It’s Not “Just” a Symbol

The new Maya Angelou quarter is a symbol, yes. But not “just” a symbol. Because, symbols matter. If they didn’t, they would just be like other, ordinary stuff. If symbols didn’t matter, we wouldn’t fight over them. As in, people burning or otherwise desecrating flags when they’re mad at their

Continue reading

Birth as Ritual/Ritual as Birth

Cultural anthropologist, Robbie Davis-Floyd, is a leading anthropologist in the fields of childbirth, midwifery, and obstetrics.   A Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin, she has studied childbirth practices firsthand in the U.S., Mexico, and elsewhere, and has promoted the work and legitimacy of

Continue reading

A Tale of Two (Ad) Campaigns

For a while, the mega-global corporation, Unilever — owner of Dove beauty products — spoke thoughtfully to the world’s women. The 13-year-long “Real Beauty” campaign that began in the early ’90s aimed to “change the conversation” about gender by presenting women of many colors, sizes, and body shapes in its ads

Continue reading

A Review of “Euphoria” by Lily King

The novel, Euphoria, by Lily King, published in 2014, became a national best-seller and won several major literary awards.  Based loosely on a brief period in the life of Margaret Mead as she hesitated between Reo Fortune (to whom she was married) and Gregory Bateson (who the couple met while conducting

Continue reading

An Anthropologist at the Women’s March on Washington, Part 2: The Posters

  Photo by Noam Galai Women (and some men) with signs, as far as the eye could see. In my first post about the Women’s March of January 21, 2017, I chronicled the social and emotional ties I saw created in this space of massive communitas, feminist style. Here, I

Continue reading

When Feminism Starts in Fifth Grade

Can ten-year-olds be feminists? Absolutely. This group of fifth graders just voted to forfeit their basketball season unless their co-ed team is allowed to compete, girls included. Feminism is not a radical world view.  It’s simply the proposition that women and girls are human.  These ten-year-old boys and girls in

Continue reading

An Anthropologist at the Women’s March on Washington, Part 1: Finding Communitas, Feminist Style

(photo by Alma Gottlieb) The doors of our metro car opened and closed, opened and closed with increasingly alarming dysfunction.  On any other day, the many more dozens of people jammed into our subway car than (for safety reasons) should have occupied our tight, air-deprived space would have panicked–jostled, elbowed, and accused one

Continue reading

The Story behind “A World of Babies”

Interested in learning some behind-the-scenes stories about how “A World of Babies” came into existence? Check out a new interview with my co-editor, Judy DeLoache, and me in a newsletter published this month by the Jacobs Foundation, a private organization (based in Zurich, Switzerland) dedicated to improving the lives of

Continue reading

An Open Letter to My Grandchildren

Dear Dean and Mona,   At four years old and ten months old, you are both too young to understand why the grown-ups around you keep talking about confusing words like “deeply flawed candidates” and “misguided pollsters.” But sooner than I’d like, the realities of yesterday’s vote will begin affecting

Continue reading
%d bloggers like this: