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Cultural Anthropology

By Dealing Jan 08, 2013 499 Words
What is the traditional
sexual division of labor in American culture? Is it undergoing a transformation? Among Btsisi’, women and men are respected for the tasks they perform. Do you think this is the case in the United States?

Traditionally, women are the caregivers, the householder, the cook and the cleaner. The men worked and provided the means of survival, the money. It’s silly to think that it has not transformed over time. Many of the other discussions mention the sudden flood of women going into the workforce in the 70’s but it started so much earlier than that. The start of the revolution for women's right started back in the 1900’s - women were being treated disrespectfully because they were women and because women “traditionally” had a place - in the home, in the workforce, in society.

Btsisi not only share the labor but also share equal respect. Instead of dividing the labor duties among the women and the men, they respectfully work together because they are 1 union.

An Inuit mother has just
given birth to a baby. She has a one–year–old baby still dependent on her milk. It is the season of food scarcity, which means the mother is not as well nourished as she could be. She and her husband decide that their older child is a higher priority, and they opt to end their newborn baby's life. Considering the concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism, discuss the practice of infanticide.

This would be a hard thing to personally swallow - in our society, killing a child is a horrific brutal crime (post birth). When i thought about this question I immediately related the situation in to abortion. Yes yes, i know that terminating a baby in the womb and terminated a baby in the flesh is dramatically different, but the idea is or can be relative. A young single mother of 3 becomes pregnant again, knowing she can’t handle/support another human without bringing down the quality of life for the rest of the family and the newborn...abortion is bound to cross her mind.

The Inuit mother and father simply understand the art of survival - The environment which this Inuit family lives does not provide special services like welfare and food support. They live off the environment which provides what it provides. According to our readings, 4 years between children is proper...not because otherwise the mother would look like a tramp, but because that is what the living environment allows. Bringing the additional child into the family would potentially cause fatal result, not only for the newborn...but the mom and the older child as well.

Kill one, save a thousand. I am not saying that this is something i believe in and i am putting aside my moral judgement to understand what an Inuit family needs to do. It’s a scary thing to “murder” a child...but bottom line - if they kept the child, they may

would have all died anyway.

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