Re: Feminist perspectives

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Sun, 29 Jan 1995 19:53:41 PST

On Fri 27, Richley Crapo posted a forwarded message to the anthro
list. The message was written by Judy Brink and had the

>... At the beginning of one article there is a quote from
>Levi-Strauss "The ENTIRE VILLAGE left the next day in about 30 canoes,
>leaving us alone with the WOMEN AND CHILDREN in the abandoned houses."
>A quote such as this gets across quickly how women and children were
>ignored in the discipline.

Suppose Levi-Strauss had instead written, "All the adult men in
the village left the next day in about 30 canoes leaving us alone
with the women and children in the abandoned houses". This would
have more accurately conveyed what happened. In fact, his
mention of the remaining "women and children" shows they were
actually not ignored (at least not by Levi-Strauss). I suspect
Levi Strauss was not part of a decision to leave the women and
children behind as the author almost seems to imply. He used
some inaccurate language (assuming "entire" and "village" had the
same meanings to him as they do to us). Whether his language
usage was causative or reflective of prevailing conditions (in
the village as well as the discipline) is a significant
contemporary issue.

The example about the Yurok cited later in the posting indicates
the importance of considering conditions from a female's
viewpoint- which is unquestionably important (and has at times
been tragically lacking). She mentions "feminist research"
though we don't know the context of her message. A female's
perspective and a feminist position, per se, are not synonymous,
despite some "educators" attempt to unequivocally merge the two.
We don't know the extent to which Judy Brink advocates the former
vs. the latter on the basis of just the one message- which I
assume was posted to the anthro list with her permission.