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The Feminist Critique and the Postmodern Challenge to Anthropology - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Lecturer: Date: The Feminist Critique and the Postmodern Challenge to Anthropology Feminist Critique is a term that traces its roots to the Ideal that is commonly referred to as Feminism. This critique, also known as Feminist criticism, according to Esther Lombardi is defined as a type of literal criticism, that studies and advocates for the rights of women…
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The Feminist Critique and the Postmodern Challenge to Anthropology

Download file to see previous pages... Feminism, as an ideal, is the collection of movements, associations, groupings and or establishments that aim at defending, defining and establishing equality in the spheres of social rights, politics and the economy; this pertaining to women. In addition, the ideal promotes the creation and provision of equal opportunities for women in both education and also in employment. Thus, a feminist is a person who’s behavioral and belief systems are based on the ideal of feminism (Fruzzetti 39). From the afore-mentioned feminist movements, associations and groupings emerged the Feminist theory, which aimed at understanding the causes and reasons for the presence of gender inequality. This understanding was based on the examination of women lived experiences and social roles throughout history and into the contemporary 21st Century. From it emerged different theories that touched on a variety of disciplines; this so as to respond and subsequently address issues such as the social construct of gender and sex. Some earlier forms of the theory received criticism for their taking into consideration only educated, white middle-class perspectives. As a result, of this criticism, was the creation of multi-culturalist and/ or ethnically-specific forms of the theory (Cott 73). Feminists campaign on the platform of ‘Women’s Rights’ – bodily integrity, reproductive rights (including access to abortion and contraceptives), women’s suffrage, equal pay, right to property and entry into contracts (contract law), and also voting. They seek to protect girls and women from domestic violence, sexual assaults and harassments among other violations. Due to its radical nature, this ideal has attracted its share of both criticism and blessings; this in the form of pro-feminism and anti-feminism ideologies. Feminism and Anthropology As a result of the feminist critique to anthropology, the approach – Feminist anthropology – emerged. It sought to study cultural anthropology and correct the perceived andro-centric bias within the field. Its origin can be traced to early anthropologists such as E.E. Evans-Pritchard and James Frazer, who both displayed much interest in the notions of marriage and kinship. Women would thus, always appear in their ethnographies. Henrietta Moore, who is a prominent theorist in (the school of thought of) feminist anthropology, though of the opinion that women had been included in anthropological research and theory, was of the view that the problem was not the presence of women in anthropology, but in its representation, interpretation and understanding (Bratton10). According to her, it is how women are included in anthropology that matters. Thus, the challenge, then, was to avail new critical analysis on the existing anthropological literature, including creation of new research that placed the ‘Woman’ in the centre of it. This led to the emergence of self-conscious feminist anthropology in the 1970s; this as a series of challenges to the male-dominated and biased anthropology. Rayna Rapp, in her work - Toward an Anthropology of Women (1975), was one of the earliest contributors to this emerging school. She argued that women and men experience gender differently; this in reference to the myriad of social markers. The experiences of women were in themselves a legitimate subject for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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