in other cultures such as, for example, • many Native American cultures, there is recognition of a third and sometimes fourth gender. Commonly a two spirit is someone who although biologically male chooses to adapt some similarities with women’s dress often creating their unique form of clothing. • A two spirit individual also takes on some of tasks commonly preformed by women. But the two spirit is regarded as special, an asset to the group, someone with a special spiritual connection who is revered as distinct and extraordinary. • Most two spirits begin to show signs of wishing this alternate path in life in childhood. • While there has been more evidence of biologically male two spirits, there are also individuals who although biologically female adapt male roles and forms of attire. • Being two spirit does not indicate that the individual is homosexual, a transvestite or a transsexual. The choice of sexual behavior and marriage seems to occur more on an individual basis rather than as part of the role of being a two spirit. For example, a biologically male two spirit may become a second wife to a man or perhaps not marry at all. • A two spirit individual who is biologically • female, if the two spirit chooses to do so, may marry another women and have intimate relations with her. To understand the two spirit status it is more productive to think of them as a unique gender and not someone who half male and half female or a biological male becoming a female or a biological female becoming a male. GENDER ROLES: • We recognize that there are globally some • • • common patterns in how cultures divide up work between women and men. Please consult the chart on p.145 of the textbook. Why do we have these common patterns of dividing labor by gender? There are several reasons: (1) The strength theory: • Men tend to get assigned work activities that require physical strength and mobilizing strength in burst of energy such as lifting heavy objects, hunting large animals, or clearing land. But women in some cultures also perform these activities. (2) The compatibility with childcare theory: • Women tend to assigned work activities that are compatible with caring for infants and young children. But men also do some of these same duties. (Men become full time craft specialists because these activities are not compatible with childcare. Cooking, for example, women cook dinner; men become chefs.) (3) The economy of effort theory: • Women and men tend to get assigned work activities that are located near each other. Women caretake children in the home so get assigned other activities that take place at home. (4) The expendability theory: • Men tend to get assigned more dangerous work because reproductively they are more expendable, i.e. one man may father many children but one woman may carry at most two children (twins) at a time. • Finally, when technology replaces human strength, when women have fewer children and can assign some childcare to others, a strict gender division of labor begins to disappear. MEASURING RELATIVE GENDER STATUS: • • • To measure degrees of gender stratification anthropologists commonly consider the following: how much importance a culture places on women relative to men and vice versa how power and authority is delegated between women and men what kinds of rights and responsibilities do women and men possess • In other words status is not a single concept. It is more productive to look at many different spheres of life. But remember the presence of informal influence may indicate simply the lack of real power to determine decisions. GENDER and PERSONALITY: • The many problematic studies in this area • show that globally as children males tend to be more aggressive and females more nurturing. This does not mean that males are aggressive and females passive; that females caretaking and males not. It is a relative tendency; Burbank’s work with Australian aborigines: women initiated aggression 43% of time; men 57% and used more lethal weapons. CULTURAL REGULATIONS OF SEXUALITY: • Some cultures encourage premarital sex • • as an important preparation for marriage. Others see chastity (i.e. no premarital sex especially for women) as linked to reputation and honor. On certain occasions some cultures view sexual activities as inappropriate, i.e. during pregnancy or as polluting, i.e. before a hunt. • Many cultures retain a double standard for sexual behavior with women having greater restraints than men; women are more likely to be held responsible for controlling sexual behavior. HOMOSEXUALITY: • Other cultures may approve of homosexuality as a phase in one’s life or as a companion to heterosexuality.