Society and Sex Roles – Ernestine Friedl

Ive been reading a some chapters from Human Nature (i think its called that) but its about society and sex roles specifically in hunting and gathering groups such as tribes and eskimos etc and she looks at how within these groups of people, they still have this idea of men being the more dominant sex despite lacking the knowledge and ideologies of todays culture and discourses on male and female genders within society. She looks into why this happens and why men are still seen as leaders, basically its because men are the hunter and provider and women are seen as subordinates because they survive of the mens catch and they can only make things such as clothing or rugs (from the caught animal) because the man had caught it (so women couldn’t survive without men) she looks at some groups that are more egalitarian such as the Washo’s who are more equal because men and women lead a more separated life and women do hunt and kill and provide, they can also marry a man of their choice, inlike eskimo’s which are kind of like gypsy with the whole “grabbing” to select your wife. 

So she then concludes by saying that because of all these studies, men and women are shaped by a culturally defined division of labour based on sex, and that we still have some similar views in some ways today (not so much in this county)  because it is a result of biological inheritance. 

So, do you think that we are following a kind of tradition in views toward men and women? And are women still shadowed by men? Why?  

Rachael Ellis


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