Women Talk

Essay by taramankyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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Mariko Asano Tamanoi's article "Women's Voices: Their Critique of the Anthropology of Japan" from the Annual Review of Anthropology is an example of an article focusing on issues of feminist anthropology. She writes her article with a modern look at feminist anthropology where both males and females are investigated equally. This is evident primarily through Tamanoi's opening statements about her research which says, "to focus on women may seem to run against the current trend, in anthropological studies of women, toward emphasizing gender" (Tamanoi 1990:17). To further support her view of gender and sex, she makes the statement that "women do not constitute a social group but instead are present in nearly every group and class" (Tamanoi 1990:17). Tamanoi is putting forth the view that there is nothing particularly special about women over men, as each comprises half the world's population. Instead of mirroring the andocentric anthropology that feminism originally opposed and criticized, feminist anthropology is now trying to focus on the activities of both sexes equally (Boschma III).

Tamanoi's study is a summary and consolidation of studies performed by a variety of other researchers interested in Japanese women. She structures her commentary around the influences that family, community, nation and world system have on a Japanese woman (Tamanoi 1990:18).

After stating her objectives in the introduction, Tamanoi presents early beliefs about the nature of Japanese women within the family (Tamanoi 1990:18-19). Following this she describes opposing views of the 'traditional woman' that have risen out of more recent research (Tamanoi 1990:19-22). The traditional view of the Japanese woman was that of a content, compliant and submissive housewife and mother where, if the woman ever works outside the home, her work is always seen as being supplementary to the man's work (Tamanoi 1990:19). A new view of Japanese women...