11 Gender and Sexuality

This is an adaptation of:

Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Second Edition) 

by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González

Chapter Authors:

Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, San Jose State University

Tami Blumenfield, Yunnan University

Susan Harper, Texas Woman’s University

Abby Gondek

Presentation Slides by James Sera

Discovering Cultural Anthropology shares and adapts this work under the CC BY-NC 4.0 copyright license


Learning Objectives

• Identify ways in which culture shapes sex/gender and sexuality.
• Describe ways in which gender and sexuality organize and structure the societies in which we live.
• Assess the range of possible ways of constructing gender and sexuality by sharing examples from different cultures, including small-scale societies.
• Analyze how anthropology as a discipline is affected by gender ideology and gender norms.


Anthropologists are fond of pointing out that much of what we take for granted as “natural” in our lives is actually cultural—it is not grounded in the natural world or in biology but invented by humans. Because culture is invented, it takes different forms in different places and changes over time in those places. Living in the twenty-first century, we have witnessed how rapidly and dramatically culture can change, from ways of communicating to the emergence of same-sex marriage. Similarly, many of us live in culturally diverse settings and experience how varied human cultural inventions can be.
We readily accept that clothing, language, and music are cultural—invented, created, and alterable—but often find it difficult to accept that gender and sexuality are not natural but deeply embedded in and shaped by culture.

We struggle with the idea that the division of humans into two and only two categories, “male” and “female,” is not universal, that “male” and “female” are cultural concepts that take different forms and have different meanings cross-culturally. Similarly, human sexuality, rather than being simply natural is one of the most culturally significant, shaped, regulated, and symbolic of all human capacities. The concept of humans as either “heterosexual” or “homosexual” is a culturally and
historically specific invention that is increasingly being challenged in the United States and elsewhere. Part of the problem is that gender has a biological component, unlike other types of cultural inventions such as a sewing machine, cell phone, or poem. We do have bodies and there are some male and female differences, including in reproductive capacities and roles, albeit far fewer than we have been taught. Similarly, sexuality, sexual desires and responses, are partially rooted in human natural capacities.

However, in many ways, sexuality and gender are like food. We have a biologically rooted need to eat to survive and we have the capacity to enjoy eating. What constitutes “food,” what is “delicious” or “repulsive,” the contexts and meanings that surround food and human eating—those are cultural. Many potentially edible items are not “food” (rats, bumblebees, and cats in the United States, for example), and the concept of “food” itself is embedded in elaborate conventions about eating: how, when, with whom, where, “utensils,” for what purposes? A “romantic dinner” at a “gourmet restaurant” is a complex cultural invention.
In short, gender and sexuality, like eating, have biological components. But cultures, over time, have erected complex and elaborate edifices around them, creating systems of meaning that often barely resemble what is natural and innate. We experience gender and sexuality largely through the prism of the culture or cultures to which we have been exposed and in which we have been raised. In this chapter, we are asking you to reflect deeply on the ways in which what we have been taught to think of as natural, that is, our sex, gender, and our sexuality, is, in fact, deeply embedded in and shaped by our culture. We challenge you to explore exactly which, if any, aspects of our gender and our sexuality are totally natural.

One powerful aspect of culture, and a reason cultural norms feel so natural, is that we learn culture the way we learn our native language: without formal instruction, in social contexts, picking it up from others around us, without thinking. Soon, it becomes deeply embedded in our brains. We no longer think consciously about what the sounds we hear when someone says “hello” mean unless we do not speak English. Nor is it difficult to “tell the time” on a “clock” even though “time” and “clocks” are complex cultural inventions. The same principles apply to gender and sexuality. We learn very early (by at least age three) about the categories of gender in our culture—that individuals are either “male” or “female” and that elaborate
beliefs, behaviors, and meanings are associated with each gender. We can think of this complex set of ideas as a gender ideology or a cultural model of gender. All societies have gender ideologies, just as they have belief systems about other significant areas of life, such as health and disease, the natural world, and social relationships, including family.


Gender Ideologies, Biology, and Culture
Gender vs. Sex
Words can reveal cultural beliefs. A good example is the term “sex.” In the past, sex referred both to sexuality and to someone’s biologic sex: male or female. Today, although sex still refers to sexuality, “gender” now means the categories male, female, or increasingly, other gender possibilities. Why has this occurred? The change in terminology reflects profound alterations in gender ideology in the United States (and elsewhere). In the past, influenced by Judeo-Christian religion and nineteenth and twentieth century scientific beliefs, biology (and reproductive capacity) was literally considered to be destiny. Males and females, at least “normal” males and females, were thought to be born with different intellectual, physical, and moral capacities, preferences, tastes, personalities, and predispositions for violence and suffering. Ironically, many cultures, including European Christianity in the Middle Ages, viewed women as having a strong, often “insatiable” sexual “drive” and capacity. But by the nineteenth century, women and their sexuality were largely defined in reproductive terms, as in their capacity to “carry a man’s child.” Even late-twentieth-century human sexuality texts often referred only to “reproductive systems,” to genitals as “reproductive” organs, and excluded the “clitoris” and other female organs of sexual pleasure that had no reproductive function. For women, the primary, if not sole, legitimate purpose of sexuality was reproduction.
Nineteenth and mid-twentieth century European and U.S. gender ideologies linked sexuality and gender in other ways.5 Sexual preference—the sex to whom one was attracted—was “naturally” heterosexual, at least among “normal” humans, and “normal,” according to mid-twentieth century Freudian influenced psychology, was defined largely by whether one adhered to conventional gender roles for males and females. So, appropriately, “masculine” men were “naturally” attracted to “feminine” women and vice versa. Homosexuality, too, was depicted not just as a sexual preference but as gender-inappropriate role behavior, down to gestures and color of clothing.  This is apparent in old stereotypes of gay men as “effeminate” (acting like a female, wearing “female” fabrics such as silk or colors such as pink, and participating in “feminine” professions like ballet) and of lesbian women as “butch” (cropped hair, riding motorcycles, wearing leather—prototypical masculinity). Once again, separate phenomena—sexual preference and gender role performance—were conflated because of beliefs that rooted both in biology. “Abnormality” in one sphere (sexual preference) was linked to “abnormality” in the other sphere
(gendered capacities and preferences).
In short, the gender and sexual ideologies were based on biological determinism. According to this theory, males and females were supposedly born fundamentally different reproductively and in other major capacities and preferences and were “naturally” (biologically) sexually attracted to each other, although women’s sexual “drive” was not very well developed relative to men’s and was reproductively oriented.

Rejecting Biological Determinism

Decades of research on gender and sexuality, including by feminist anthropologists, has challenged these old theories, particularly biological determinism. We now understand that cultures, not nature, create the gender ideologies that go along with being born male or female and the ideologies vary widely, cross-culturally. What is considered “man’s work” in some societies, such as carrying heavy loads, or farming, can be “woman’s work” in others. What is “masculine” and “feminine” varies: pink and blue, for example, are culturally invented gender-color linkages, and skirts and “make-up” can be worn by men, indeed by “warriors.” Hindu deities, male and female, are highly decorated and difficult to distinguish, at least by conventional masculinist U.S. stereotypes .
Women can be thought of as stronger (“tougher,” more “rational”) than men. Phyllis Kaberry, an anthropologist who studied the Nsaw of Cameroon in the 1940s, said males in that culture argued that land preparation for the rizga crop was “a woman’s job, which is too strenuous for the men” and that “women could carry heavy loads because they had stronger foreheads.”  Among the Aka who live in the present-day Central African Republic, fathers have close, intimate, relationships with infants, play major roles in all aspects of infant-care, and can sometimes produce breast milk. As for sexual desires, research on the human sexual response by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson established that men and women have equal biological capacities for sexual pleasure and orgasm and that, because males generally ejaculate simultaneously with orgasm, it is easier for women than men to have multiple orgasms.

Gender: A Cultural Invention and a Social Role

One’s biologic sex is a different phenomenon than one’s gender, which is socially and historically constructed. Gender is a set of culturally invented expectations and therefore constitutes a role one assumes, learns, and performs, more or less consciously. It is an “identity” one can in theory choose, at least in some societies, although there is tremendous pressure, as in the United States, to conform to the gender role and identity linked to your biologic sex. This is a profound transformation in how we think about both gender and sexuality. The reality of human biology is that males and females are shockingly similar. There is arguably more variability within than between each gender, especially taking into account the enormous variability in human physical traits among human populations globally.
Much of what has been defined as “biological” is actually cultural, so the possibilities for transformation and change are
nearly endless! That can be liberating, especially when we are young and want to create identities that fit our particular configuration of abilities and preferences. It can also be upsetting to people who have deeply internalized and who want to maintain the old gender ideology.

The Gender Binary and Beyond

We anthropologists, as noted earlier, love to shake up notions of what is “natural” and “normal.” One common assumption is that all cultures divide human beings into two and only two genders, a binary or dualistic model of gender. However, in some cultures gender is more fluid and flexible, allowing individuals born as one biologic sex to assume another gender or creating more than two genders from which individuals can select. Examples of non-binary cultures come from pre-contact Native America. Anthropologists such as Ruth Benedict long ago identified a fairly widespread phenomenon of “two-spirit” people, individuals who do not comfortably conform to the gender roles and gender ideology normally associated with their biologic sex. Among Zuni people of New Mexico, beginning in the pre-contact era which was a relatively gender-egalitarian horticultural society for example, individuals could choose an alternative role of “not-men” or “not-women.” A two-spirited Zuni man would do the work and wear clothing normally associated with females, having shown a preference for female-identified activities and symbols at an early age. In some, but not all cases, they would eventually marry a
man. Early European ethnocentric reports often described it as a form of homosexuality. Anthropologists suggested more-complex motivations, including dreams of selection by spirits, individual psychologies, biological characteristics, and negative aspects of male roles (e.g., warfare).

Most significantly, these alternative gender roles are acceptable, publicly recognized, and sometimes venerated. Less is known about additional gender roles available to biological women, although stories of “manly hearted women” suggest a parallel among some Native American groups. For example, a Kutenai woman known to have lived in 1811 was originally married to a French-Canadian man but then returned to the Kutenai and assumed a male gender role, changing her name to Kauxuma nupika (Gone to-the-Spirits), becoming a spiritual prophet, and eventually marrying a woman. A well-known example of a non-binary gender system is found among the Hijra in India. Often called a third gender, these individuals are usually biologically male but adopt female clothing, gestures, and names; eschew sexual desire and sexual activity; and go through religious rituals that give them certain divine powers, including blessing or cursing couples’ fertility and performing at weddings and births.
Hijra may undergo voluntary surgical removal of genitals through a “nirvan” or rebirth operation. Some hijra are males born with ambiguous external genitals, such as a particularly small penis or testicles that did not fully descend. Research has shown that individuals with ambiguous genitals, sometimes called “intersex,” are surprisingly common. Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein estimate that such intersex individuals constitute five percent of human births.16 So what are cultures to do when faced with an infant or child who cannot easily be “sexed?” Some cultures, including the United States, used to force children into one of the two binary categories, even if it required surgery or hormone therapy. But in other places, such as India and among the Isthmus Zapotec in southern Oaxaca, Mexico, they have instead created a third gender category that has an institutional identity and role to perform in society.
These cross-cultural examples demonstrate that the traditional rigid binary gender model in the United States is neither universal nor necessary. While all cultures recognize at least two biological sexes, usually based on genitals visible at birth, and have created at least two gender roles, many cultures go beyond the binary model, offering a third or fourth gender category. Other cultures allow individuals to adopt, without sanctions, a gender role that is not congruent with their biological sex. In short, biology need not be destiny when it comes to gender roles, as we are increasingly discovering in the
United States.

Variability Among Binary Cultures

Even societies with a binary gender system exhibit enormous variability in the meanings and practices associated with being male or female. Sometimes male-female distinctions pervade virtually all aspects of life, structuring space, work, social life, communication, body decoration, and expressive forms such as music. For instance, both genders may farm, but may have separate fields for “male” and “female” crops and gender-specific crop rituals. Or, the village public space may be spatially segregated with a “men’s house” (a special dwelling only for men, like a “men’s club”) and a “women’s house.” In some societies, such as the Sambia of New Guinea, even when married couples occupy the same house, the space within the house is divided into male and female areas. Women and men can also have gender-specific religious rituals and deities and use gender-identified tools.

There are cases of “male” and “female” foods, rains, and even “languages” (including words, verb forms, pronouns, inflections, and writing systems; one example is the Nu Shu writing system used by some women in parts of China in the twentieth century). Gender ideologies can emphasize differences in character, capacities, and morality, sometimes portraying males and females as “opposites” on a continuum. In societies that are highly segregated by gender, gender relationships sometimes are seen as hostile or oppositional with one of the genders (usually female) viewed as potentially threatening. Female bodily fluids, such as menstrual blood and vaginal secretions, can be dangerous, damaging to men, “impure,” and “polluting,” especially in ritual contexts. In other cases, however, menstrual blood is associated with positive power. A girl’s first menstruation may be celebrated publicly with elaborate community rituals, as among the Bemba in southern Africa, and subsequent monthly flows bring special privileges.  Men in some small-scale societies go through ritualized nose-bleeding, sometimes called “male menstruation,” though the meanings are quite complex.

Gender Relations: Separate and Unequal

Of course, gender-differentiation is not unique to small-scale societies like the Sambia. Virtually all major world religions have traditionally segregated males and females spatially and “marked” them in other ways. Look at eighteenth- and nineteenth- century churches, which had gender-specific seating; at contemporary Saudi Arabia, Iranian, and conservative Malaysian mosques; and at Orthodox Jewish temples today in Israel and the United States. Ambivalence and even fear of female sexuality, or negative associations with female bodily fluids, such as menstrual blood, are widespread in the world’s major religions. Orthodox Jewish women are not supposed to sleep in the same bed as their husbands when menstruating. In Kypseli, Greece, people believe that menstruating women can cause wine to go bad.

In some Catholic Portuguese villages, menstruating women are restricted from preparing fresh pork sausages and from being in the room where the sausages are made as their presence is believed to cause the pork to spoil. Contact with these women also supposedly wilts plants and causes inexplicable movements of objects. Orthodox forms of Hinduism prohibit menstruating women from activities such as cooking and attending temple. These traditions are being challenged. A 2016 British Broadcasting Company (BBC) television program, for example, described “Happy to Bleed,” a movement in India to change negative attitudes about menstruation and eliminate the ban on menstruating-age women entering the famous Sabriamala Temple in Kerala.

Emergence of Public (Male) vs. Domestic (Female) Spheres

In large stratified and centralized societies—that is, the powerful empires (so-called “civilizations”) that have dominated much of the world for the past several thousand years—a “public” vs. “private” or “domestic” distinction appears. The public, extra-family sphere of life is a relatively recent development in human history even though most of us have grown up in or around cities and towns with their obvious public spaces, physical manifestations of the political, economic, and other extra-family institutions that characterize large-scale societies. In such settings, it is easy to identify the domestic or private spaces families occupy, but a similar public-domestic distinction exists in villages.

The public sphere is associated with, and often dominated by, males. The domestic sphere, in contrast, is primarily associated with women—though it, too, can be divided into male and female spheres. In India, for example, where households frequently consist of multi-generational groups of male siblings and their families, there often are “lounging” spaces where men congregate, smoke pipes, chat, and meet visitors. Women’s spaces typically focus around the kitchen or cooking hearth (if outside) or at other sites of women’s activities.  In some cases, an inner court is the women’s area while the outer porch and roads that connect the houses are male spaces. In some Middle Eastern villages, women create over-the-roof
paths for visiting each other without going “outside” into male spaces. The gender division between public and private/domestic, however, is as symbolic as it is spatial, often emphasizing a gender ideology of social separation between males and females (except young children), social regulation of sexuality and marriage, and male rights and control over females (wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers). It manifests as separate spaces in mosques, sex-segregated schools, and
separate “ladies compartments” on trains, as in India .
Of course, it is impossible to separate the genders completely. Rural women pass through the more-public spaces of a village to fetch water and firewood and to work in agricultural fields. Women shop in public markets, though that can be a “man’s job.” As girls more often attend school, as in India, they take public transportation and thus travel through public “male” spaces even if they travel to all-girl schools . At college, they can be immersed in and even live on campuses where
men predominate, especially if they are studying engineering, computer science, or other technical subjects . This can severely limit Indian girls’ educational and occupational choices, particularly for girls who come from relatively conservative families or regions.
One way in which women navigate “male” spaces is by adopting routes, behavior (avoiding eye contact), and/or clothing that create separation. The term “purdah,” the separation or segregation of women from men, literally means “veiling,” although other devices can be used. In nineteenth century Jaipur, Rajasthan, royal Rajput women inhabited the inner courtyard spaces of the palace. But an elaborate false building front, the hawa mahal, allowed them to view the comings and goings on the street without being exposed to the public male gaze. As demand for educating girls has grown in traditionally sexually segregated societies, all-girl schools have been constructed , paralleling processes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
century in the United States. At the university level, however, prestigious schools that offer high demand subjects such as engineering often have historically been all-male, excluding women as Harvard once did.

In other cases, there are no female faculty members teaching traditionally male subjects like engineering at all-women colleges. In Saudi Arabia, women’s universities have taught courses using closed-circuit television to avoid violating norms of sexual segregation, particularly for young, unmarried women. In countries such as India, gynecologists and obstetricians have been predominantly female, in part because families object to male doctors examining and treating women. Thus, in places that do not have female physicians, women’s health can suffer.

Sanctions, Sexuality, Honor, and Shame

Penalties for deviating from the rules of social separation vary across and within cultures. In small communities, neighbors and extended family kin can simply report inappropriate behavior, especially between unmarried young adults, to other family members. More severe and sometimes violent responses by family members can occur, especially if the family’s “honor” is involved—that is, if the young adults, especially girls, engage in activities that would “shame” or dishonor the family. Honor and shame are complex concepts that are often linked to sexuality, especially female sexuality, and to behavior by family members that involves or hints at sexual impropriety. The Turkish film Mustang, nominated for the 2016 best foreign film Academy Award, offers a good illustration of how concepts of sexualized honor and shame operate. We hear in the news of “honor killings” carried out by conservative Muslims in countries such as Pakistan and powerfully portrayed in documentaries such as A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).

But it is not just Islam. Some orthodox sectors of major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism, may hold similar views about “honor” and “shame” and impose sometimes violent sanctions against those who violate sexuality-related codes. The brutal 2012 gang rape-murder of a young woman on a bus in Delhi, though perpetrated by strangers, was rationalized by the men who committed the crime (and their defense attorney) as a legitimate response to the woman’s “shameful” behavior—traveling on a bus at night with a male friend, implying sexual impropriety.

Social separation, sex-segregated schools, and penalties for inappropriate sexual behavior have also existed in the United States and Europe, especially among upper-strata women for whom female “purity” was traditionally emphasized. Chastity belts in Europe, whether or not actually used, symbolized the idea that a woman’s sexuality belonged solely to her husband, thus precluding her from engaging not only in premarital and extra-marital sex but also in masturbation . In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, set in mid-sixteenth century Massachusetts, Hester was forced to wear a
scarlet A on her dress and to stand on a public scaffold for three hours a day, a relatively nonviolent but powerful form of shaming and punishment. Stoning women to death for sexually inappropriate behavior, especially adultery, and other violent sanctions may have occurred in some European Christian and Jewish communities. Rape, so frequent in warfare past and present, also can bring shame to the victim and her family, particularly in sexually conservative societies. During the 1971 Bangladesh war of independence against Pakistan, East Bengali women who were raped by soldiers were ostracized by their families because of the “shame” their rape had brought. During the partition of India into India and Pakistan in 1947, some Sikh families reportedly forced daughters to jump into wells to drown rather than risk being raped by

Alternative Models of Gender: Complementary and Fluid

Not all binary cultures are gender-segregated; nor does gender hostility necessarily accompany gender separation. Nor are all binary cultures deeply concerned with, some might say obsessed with, regulating female sexuality and marriage. Premarital and extra-marital sex can even be common and acceptable, as among the !Kung San and Trobriand Islanders. And men are not always clearly ranked over women as they typically are in stratified large-scale centralized societies with “patriarchal” systems. Instead, the two genders can be seen as complementary, equally valued and both recognized as necessary to society. Different need not mean unequal. The Lahu of southwest China and Thailand exemplify a complementary gender system in which men and women have distinct expected roles but a male-female pair is necessary to accomplish most daily tasks . A male and female pair historically took responsibility for local leadership. Male-female dyads completed daily household tasks in tandem and worked together in the fields. The title of anthropologist Shanshan Du’s book, Chopsticks Only Work in Pairs (1999), encapsulates how complementary gender roles defined Lahu society. A single chopstick is not very useful; neither is a single person, man or woman, in a dual focused society.

Like the Lahu, the nearby Na believe men and women both play crucial roles in a family and household. Women are associated with birth and life while men take on tasks such as butchering animals and preparing for funerals . Every Na house has two large pillars in the central hearth room, one representing male identity and one representing female identity. Both are crucial, and the house might well topple symbolically without both pillars. As sociologist Zhou Huashan explained in
his 2002 book about the Na, this is a society that “values women without diminishing men.”

Anthropologists have also encountered relatively androgynous gender-binary cultures. In these cultures, some gender differentiation exists but “gender bending” and role-crossing are frequent, accepted, and reflect circumstances and individual capacities and preferences. Examples are the !Kung San mentioned earlier, Native American Washoe in the United States, and some segments of European societies in countries such as Sweden and Finland and, increasingly, in the United States. Contemporary twenty-first century gender ideologies tend to emphasize commonality, not difference: shared human
traits, flexibility, fluidity, and individual expression.
Even cultures with fairly well-defined gender roles do not necessarily view them as fixed, biologically rooted, permanent, “essentialist,” or “naturalized” as occurred in the traditional gender ideology in the United States. Gender may not even be an “identity” in a psychological sense but, rather, a social role one assumes in a particular social context just as one moves between being a student, a daughter, an employee, a wife or husband, president of the bicycle club, and a musician. Cultures also change over time through internal and external forces such as trade, conquest, colonialism, globalization, immigration, mass media, and, especially, films.

Within every culture, there is tremendous diversity in class, ethnicity, religion, region, education level, and generation, as well as diversity related to more-individual family circumstances, predilections, and experiences. Gender expectations also vary with one’s age and stage in life as well as one’s social role, even within the family (e.g., “wife” vs. “sister” vs. “mother” vs. “mother-in-law” and “father” vs. “son” vs. “brother” vs “father.in-law”). Finally, people can appear to conform to cultural norms but find ways of working around or ignoring them.
Even in highly male-dominated, sexually segregated societies, women find ways to pursue their own goals, to be actors, and to push the boundaries of the gender system. Among Egyptian Awlad ‘Ali Bedouin families, for example, women rarely socialized outside their home compounds or with unrelated men. But within their spheres, they freely interacted with other women, could influence their husbands, and wrote and sang poetic couplets as expressive outlets. In some of the poorest and least developed areas of central India, where patrilocal extended-family male-controlled households reign, activist Sampat Pal has organized local rural women to combat violence based on dishonor and gender. Her so-called “Gulabi Gang,” the subject of two films, illustrates both the possibilities of resistance and the difficulties of changing a deeply embedded system based on gender, caste, and class system .


Contemporary anthropology now recognizes the crucial role played by gender in human society. Anthropologists in the post-2000 era have focused on exploring fluidity within and beyond sexuality, incorporating a gendered lens in all anthropological research, and applying feminist science frame works, discourse-narrative analyses, political theory, critical studies of race, and queer theory to better understand and theorize gendered dynamics and power. Pleasure, desire, trauma, mobility, boundaries, reproduction, violence, coercion, bio-politics, globalization, neoliberal “development” policies and discourses, immigration, and other areas of anthropological inquiry have also informed gender and sexuality studies. We next discuss some of those trends.

Heteronormativity and Sexuality in the United States

In the long history of human sexual relationships, we see that most involve people from different biological sexes, but some societies recognize and even celebrate partnerships between members of the same biological sex.  In some places, religious institutions formalize unions while in others unions are recognized only once they result in a pregnancy or live birth. Thus, what many people in the United States consider “normal,” such as the partnership of one man and one woman in a sexually exclusive relationship legitimized by the state and federal government and often sanctioned by a religious institution, is actually heteronormative. Heteronormativity is a term coined by French philosopher Michel Foucault to refer to the often-unnoticed system of rights and privileges that accompany normative sexual choices and family formation. For example, a “biologically female” woman attracted to a “biologically male” man who pursued that attraction and formed a relationship with that man would be following a heteronormative pattern in the United States. If she married him, she would be continuing to follow societal expectations related to gender and sexuality and would be agreeing to state involvement in her love life as she formalizes her relationship.
Despite pervasive messages reinforcing heteronormative social relations, people find other ways to satisfy their sexual desires and organize their families. Many people continue to choose partners from the so-called “opposite” sex, a phrase that reflects the old U.S. bipolar view of males and females as being at opposite ends of a range of characteristics (strong-weak, active-passive, hard-soft, outside-inside, Mars-Venus).  Others select partners from the same biological sex. Increasingly, people are choosing partners who attract them—perhaps female, perhaps male, and perhaps someone with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics.
Labels have changed rapidly in the United States during the twenty-first century as a wider range of sexual orientations has been openly acknowledged, accompanied by a shift in our binary view of sexuality. Rather than thinking of individuals as either heterosexual OR homosexual, scholars and activists now recognize a spectrum of sexual orientations. Given the U.S. focus on identity, it is not surprising that a range of new personhood categories, such as bisexual, queer, questioning, lesbian, and gay have emerged to reflect a more-fluid, shifting, expansive, and ambiguous conception of sexuality and sexual
Transgender, meanwhile, is a category for people who identify as a different gender than the one that was assigned to them at birth. This may entail a social transition or a physical one, using a number of methods. Anthropologist David Valentine explored how the concept of “transgender” became established in the United States and found that many people who were identified by others as transgender did not embrace the label themselves. This label, too, has undergone a profound shift in usage, and the high-profile transition by Caitlyn Jenner in the mid-2010s has further shifted how people think about
those who identify as transgender.
By 2011, an estimated 8.7 million people in the United States identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/ or transgender. These communities represent a vibrant, growing, and increasingly politically and economically powerful segment of the population. While people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender—or any of a number of other sexual and gender minorities—have existed throughout the United States’ history, it is only since the Stonewall uprisings of 1969 that the modern LGBT movement has been a key force in U.S. society. Some activists, community members, and scholars argue that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender) is a better choice of labels than GLBT since it puts lesbian identity in the foreground—a key issue because the term “gay” is often used as an umbrella term and can erase recognition of individuals who are not gay males. Recently, the acronym has been expanded to include LGBTQ (queer or questioning), LGBTQQ (both queer and questioning), LGBTQIA (queer/questioning, intersex, and/or asexual), and LGBTQAIA (adding allies as well).
Like the U.S. population overall, the LGBTQ community is extremely diverse. Some African-Americans prefer the term “same-gender loving” because the other terms are seen as developed by and for “white people.” Emphasizing the importance and power of words, Jafari Sinclaire Allen explains that “same-gender loving” was “coined by the black queer activist Cleo Manago [around 1995] to mark a distinction between ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ culture and identification, and black men and women who have sex with members of the same sex.”

While scholars continue to use gay, lesbian, and queer and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control uses MSM (men who have sex with men), “same-gender loving” resonates in some urban communities. Not everyone who might fit one of the LGBTQQIA designations consciously identifies with a group defined by sexual orientation. Some people highlight their other identities, as Minnesotans, for example, or their ethnicity, religion, profession, or hobby—whatever they consider central and important in their lives. Some scholars argue that heteronormativity allows people who self-identify as heterosexual the luxury of not being defined by their sexual orientation. They suggest that those who identify with the sex and gender they were assigned at birth be referred to as cisgender.
Only when labels are universal rather than used only for non-normative groups, they argue, will people become aware of
discrimination based on differences in sexual preference. Though people are urging adoption of sexual identity labels, not everyone is embracing the move to self-identify in a specific category. Thus, a man who is attracted to both men and women might self identify as bisexual and join activist communities while another might prefer not to be incorporated
into any sexual-preference-based politics. Some people prefer to eliminate acronyms altogether, instead embracing terms such as genderfluid and genderqueer that recognize a spectrum instead of a static identity. This freedom to self-identify or avoid categories altogether is important. Most of all, these shifts and debates demonstrate that, like the terms themselves, LGBTQ communities in the United States are diverse and dynamic with often-changing priorities and makeup.

Changing Attitudes toward LGBTQ People in the United States

In the last two decades, attitudes toward LGBTQ—particularly lesbian, gay and bisexual—people have changed dramatically. The most sweeping change is the extension of marriage rights to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. The first state to extend marriage rights was Massachusetts in 2003. By 2014, more than half of U.S. Americans said they believed same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and on June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. supreme court declared that same-sex couples had the legal right to marry. Few civil rights movements have seen such progress in such a short period of time. While many factors have influenced the shift in attitudes, sociologists and anthropologists have identified increased awareness of and exposure to LGBTQ people through the media and personal interactions as playing key roles.
Legalization of same-sex marriage also helped normalize same-sex parenting. Sarah, whose three young children—including a set of twins—are mothered by Sarah and her partner, was active in campaigns for marriage equality in Minnesota and ecstatic when the campaign succeeded in 2013.
However, legalization of same-sex marriage has not been welcomed everywhere in the United States. Anthropologist Jessica Johnson’s ethnographic work profiling a Seattle-based megachurch from 2006 through 2008 initially explored their efforts to oppose same-sex marriage. Later, she shifted her focus to the rhetoric of gender, masculinity, and cisgender sexuality used by the church and its pastor.  Official church communications dismissed homosexuality as aberrant and mobilized members to advocate against same-sex marriage. The church’s efforts were not successful.

Interestingly, activists and gender studies scholars express concern over incorporating marriage—a heteronormative institution some consider oppressive—into queer spaces not previously governed by state authority. These concerns may be overshadowed by a desire for normative lives and legal protections, but as sociologist Tamara Metz and others have argued, legally intertwining passion, romance, sexual intimacy, and economic rights and responsibilities is not necessarily a move in the right direction. As Miriam Smith has written, “We must move beyond thinking of same-sex marriage and relationship recognition as struggles that pit allegedly normalized or assimilated same-sex couples against queer politics and sensibilities and, rather, recognize the increasingly complex gender politics of samesex marriage and relationship recognition, a politics that implicates groups beyond the LGBT community.”
While U.S. culture on the whole has become more supportive and accepting of LGBTQ people, they still face challenges. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not federally protected statuses. Thus, in 32 states (as of 2016), employers can legally refuse to hire and can fire someone simply for being LGBTQ. Even in states where queer people have legal protection, transgender and other gender diverse people do not. LGBTQ people can be legally denied housing and other important resources heterosexual people take for granted. LGBTQ youth made up 40 percent of homeless young people in the
United States in 2012 and are often thrust into homelessness by family rejection. Transgender people are the most vulnerable and experience high levels of violence, including homicide.

Sexuality Outside the United States

Same-sex sexual and romantic relationships probably exist in every society, but concepts like “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual” are cultural products that, in many ways, reflect a culturally specific gender ideology and a set of beliefs about how sexual preferences develop. In many cultures, same-sex sex is a behavior, not an identity. Some individuals in India identify
as practicing “female-female sexuality” or “male-male sexuality.” The film Fire by Mira Nair aroused tremendous controversy in India partly because it depicted a same-sex relationship between two married women somewhat graphically and because it suggested alternatives available to women stuck in unhappy and abusive patriarchal marriages. Whether one is “homosexual” or “heterosexual” may not be linked simply to engaging in same-sex sexual behavior. Instead, as among some Brazilian males, your status in the sexual relationship, literally and symbolically, depends on (or determines!) whether you are the inserter or the penetrated. Which would you expect involves higher status?
Even anthropologists who are sensitive to cross-cultural variations in the terms and understandings that accompany same-sex sexual and romantic relationships can still unconsciously project their own meanings onto other cultures. Evelyn Blackwood, an American, described how surprised she was to realize that her Sumatran lover, who called herself a “Tombois,” had a different conception of what constituted a “lesbian” identity and lesbian relationship than she did. We must be careful not to assume that other cultures share LGBTQ identities as they are understood in the United States and many European countries.
Furthermore, each country has its own approach to sexuality and marriage, and reproduction often plays a central role. In Israel, an embrace of pro-natalist policies for Jewish Israelis has meant that expensive reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization are provided to women at no cost or are heavily subsidized. An Israeli gay activist described how surprised queer activists from other countries were when they found that nearly all Israeli female same-sex couples were raising children. (This embrace of same-sex parenting did not extend to male couples, for whom the state did not provide
assisted reproductive support.) The pro-natalist policies can be traced in part to Israel’s emergence as
a state: founded in the aftermath of persecution and systematic genocide of Jewish residents of Europe from 1937 through 1945, Israel initially promoted policies that encouraged births at least in part as resistance to Nazi attempts to destroy the Jewish people.

The contexts may be less dramatic elsewhere, but local and national histories often inform policies and practices. In Thailand, Ara Wilson has explored how biological women embrace identities as toms and dees. Although these terms seem to be derived from English-language concepts (dees is etymologically related to “ladies”), suggesting international influences, the ubiquity and acceptance of toms and dees in Thailand does diverge from patterns in the United States.
In China (as elsewhere), the experiences of those involved in male-male sexuality and those involved
in female-female sexuality can differ. In her book Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China, Lucetta Yip Lo Kam discusses how lesbians in China note their lack of public social spaces compared with gay men.  Even the words lala and tongzhi index different categories from the English terms: lala encompasses lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people while tongzhi is a gloss term that usually refers to gay men but has been expanded in the last two decades to other uses. (Tongzhi is a cooptation of the Chinese-language socialist-era term for comrade.)
Language makes a difference in how individuals and communities articulate their identities. Anthropologists such as Kam have commented on how sharing their own backgrounds with those with whom they work can be instrumental in gaining trust and building rapport. Her identity as a Chinese-speaking queer anthropologist and activist from Hong Kong helped women in Shanghai feel comfortable speaking with her and willing to include her in their networks.
From these examples, we see that approaches to sexuality in different parts of the world are evolving, just as gender norms in the United States are undergoing tremendous shifts. Anthropologists often cross boundaries to research these changes, and their contributions will continue to shape understandings of the broad range of approaches to sexuality


Androgyny: cultural definitions of gender that recognize some gender differentiation, but also accept “gender bending” and role-crossing according to individual capacities and preferences.
Binary model of gender: cultural definitions of gender that include only two identities–male and female.
Biologic sex: refers to male and female identity based on internal and external sex organs and chromosomes. While male and female are the most common biologic sexes, a percentage of the human population is intersex with ambiguous or mixed biological sex characteristics.
Biological determinism: a theory that biological differences between males and females leads to fundamentally different capacities, preferences, and gendered behaviors. This scientifically unsupported view suggests that gender roles are rooted in biology, not culture.
Cisgender: a term used to describe those who identify with the sex and gender they were assigned at
Dyads: two people in a socially approved pairing. One example is a married couple.
Gender: the set of culturally and historically invented beliefs and expectations about gender that one learns and performs. Gender is an “identity” one can choose in some societies, but there is pressure in all societies to conform to expected gender roles and identities.
Gender ideology: a complex set of beliefs about gender and gendered capacities, propensities, preferences, identities and socially expected behaviors and interactions that apply to males, females, and other gender categories. Gender ideology can differ among cultures and is acquired through enculturation. Also known as a cultural model of gender.
Heteronormativity: a term coined by French philosopher Michel Foucault to refer to the often-unnoticed system of rights and privileges that accompany normative sexual choices and family formation.
Legitimizing ideologies: a set of complex belief systems, often developed by those in power, to rationalize, explain, and perpetuate systems of inequality.
Matrifocal: groups of related females (e.g. mother-her sisters-their offspring) form the core of the family and constitute the family’s most central and enduring social and emotional ties.
Matrilineal: societies where descent or kinship group membership is transmitted through women, from mothers to their children (male and female), and then through daughters, to their children, and so forth.
Matrilocal: a woman-centered kinship group where living arrangements after marriage often center around households containing related women.
Patriarchy: describes a society with a male-dominated political and authority structure and an ideology that privileges males over females in domestic and public spheres.
Patrifocal: groups of related males (e.g. a father-his brothers) and their male offspring form the core of the family and constitute the family’s most central and enduring social and emotional ties.
Patrilineal: societies where descent or kinship group membership is transmitted through men, from men to their children (male and female), and then through sons, to their children, and so forth.
Patrilocal: a male-centered kinship group where living arrangements after marriage often center around households containing related men.
Third gender: a gender identity that exists in non-binary gender systems offering one or more gender roles separate from male or female.
Transgender: a category for people who or people who identify as a different gender than the one that was assigned to them at birth. This may entail a social transition or a physical one, using a number of methods.



1. The Introduction and much of the material in the Foundations segment draws upon and synthesizes
Mukhopadhyay’s decades of research, writing, and teaching courses on culture, gender, and human sexuality.
Some of it has been published. Other material comes from lecture notes. See http://www.sjsu.edu/people/
2. We use quotation marks here and elsewhere in the chapter to alert readers to a culturally specific, culturally
invented concept in the United States. We need to approach U.S. cultural inventions the same way we would a
concept we encountered in a foreign, so-called “exotic” culture.
3. See Carolyn B. Brettell and Carolyn F. Sargent, Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (New York: Routledge, 2005).
Also, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender. Biological Theories About Women and Men (New York: Basic Books,
1991). For some web-based examples of these nineteenth century views, see article at http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century. For a list of descriptive terms, see
4. For an example of a textbook, see Herant A. Katchadurian, Fundamentals of Human Sexuality (Fort Worth, TX:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989). See also Linda Stone, Kinship and Gender: An Introduction (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2013).
5. Material in the following paragraphs comes from Mukhopadhyay, unpublished Human Sexuality lecture notes.
6. Herant A. Katchadurian, Fundamentals of Human Sexuality, 365.
7. Phyllis Kaberry, Women of the Grassfields. A Study of the Economic Position of Women in Bamenda, British Cameroons
(Colonial Research publication 14. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.1952) The image comes from the
cover of her book, which is also available online: http://www.era.anthropology.ac.uk/Kaberry/Kaberry_text/.
8. See Barry S. Hewlett, Intimate Fathers: The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paternal Infant Care (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991); and personal communication with Mukhopadhyay.
9. W.H. Masters and V.E. Johnson, Human Sexual Response (New York: Bantam Books, 1966).
10. Some feminist scholars have also questioned the “naturalness” of the biological categories male and female. See
for example, Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1999
11. For genital similarities, see Janet S. Hyde and John D. DeLamater, Understanding Human Sexuality (McGraw Hill,
2014), 94-101. For more parallels, see Mukhopadhyay’s online Human Sexuality course materials, at
12. For some idea of the enormous variability in human physical characteristics, see Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 in C.
Mukhopadhyay, R. Henze, and Y. Moses, How Real is Race: Race, Culture and Biology (Lanham, MD: Rowman and
Littlefield, 2014).
13. Information about alternative gender roles in pre-contact Native American communities can be found in
Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein, A World Full of Women (Boston: Pearson, 2013). Also, see the 2011 PBS Independent Lens film Two Spirits for an account of the role of two-spirit ideology in Navajo communities, including
the story of a Navajo teenager who was the victim of a hate crime because of his two-spirit identity.
14. Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein, A World Full of Women.
15. Serena Nanda, Neither Man nor Woman: the Hijras of India (Boston, MA: Cengage, 1999); Serena Nanda, Gender
Diversity: Cross-cultural Variations (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland 2000); and Gayatri Reddy and Serena Nanda,
“Hijras: An “Alternative” Sex/Gender in India,” in Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, ed. C. Brettell and C. Sargent, 278–285 (Upper Saddle River New Jersey: Pearson, 2005).
16. Janet S. Hyde and John D. DeLamater, Understanding Human Sexuality, 99; Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein, A
World Full of Women.
17. Beverly Chinas, personal communication with Mukhopadhyay. See also her writings on Isthmus Zapotec
women such as: Beverly Chinas, The Isthmus Zapotecs: A Matrifocal Culture of Mexico (New York: Harcourt Brace
College Publishers 1997). For a film on this culture, see Maureen Gosling and Ellen Osborne, Blossoms of Fire,
Film (San Francisco: Film Arts Foundation, 2001).
18. Gilbert Herdt, The Sambia (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 2006). For an excellent film see Gilbert Herdt,
Guardians of the Flutes (London UK: BBC, 1994).
19. More information about the Nu shu writing system can be found in the film by Yue-Qing Yang, Nu Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China (New York: Women Make Movies, 1999).
20. Ernestine Friedl, Women and Men: An Anthropologist’s View (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975). See
Audrey Richards, Chisungu: A Girl’s Initiation Ceremony among the Bemba of Zambia (London: Faber, 1956) and A.
Richards, Land, Labour and Diet in Northern Rhodesia, An Economic Study of the Bemba Tribe (London: Oxford,
21. See for example, Ian Hogbin, The Island of Menstruating Men: Religion in Wogeo, New Guinea (Scranton, PA: Chandler Publishing Company, 1970).
22. Susannah M Hoffman, Richard A Cowan and Paul Aratow, Kypseli: Men and Women Apart A Divided Reality
(Berkeley CA: Berkeley Media, 1976).
23. Denise Lawrence, Menstrual Politics: Women and Pigs in Rural Portugal, in Blood Magic: The Anthropology of
Menstruation, ed. Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb, 117-136 (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1988.),
24. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03k6k0h. Some women are posing with photos of menstrual pads and
hashtags #happytobleed: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indian-women-launch-happy-tobleed-campaign-to-protest-against-sexist-religious-rule-a6748396.html.
25. See the film by Michael Camerini and Rina Gill, Dadi’s Family (Watertown, MA: DER, 1981).
26. Cynthia Nelson, “Public and Private Politics: Women in the Middle Eastern World” American Ethnologist 1 no. 3
(1974): 551-56.
27. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, “Family Structure and Indian Women’s Participation in Science and Engineering,” in
Women, Education and Family Structure in India, ed. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay and Susan Seymour, 103-133 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).
28. Elizabeth Fernea, Guests of the Sheik.an Ethnography of an Iraqi Village (New York: Anchor Books, 1965).
29. Susan Seymour, Cora Du Bois: Anthropologist, Diplomat, Agent (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2015).
30. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, “Women in Science: Is the Glass Ceiling Disappearing?” Proceedings of conference
organized by the National Institute of Science and Technology Development Studies, the Department of Science
and Technology, Government of India; Indian Council of Social Science Research; and the Indo-U.S. Science
and Technology Forum. March 8–10, 2004. New Delhi, India.
31. See for instance, http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-powerful-documentary-about-pakistanshonor-killings and http://www.latimes.com/world/afghanistan-pakistan/la-fg-pakistanoscar-20160229-story.html.
32. For more details, see the film by Leslee Udwin, India’s Daughter (Firenze, Italy: Berta Film). The Wikipedia article
about the film notes the reluctance of the Indian government to air the film in India, https://en.wikipedia.org/
33. For a critique of the “myth” of the medieval chastity belt, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/chastitybelts-the-odd-truth-about-locking-up-womens-genitalia.
34. See for example, the film by Sabiha Sumar, Silent Waters (Mumbai, India: Shringar Film). While this is not a documentary, the film reflects the tumultuous history of the partition into two countries.
35. For the !Kung San, see Marjorie Shostak, Nisa: Life and Words of a Kung Woman (New York: Vintage, 1983). For
Trobrianders, see Annette B. Weiner, The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1987).
36. Shanshan Du, Chopsticks Only Work in Pairs: Gender Unity and Gender Equality Among the Lahu of Southwest China
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
37. Zhou Huashan, Zhong nu bu qingnan de muxi mosuo: Wufu de guodu? [Matrilineal Mosuo, Valuing Women without
Devaluing Men: A Society without Fathers or Husbands?] (Beijing: Guangming Ribao Chubanshe, 2009 [2001]).
38. Ernestine Friedl, Women and Men: An Anthropologist’s View (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975).
39. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, “Sati or Shakti: Women, Culture and Politics in India,” in Perspectives on Power: Women
in Asia, Africa and Latin America, ed. Jean O’Barr, 11-26 (Durham: Center for International Studies, Duke University 1982).
40. Lila Abu-Lughod, Writing Women’s Worlds: Bedouin Stories (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).
41. Mukhopadhyay and Seymour use the term “patrifocal” to describe households that consist of related males, usually brothers, and their sons, and the spouses and children of those males. See C. Mukhopadhyay and S. Seymour, “Introduction” in Women, Family, and Education in India (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).
42. For powerful documentaries see, the film by Nishta Jain, Gulabi Gang (Stavanger, Norway: Kudos Family Distribution, 2012); and the film by Kim Longinotto, Pink Saris (New York: Women Make Movies, 2011).
43. Lionel Tiger, Men in Groups (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2005[1969]), 45 .
44. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, The Sexual Division of Labor in the Family, PhD Dissertation, University of California,
Riverside, 1980, 192.
45. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, fieldnotes, India; and Mukhopadhyay, The Cultural Context of Gendered Science: The Case
of India, 2001, www.sjsu.edu/people/carol.mukhopadhyay/papers.
46. For example, the major symposium on Man the Hunter sponsored by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research included only four women among more than sixty listed participants. See Richard B. Lee and
Irven DeVore, Man the Hunter (Chicago: Aldine Atherton, 1972[1968]), xiv–xvi.
47. Mukhopadhyay, Lecture Notes, Human Sexuality, Gender and Culture.
48. S.Washburn and C.S. Lancaster, “The Evolution of Hunting.” in Man the Hunter, 299.
49. Ibid., 303.
50. Jackson Katz, Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood and American Culture (Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation, 2013).
51. Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes, The Armor of Light (New York: Fork Films, 2015).
52. Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox, The Imperial Animal (New York: Transaction Publishers, 1997 [1971]), 101.
53. Some useful reviews include the following: Linda M. Fedigan, “The Changing Role of Women in Models of
Human Evolution” Annual Review of Anthropology 16 (1986): 25–66; Linda Fedigan, Primate Paradigms: Sex Roles
and Social Bonds (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Pamela L. Geller and Miranda K. Stockett. Feminist
Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2006); Joan M. Gero and
Margaret W. Conkey, Engendering Archeology: Women and Prehistory (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1991);
Shirley Strum and Linda Fedigan Primate Encounters: Models of Science, Gender and Society. (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 2000); Meredith F. Small, What’s Love Got to Do with It? The Evolution of Human Mating (New York:
Doubleday, 1995); Nancy Makepeace Tanner, On Becoming Human (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1981). For a readable short article, see Meredith Small, “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” Discover Magazine, June
1991, 46–51.
54. Irven DeVore, ed. Primate Behavior (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965).
55. Ibid. Also, for primate politics in particular, see Sarah B. Hrdy, The Woman That Never Evolved (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1999 [1981]). See also Hrdy’s website http://www.citrona.com/hrdy.html.
56. Thelma Rowell. Social Behaviour of Monkeys (New York: Penguin Books, 1972). For an excellent online article on
Rowell’s work with additional references, read Vinciane Despret, “Culture and Gender Do Not Dissolve into
How Scientists ‘Read’ Nature: Thelma Rowell’s Heterodoxy.” In Rebels of Life. Iconoclastic Biologists in the Twentieth
Century, edited by O. Hartman and M. Friedrich (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 340–355.
57. See Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, eds. Man the Hunter (Chicago: Aldine Atherton, 1972[1968]).
58. See Estioko-Griffin, Agnes A. Daughters of the Forest. Natural History 95(5):36-43 (May 1986).
59. Richard B. Lee, The !Kung San. Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 1979).
60. Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein, A World Full of Women, 26.
61. Susan Seymour, “Multiple Caretaking of Infants and Young Children: An Area in Critical Need of a Feminist
Psychological Anthropology,” Ethos 32 no. (2004): 538-556.
62. Serena Nanda and Richard L. Warms, Cultural Anthropology (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2006), 274.
63. Ester Boserup, Women’s Role in Economic Development (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1970); Barbara D. Miller,
Cultural Anthropology (Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2012).
64. Mauma Downie and Christina Gladwin, Florida Farm Wives: They Help the Family Farm Survive (Gainesville: Food
and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, 1981).
65. Judith K. Brown, “A Note on the Division of Labor by Sex,” American Anthropologist 72 (1970):1073-78.
66. See www.momsrising.org for some contemporary examples of the challenges and obstacles workplaces pose for
working mothers, as well as efforts to advocate for improved accommodation of parenting and working.
67. Conrad Kottak, Cultural Anthropology. Appreciating Cultural Diversity (New York: McGraw Hill, 2013).
68. See C. Mukhopadhyay, Human Sexuality Lecture notes, for the following analysis, available from
http://www.sjsu.edu/people/carol.mukhopadhyay/courses/AnthBioHS140/. See also Mukhopadhyay, Part II,
“Culture Creates Race,” especially chapter 7 and 9, in Carol Mukhopahdyay, R. Henze and Y. Moses How Real is
Race? A Sourcebook on Race, Culture and Biology (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
69. Ibid.
70. This and subsequent material comes from C. Mukhopadhyay, Part 2, especially chapter 9, and p. 182-185, in
Carol Mukhopahdyay, R. Henze and Y. Moses. How Real is Race? A Sourcebook on Race, Culture and Biology, 2nd edition (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
71. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, Yolanda Moses and Rosemary Henze, How Real is Race?, Chapter 9.
72. Annette B. Weiner, The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1987).
73. Lu Hui, “Preferential Bilateral-Cross-Cousin Marriage among the Nuosu in Liangshan,” in Perspectives on the Yi
of Southwest China, Stevan Harrell, ed. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001).
74. Elizabeth Fernea, Guests of the Sheik.
75. See the film Maasai Women, 1980.
76. An excellent documentary on two alternative paths some women take in contemporary India: the Miss India
path and the fundamentalist Hindu path. Filmed in India, The World Before Her, http://www.pbs.org/pov/worldbeforeher/.
77. See https://contemporaryfamilies.org/the-way-we-still-never-were-brief-report/ and https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-14/singles-now-outnumber-married-people-america-and-thats-good-thing for background and links to detailed information.
78. Material in this text box was adapted from “What Can We Learn from the Na? Shattering Ideas about Family
and Relationships,” a TEDx FurmanU presentation by Tami Blumenfield. See also Tami Blumenfield, “Chinese
Tour Groups in Europe, Chinese Tour Groups in Yunnan: Narrating a Nation in the World” The China Beat June
2, 2011. http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=3494; Siobhan M. Mattison, Brooke Scelza, and Tami Blumenfield,
“Paternal Investment and the Positive Effects of Fathers among the Matrilineal Mosuo (Na) of Southwest
China” American Anthropologist 116 no. 3 (2014): 591–610; Tami Blumenfield, “Resilience in Mountainous Southwest China: Adopting a Socio-Ecological Approach to Community Change,” in Worlds in the Making: Interethnicity and the Processes of Generating Meaning in Southwestern China, Cahiers d’Extrême Asie 23 (2014).
79. See reviews in Naomi Quinn, “Anthropological Studies of Women’s Status,” Annual Review of Anthropology 6
(1977): 181-225; Carol Mukhopadhyay and Patricia Higgins, “Anthropological Studies of the Status of Women
Revisited: l977-l987” Annual Review of Anthropology 17 (1988):461-95.
80. Michelle Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere, ed. Woman, Culture and Society (Stanford: Stanford University Press,
81. Rayna Rapp Reiter, ed. Toward an Anthropology of Women (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975); Karen Sacks,
Sisters and Wives. The Past and Future of Sexual Equality (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1979).
82. Peggy Sanday, Female Power and Male Dominance: On the Origins of Sexual Inequality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
83. For an alternative ethnographic, research based video see N!ai: The Story of a !Kung Woman. 1980 .
84. Carol Mukhopadhyay and Patricia Higgins, “Anthropological Studies of the Status of Women Revisited:
l977-l987,” Annual Review of Anthropology 17 (1988), 462.
85. Ibid.
86. See for example, Evelyn Blackwood. Webs of Power. Women, Kin, and Community in a Sumatran Village (Lanham,
MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2000); Marcia Inhorn, Infertility and Patriarchy: The Cultural Politics of Gender and
Family Life in Egypt (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996); Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb,
ed. Blood Magic. The Anthropology of Menstruation. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988); Marcia
Inhorn, and Frank Van Balen, eds. Infertility around the Globe: New Thinking on Childlessness, Gender and Reproductive Technologies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
87. Johnnetta Cole, ed. All American Women: Lines That Divide, Ties That Bind (New York:Free Press, 1986).Louise
Lamphere, Helena Ragone and Patricia Zavella, eds. Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life. (New
York: Routledge, 1997).
88. See for example, Faye Ginsburg. Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Dorothy Holland and Margaret Eisenhart. Educated in Romance. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1990); Peggy Sanday, Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood, and Privilege on Campus. (New York:
New York University Press, 2007).
89. Peggy Sanday, “The Socio-cultural Context of Rape: A Cross-cultural Study” Journal of Social Issues 37 no. 5
(1981): 5-27. See also Conrad Kottak, Cultural Anthropology. Appreciating Cultural Diversity (New York: McGraw
Hill, 2013); Veena Das, Violence, Gender and Subjectivity, Annual Reviews of Anthropology 37 (2008):283-299;
Tulsi Patel, ed. Sex-Selective Abortion in India. Gender, Society and New Reproductive Technologies (New Delhi, India:
Sage Publications, 2007).
90. Eleanor Leacock and Helen I. Safa, eds., Women’s Work: Development and the Division of Labor by Gender (South
Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1986); Nandini Gunewardena and Ann Kingsolver, eds. The Gender of Globalization: Women Navigating Cultural and Economic Marginalities (Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press,
2008); Kay B.Warren and Susan C. Bourque, “Women, Technology, and Development Ideologies. Frameworks
and Findings,” in Sandra Morgen, ed. Critical Reviews for Research and Teaching (Washington, DC: American
Anthropological Association Publication, 1989), 382-410.
91. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay and Susan Seymour, ed. Women, Education and Family Structure in India (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).
92. Ellen Lewin, Lesbian Mothers: Accounts of Gender in American Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 1993).
93. See Joan Gero and Margaret Conkey, ed. Engendering Archeology. Women and Prehistory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); Sarah M. Nelson, Worlds of Gender. The Archeology of Women’s Lives Around the Globe. (Lanham,
MD: Altamira, 2007). See also earlier volumes. Rosemary A. Joyce, Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives: Sex, Gender and
Archeology (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2008); Barbara Voss, “Sexuality Studies in Archeology,” Annual
Review of Anthropology 37 (2008): 317-336.
94. The following analysis was developed by Mukhopadhyay in scholarly papers and in lecture notes.
95. Mary E. Hegland, Days of Revolution: Political Unrest in an Iranian Village (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press,
96. This analysis was developed by Mukhopadhyay in scholarly papers and in lecture notes. An example of this pattern from Iran is Mary E. Hegland, Days of Revolution.
97. Conrad Kottak, Cultural Anthropology. Appreciating Cultural Diversity.15th ed. (McGraw Hill, 2013).
98. E. Friedl, Women and Men: An Anthropologist’s View; C. Mukhopadhyay and Patricia Higgins, “Anthropological
Studies of the Status of Women Revisited: 1977–1987.” Annual Review of Anthropology 17 (1988): 461–495.
99. One 1970s male pilot, when asked about why there were no women pilots, said, without thinking, “Because
women aren’t strong enough to fly the plane!” He then realized what he’d said and laughed. From Mukhopadhyay, field notes, 1980.
100. Ann Stoler, “Making Empire Respectable. The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in Twentieth-century Colonial Cultures,” in Situated Lives. Gender and Culture in Everyday Life, ed. Louise Lamphere, H. Ragone, and P.
Zavella, 373–399 (New York: Routledge, 1997).
101. Peggy Sanday, Women at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 2002).
102. Mukhopadhyay, lecture notes, Gender and Culture.
103. See for instance Annette B. Weiner, The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea; Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein, A
World Full of Women; Carolyn B. Brettell and Carolyn F. Sargent, eds. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective.
104. Kirsten Marie Ernst,“Rios, Pontes E Overdrives:” Northeastern Regionalism in a Globalized Brazil (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); John Collins, “‘BUT WHAT IF I SHOULD NEED TO DEFECATE IN YOUR
NEIGHBORHOOD, MADAME?’: Empire, Redemption, and the ‘Tradition of the Oppressed’ in a Brazilian
World Heritage Site,” Cultural Anthropology 23 no. 2 (2012): 279–328; Jan Rocha, “Analysis: Brazil’s ‘Racial
Democracy’” BBC News, April 19, 2000; Allan Charles Dawson, “Food and Spirits: Religion, Gender, and Identity
in the ‘African’ Cuisine of Northeast Brazil,” African and Black Diaspora 5 (2012): 243–263; Alan P Marcus, “Sex,
Color and Geography: Racialized Relations in Brazil and Its Predicaments” Annals of the Association of American
Geographers 103(5): 1282–1299.
105. Ruth Landes, The City of Women (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1947), 2, 6–13, 61–64, 92, 106.
106. E. Franklin Frazier, “The Negro Family in Bahia, Brazil” American Sociological Review 7 no. 4 (1942): 476–477; E.
Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1939), 125. For the
opposing view, see Mark Alan Healey, “‘The Sweet Matriarchy of Bahia’: Ruth Landes’ Ethnography of Race and
Gender.” Disposition: The Cultural Practice of Latinamericanism II 23 no. 50 (1998): 101.
107. See Melville J. Herskovits, “The Negro in Bahia, Brazil: A Problem in Method” American Sociological Review 8 no.
4 (1943): 395–396; Edison Carneiro, “Letters from Edison Carneiro to Ruth Landes: Dating from September 28,
1938 to March 14, 1946” (Washington, DC: Box 2 Ruth Landes Papers, National Anthropological Archives,
Smithsonian Institution, 1938); Ruth Landes, The City of Women (New York: MacMillan Company, 1947).
108. Ruth Landes, “Fetish Worship in Brazil” The Journal of American Folklore 53 no. 210(1940): 261.
109. Ruth Landes, The City of Women (New York: MacMillan Company, 1947), 31–32, 37.
110. Ruth Landes, “Negro Slavery and Female Status” African Affairs 52 no. 206 (1953): 55. Also, Ruth Landes, “A Cult
Matriarchate and Male Homosexuality” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 35 no. 3 (1940): 386–387,
393–394; Ruth Landes, “Negro Slavery and Female Status,” African Affairs 52 no. 206 (1953): 55–57.
111. J. Lorand Matory, “Gendered Agendas: The Secrets Scholars Keep about Yorùbá‐Atlantic Religion,” Gender &
History 15 no. 3 (2003): 413.
112. Cheryl Sterling, “Women-Space, Power, and the Sacred in Afro-Brazilian Culture,” The Global South 4 no. 1
(2010): 71–93.
113. Nandini Gunewardena and Ann Kingsolver, The Gender of Globalization: Women Navigating Cultural and Economic
Marginalities (Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008).
114. Women’s political power, when exerted, may go unnoticed by the global media. For an example, see the documentary Pray the Devil to Hell on women’s role in forcing Liberian President Charles Taylor from office and leading to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President. For an excellent documentary on some of the alternative
paths contemporary women in India are taking, see The World before Her. For more on changes in women’s education in India, see Carol C. Mukhopadhyay. 2001. “The Cultural Context of Gendered Science: The Case of
India.” Available at http://www.sjsu.edu/people/carol.mukhopadhyay/papers/
115. See the excellent film The Purity Myth: The Virginity Movement’s War Against Women. Available through Media
Education Foundation.
116. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay. 1982. “Sati or Shakti: Women, Culture and Politics in India.” In Perspectives on Power:
Women in Asia, Africa and Latin America, edited by Jean O’Barr, 11–26. Durham, NC: Center for International
Studies, Duke University; Carol C. Mukhopadhyay. 2008. “Sati or Shakti: An Update in Light of Contemporary
U.S. Presidential Politics.” Paper presented at Gender and Politics from a Feminist Anthropological Perspective.
November 2008, San Francisco. On the 2016 Election, see: Carol Mukhopadhyay.. “Gender and Trump,” Social
Justice blog, January 19, 2017, http://www.socialjusticejournal.org/gender-and-trump/.
117. For more information on the initial Trump video, see http://time.com/4523755/donald-trump-leaked-tapeimpact. For coverage of the women accusing Trump and his response, see http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/14/
politics/trump-women-accusers/index.html. For coverage of Trumps’ response to the allegations, see
118. Carly Wayne, Nicholas Valentino and Marzia Oceno. 2016. “How Sexism Drives Support for Donald Trump.”
Washington Post, October 23. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/10/23/how-sexism-drives-support-for-donald-trump. Also see Libby Nelson. 2016. “Hostility toward Women Is One of the
Strongest Predictors of Trump Support.” Vox. November 1. http://www.vox.com/2016/11/1/13480416/trumpsupporters-sexism. For an article that also covers research by psychologists, see Emily Crockett. 2016. “Why
Misogyny Won.” Vox. November 15. http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13571478/trump-presidentsexual-assault-sexism-misogyny-won.
119. For examples of anti-Clinton rhetoric, see article and associated video at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
entry/deplorable-anti-clinton-merch-at-trump-rallies_us_572836e1e4b016f378936c22. Figures for numbers of
witches killed range from thousands to millions, with most suggesting at least 60,000–80,000 and probably far
more. Regardless, it is estimated that 75–80 percent were women. See for example Douglas Linder. 2005. “A
Brief History of Witchcraft Persecutions before Salem” http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/
witchhistory.html and http://womenshistory.about.com/od/witcheseurope/a/Witch-Hunts-In-Europe-Timeline.htm.
120. Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll suggested one reason polls were wrong is that female Trump voters hid their
actual voting preferences from pollsters. DiCamillo is quoted in Debra J. Saunders. 2016. “How Herd Mentality
Blinded Pollsters to Trump Potential.” San Francisco Chronicle. November 13, E3.
121. For a critique of those who “blame” Euro-American (“white”) women for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, see the article
by Kelly Dittmar. 2016. “No, Women Didn’t Abandon Clinton, Nor Did She Fail to Win Their Support.” Ms.
Magazine. November 14. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2016/11/14/women-didnt-abandon-clinton/.
122. See Women in the World. 2016. “Donald Trump’s Victory Threatens to Upend Progressive Notions of Masculinity.” November 20. http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/11/20/donald-trumps-victory-threatens-to-upend-progressive-notions-of-masculinity/.
123. For a powerful video reaction and interpretation of this election, see https://vimeo.com/191751334.
124. There is a huge body of research on these (and other) topics that we simply have not been able to cover in one
chapter of a book. We hope the material and references we have provided will give readers a starting point for
further investigation!
125. Many gender studies scholars have moved away from labeling people “biologically female” or “biologically male,”
shifting instead to terms like “assigned female at birth” and “assigned male at birth.” Terms that foreground
assignment help recognize the fluidity of gender identity and the existence of intersex people who do not fit
neatly into those categories.
126. Carol C. Mukhopadhyay, “A Feminist Cognitive Anthropology: The Case of Women and Mathematics” Ethos 32
no. 4 (2004): 458-492.
127. David Valentine, Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,
2007). See also Jessi Hempel, “My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family” TIME September 2016. http://time.com/4475634/trans-man-pregnancy-evan./
128. Gary G. Gates, “How Many People are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender?” University of California, Los
Angeles: Williams Institute, 2011. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographicsstudies/how-many-people-are-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender./
129. David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked a Gay Revolution (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010); Eric Marcus, Making
Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights (New York: Harper Collins, 2002).
130. Jafari Sinclaire Allen, “‘In the Life’ In Diaspora: Autonomy / Desire / Community,” in Routledge Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Rights, ed. Peter Aggleton and Richard Parker (New York: Routledge, 2010), 459.
131. Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook, “Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: ‘Gender Normals,’ Transgender
People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality” Gender and Society 23 no. 4 (2009): 440–464.
132. Justin McCarthy, “Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%.” Gallup. http://www.gallup.com/
133. Ellen Lewin and William Leap, Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology (Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 2002); William Leap and Ellen Lewin, Out in the Field: Reflections of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996).
134. Jessica Johnson, “The Citizen-Soldier: Masculinity, War, and Sacrifice at an Emerging Church in Seattle, Washington.” Political and Legal Anthropology Review 33 no. 2 (2010): 326–351.
135. Tamara Metz, Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for Their Divorce (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 2010).
136. Miriam Smith, “Gender Politics and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate in the United States,” Social Politics 17 no. 1
(2010): 1-28. Quote is on p.1
137. Luke Malone, “Here Are The 32 States Where You Can Be Fired For Being LGBT,” Vocativ.com, February 12,
2015. http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/lgbt-rights-kansas/.
138. The Williams Institute. 2012. “America’s Shame: 40% of Homeless Youth are LGBT Kids.” San Diego Gay and
Lesbian News, 13 July. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/americas-shame-40-of-homeless-youth-arelgbt-kids/.
139. Fire, film by Mira Nair. 1996. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2yW8BtM8sw.
140. Don Kulick, “The Gender of Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes” American Anthropologist 99 no. 3 (1997):
141. Evelyn Blackwood, “Tombois in West Sumatra: Constructing Masculinity and Erotic Desire,” in Feminist Anthropology: A Reader, ed. Ellen Lewin, 411–434 (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
142. Ara Wilson, The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons, and Avon Ladies in the Global City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).
143. Lucetta Yip Lo Kam, Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China. Hong Kong: Hong
Kong University Press, 2012).
144. Ibid.
145. Frances E. Mascia-Lees, ed., A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment (Malden, MA: WileyBlackwell, 2011).
146. Don Kulick and Jens Rydström, Loneliness and Its Opposite: Sex, Disability, and the Ethics of Engagement (Durham,
NC: Duke University Press, 2015); Susan Greenhalgh, Fat-Talk Nation: The Human Costs of America’s War on Fat
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015); Ellen Gruenbaum, The Female Circumcision Controversy: An
Anthropological Perspective (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001); Seth M. Holmes, Fresh Fruit,
Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013); Eithne
Luibhéid, Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).
147. Pamela Runestad, “The Medical Anthropologist as the Patient: Developing Research Questions on Hospital Food
in Japan through Auto-Ethnography,”ASIANetwork Exchange 23 no. 1 (2016):66-82.
148. Emily Martin, The Woman in the Body (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987); Emily Martin, “The Egg and the
Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles” Signs 16 no. 3
(1991): 485-501.
149. Emily Martin, “The Egg and the Sperm,” 485.
150. David H. Freedman, “The Aggressive Egg,” Discover, June, 1992, 61–65.
151. The Miracle of Life, 1983. There was a sequel in 2001: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/life-greatest-miracle.html.
152. Corinne P. Hayden, “Gender, Genetics and Generation: Reformulating Biology in Lesbian Kinship,” Cultural
Anthropology 10 no. 1 (1995): 41–63.
153. For some of the positive results for women, see Vanessa Fong, “China’s One-Child Policy and the Empowerment
of Urban Daughters,” American Anthropologist 104 no. 4 (2002): 1098-1109.
154. The examples from Turkey come from: “The Biopolitics of the Family in Turkey: neoconservatism, sexuality and
reproduction.” Session at 2015 American Anthropological Association meetings, Denver; and from a paper given
by Sen Gupta in session 4-0615, “Development, Gender, and the neoliberal Social Imaginary,” at the 2015 American Anthropological Association meetings, Denver. There is a huge body of research on these topics (and others) that we simply could not cover in one chapter. We hope the references we have provided will give readers a
starting point for further investigation!
155. Ruth Behar, “Introduction: Out of Exile,” in Women Writing Culture, ed. Ruth Behar and Deborah Gordon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Peggy Golde, Women in the Field: Anthropological Experiences (Chicago,
IL: Aldine Publishing Company, 1970); Nancy J. Parezo, Hidden Scholars: Women Anthropologists and the Native
American Southwest (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993), 5–9.
156. Helen Brannagh, “Sex ‘Suggested’ and Power Play: Notes on Harassment in the Field,” in China: New Faces of
Ethnography, ed. Bettina Gransow, Pal Nyiri, and Shiaw-Chian Fong (Piscataway, NJ: Verlag, 2005); Fran
Markowitz and Michael Ashkenaziand, Sex, Sexuality, and the Anthropologist (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1999).
157. See Candice Cornet and Tami Blumenfield, “Anthropological Fieldwork and Families in China and Beyond,” in
Doing Fieldwork in China…with Kids! The Dynamics of Accompanied Fieldwork in the People’s Republic, ed. Candice
Cornet and Tami Blumenfield (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2006); Tami Blumenfield, “Blurred Boundaries of
Learning and Ethnography in an Era of Constant Connectedness: Lessons from Fieldwork with Children in
Southwest China,” ibid, 69–85. Additional perspectives from a father-son duo and a mother-daughter pair in the
same volume are those by Eriberto P. Lozada Jr. and E. Patrick Lozada III, “Opening the Door (开门): Doing
Fieldwork with Children in Rural China,” and by Jeanne L. Shea, “Clean Your Plate and Don’t Be Polite: An
American Mother’s Education in Early Childhood Parenting and Family Life in Shanghai, China.” For another
discussion of how children influence perceptions of a fieldworking parent, see Jocelyn Linnekin, “Family and
Other Uncontrollables: Impression Management in Accompanied Fieldwork,” in Fieldwork and Families: Constructing New Models for Ethnographic Research, ed. Juliana Flinn, Leslie Marshall, and Jocelyn Armstrong (Hon283
olulu: Hawaii University Press, 1998), 71–83.
158. Lynn Bolles, “Telling the Story Straight: Black Feminist Intellectual Thought in Anthropology” Transforming
Anthropology: Journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists 21 no. 1 (2013): 63–64.
159. See Christina Wasson et al., We’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe: Academic Climate Report of the Committee on the Status
of Women in Anthropology, 2008, 5, 8. Available from https://web.csulb.edu/~lemaster/Publications
(PDFs)/2008-coswa-academic-climate-report.pdf and Elizabeth Rudd, E. Morrison, J. Picciano, and Maresi
Nerad, “Social Science PhDs—Five Years Out: Anthropology Report. CIRGE Report 2008-01,”
2008. http://www.education.uw.edu/cirge/social-science-phds-five-years-out-anthropology-report-2/.
160. Ibid.
161. See Agatha M. Beins and Judith L. Kennedy, Women’s Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics
(Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005); Florence Howe and Mari Jo Buhl, The Politics of Women’s Studies:
Testimony from the 30 Founding Mothers (New York: The Feminist Press, 2000); Marilyn J. Boxer and Caroline
Stimpson, When Women Ask the Questions: Creating Women’s Studies in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); Susan Shaw and Janet Lee, Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions (New York: McGraw Hill, 2014).
162. Rachel Adams and Michael Savan, The Masculinity Studies Reader (New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002); Judith Keagan Gardiner, Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); Matthew C.
Gutmann, “Trafficking in Men: The Anthropology of Masculinity,” Annual Review of Anthropology 26 no. 1 (2007):
385–409. There were a number of earlier explorations of masculinity, several focused on African-American
males. See for example Michelle Wallace, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (New York: Warner Books,
163. See especially numerous films available through Media Education Foundation and Women Make Movies. See
also Susan Bordo, The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux,
1999); Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014). Also, Jackson Katz’ film
Tough Guise 2: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity (2013) and the website www.jacksonkatz.com/ have
other books, articles, and workshops on gender violence prevention. See also Michael Kimmel, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (New York: Harper Perennial, 2009).
164. Thomas Grego, Mehinaku: The Drama of Daily Life in a Brazilian Indian Village (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1977). See also Paula Brown and Georgeda Buchbinder, Man and Woman in the New Guinea Highlands
(Washington DC: American Anthropological Association, 1976); Gilbert Herdt, Guardians of the Flutes (film);
Stanley Brandeis, Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1980); Sherry B. Ortner and Harriet Whitehead, Sexual Meanings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); David Gilmore, Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1990).
165. See article by Matthew C. Guttman, “Trafficking in Men: The Anthropology of Masculinity,” Annual Review of
Anthropology 26 (2007): 385–409.
166. See several excellent videos through Media Education Foundation including Dreamworlds 3, Killing Us Softly 4,
The Purity Myth as well as those addressing masculinity such as Tough Guise 2, Joystick Warriors, and Hip Hop:
Beyond Beats and Rhymes.
167. Philippe Bourgois and Jeffrey Schonberg, Righteous Dopefiend (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009);
Seth M. Holmes, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013); Mary H. Moran, “Warriors or Soldiers? Masculinity and Ritual Transvestism in the Liberian
Civil War,” in Situated Lives, ed. Louise Lamphere, Helena Ragone, and Patricia Zavella, 440–450. New York:
Routledge, 1997); Kimberly Theidon, “Reconstructing Masculinities: The Disarmament, Demobilization, and
Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia,” in The Gender, Culture, and Power Reader, ed. Dorothy Hodgson, 420–429 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Casey High, “Warriors, Hunters, and Bruce Lee: Gendered Agency and the Transformation of Amazonian Masculinity” American Ethnologist 37 no. 4 (2010): 753–770.
168. James W. Messerschmidt, Masculinities in the Making: From the Local to the Global (Lanham, MD: Rowman Littlefield, 2015).
169. Liu Shao-hua, Passage to Manhood: Youth, Masculinity, and Migration in Southwest China (Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 2010).
170. See Marcia C. Inhorn, The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012); Marcia C. Inhorn, Wendy Chavkin, and Jose-Alberto Navarro, Globalized Fatherhood. New York: Berghahn. For discussion of Japan, see Mark J. McLelland. 2005. “Salarymen Doing
Queer: Gay Men and the Heterosexual Public Sphere in Japan,” in Genders, Transgenders and Sexualities in Japan,
edited by M. J. McLelland and R. Dasgupta, 96–110 (New York: Routledge, 2014).
171. Dipanita Nath, “Mardistan: Four Men Talk about Masculinity in Harjant Gill’s Film,” The Indian Express, August
25, 2014. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/be-a-super-man./ The film is available online:


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Discovering Cultural Anthropology by Antonia M. Santangelo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book