Re: feminist anthropology vs gender studies

holly martelle hayter (martelle@EXECULINK.COM)
Thu, 30 May 1996 20:47:55 -0400

Hello everyone

No flaming here! I think it is possible to have a decent and
respectful converstation, don't you?

The boundaries between "feminist anthropology" and "gender studies"
are not always clear, even in my own work. However, it is a feminist
perspective that has guided an interest in gender, gender roles, gender
ideology and so on. In archaeology many MEN do "feminist" and "gendered"
archaeology. "Feminist" might be anything that is written from a critical
perspective in an effort to eliviate usually (male) bias (however male bias
can also interweave with historical bias and broader forms of interpretive
bias). "Gender studies" need not necessarily stem from a feminist
perspective although a central tenet in feminism is that gender shapes all
aspects of human experience and is therefore integral to any kind of
anthropological understanding.
But at the same time many MEN refuse to even consider a feminist
perspective. My personal interpretation of all this is that feminism is
perceived to be anti-male, as Adrienne commented.. For myself, and I would
argue the majority of women, feminism is not this. I would argue that only
radicals would support an anti-male image. Feminism has a serious image
problem this way. It is something that must be overcome if a change in
thinking is going to come about and some recent scholarship suggests this.
Some good articles include:

Bruce Feldthusen, "The Gender Wars: "Where the Boys Are" in Breaking
Anonymity:the Chilly Climate for Women Faculty. 1995. Wilfrid Laurier
University Press. Edited by the Chilly Collective.

Judith Newton and Judith Stacey, "Ms.Representations: Reflections on
Studying Academic Men. in Women Writing Culture. 1995. Ruth Behar and
Deborah Gordon, eds.

The first documents a range of male responses to feminism as he
encountered and understood them.

I suggested to John that he read some feminist work himself because
men often feel alientated by feminism(s) and therefore keep it at arms
length. In archaeology many prominent male theorists are starting to talk
about feminism openly because of its relationship to reflexive and
postmodern archaeology and its ability to produce new insights. However,
others see "woman" or "gender" in the title of any publication and
immediately discard or over look it. Often it depends on the individual.
I think Rapp, Sanday, Slocum, and so on were all writing about
gender from a feminist perspective because it was the political rallying of
the second wave feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s that
started them thinking and writing about these things.

That's just my take on the whole thing

Holly Martelle Hayter