Importance of Sex and Gender in Anthropology

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The study of sex and gender has played an important role and greatly influenced the field of Anthropology in several ways. Some of the examples I will use will show the importance of this study not only in the field of Anthropology, but also the four main subsections as well. These subsections include: physical, archeology, social and cultural, and linguistics. After reading the assigned readings I have come to the conclusion that some of these subsections have been impacted in several different ways. The fields that have been greatly influenced by sex and gender are physical anthropology, social and cultural, and archaeology. The importance of the study of sex and gender has greatly opened up the field to the study of women, and has expanded the field from as Miller (1993) puts it “that anthropology has been and still remains to a large degree a male-biased discipline”. The field of anthropology expanded to include more feminist scholars in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and it was during this time that social/cultural anthropologists had a desire to reveal the “invisible” world of women that had been previously ignored (Miller 1993). In the field of physical anthropology most past works and studies have been concerned with gender differences. According to McCown, as cited by Miller (1993) the study of human evolution is still male-biased as evidenced, among other things, by the use of male skeletal remains as the standard measure and the great preponderance of male primate skulls kept in museums (p. 13). Miller (1993) has shown in the field of physical anthropology that there have been several problems with accuracy of determining the roles of sex and gender. Miller (1993) states that “two serious problems with skeletal remains daunt those who study gender in prehistory, the difficulty in accurately determining the sex of many of the remains and the small number of
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