Female Genital Cutting, Sexuality, and Anti-FGC Advocacy

This post is a response to the increasingly heated thread at Feministe on Female Genital Cutting (FGC). Nearly every mention of FGC in our society elicits condemnation of the practices and the people who practice them as “bestial”, “barbarian”, “inhuman”, “uncivilized”, “heinous”, etc., which has a tendency to set me off. For a long time I’ve wondered about the incredible and disproportional response FGC incites in Westerners, feminists and non-feminists alike, responses which generally are very far removed from the reported responses and experiences of women who have undergone some form of [Continue reading]

Elyce Elucidates: The Gender Politics of Housework

The Gender Politics of Housework

One key concept to understanding how housework is political is to grasp the concept, developed by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, that housework is work. It is valuable yet undervalued labor because it is unpaid. And the bulk of this unpaid labor, even in dual-career marriages, is done by women, without recognition of this fact.

When Monogamy Isn’t Monogamous

Originally posted at Savage Minds on November 16, 2005.

Every time I teach the section on marriage in my Intro to Anthro class, I inevitably face the same question. The book lists four types of marriage: monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, and group marriage. and someone always asks “What about swingers?” (Of course, I live and teach in Vegas…) The question points to a limitation of the concept of marriage not just for anthropological understanding but even within our own everyday usage.