Evolution of Women in Anthropology

I find that most illustrations and other representations depicting the evolution of humankind depict the evolution of males by default. A Google image search of “evolution of man” turns up a plethora of illustrations depicting the evolution of exactly that, A MAN. Women, for some strange reason, are nowhere to be seen, though I’m sure we were part of the process. Although there is this illustration which turns up on a number of websites: the evolution of man and woman.

As well as the more advanced version.

Even though I have studied a great deal of anthropology, including some physical anthropology, and have always been interested in evolution, I find that only the image of males evolving is stuck to my brain. What women looked like through the years? The gradual progression of sexual dimorphism, when things happened and what it looked like? Not so sure. If anyone knows where I could see an illustration of the evolution of women, that is, something that doesn’t depict us constantly cleaning the floor, I would be much obliged. Even though anthropology has taught me a lot about how women as gatherers were usually responsible for bringing in the most sustenance, and how societies with matrilineal kinship systems and egalitarian property structures are typically more peaceful and less patriarchal, I still get other messages from a lot of the images and language associated with our discipline. This is despite the fact that the canon of anthropology, at least on the cultural side, has been developed and influenced by female scholars.

Anthropology has, like most other sciences, been traditionally male-dominated. However, there have been a number of influential female anthropologists, the most popular of course including Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and some more contemporary women like Sherry Ortner. Other prominent female anthropologists can be found here.

Many of these anthropologists have questioned traditional philosophical paradigms that were based on deeply rooted Western canons whose development were heavily centered on the male perspective. Many female scholars have challenged traditional notions of sexuality and gender, Margaret Mead is perhaps best known for her endeavors in that arena, and in their own lives, ahead of their times, exhibited the fact that women can do science, write well, conduct intensive fieldwork, and lead very interesting personal lives. While these women were typically relegated to lower posts than their male counterparts, or earned a lower rate of pay, they introduced and influenced a great body of work that contributes a great deal to what anthropology is today. Female scholars have also developed a lively discourse in feminism and feminist anthropology, working to understand gender and power from a cross-cultural perspective. Women almost everywhere face various kinds of oppression, but not everyone experiences oppression, or empowerment, in the same way. In recent years, it has also become important to look at how gender inequality affects men, the concept of “maleness”, and the gender continuum which varies apart from biological sex.

Despite all of this, anthropology still seems alarmingly malecentric. For a field so heavily developed and influenced by women, I have to wonder where the women are depicted, and who understands their impact. It has been said that the way we talk about things filters what we understand of our reality. Images work the same way. If I’m a woman and I want to know how we as humans evolved, but all I can find are pictures of apes turning into men, I can’t see where we are in the picture. I don’t see humans, I see men. There are a lot of discussions going on in our field about how science textbooks, particularly in the field of biology, reinforce patriarchal notions, associating the male body with the stereotypical role of aggressor and sexual predator, for example, through the use of precise language and visual depiction. It seems that anthropology should be at the cutting edge of questioning and confronting those stereotypes.

67 thoughts on “Evolution of Women in Anthropology

  1. Very interesting. I am a student in my first Anthropolgy class and I have the same questions? If nonhuman primate societies are studied for answers to our questions about the behaviors in our own societies, why is it we don’t see more about female contribution to the evolutionary process?

    1. hello, I am a year 10 student and I’m doing a project on evolution. I was searching google for images and I found an image belonging to your site of the evolution of man and a woman cleaning. I would just like to say that that is extremely sexist and rude. It is an awful picture and I am very offended.

      1. If you have been an anthropology student for 10 years you should not be so easily offended. The image was added to the paper to reinforce the writer’s point.

        1. R U kidding? It is offensive no matter what….. this picture has no sense whatsoever andshouldn’t be used anywhere, even if writer IS trying to prove a point.

  2. the reason you don’t see studies on feminine evolution (culturally and physically) might be that since the field was male-dominated, women were not considered worth studying. alternatively, maybe it takes a female anthropologist to be able to provide the perspective that is needed to understand women’s historic role in society. just my own thoughts.

    1. Yes. (While men like you still exist…)

      Care to explain what is “bull” (I think you mean bullshit?) about these ideas? I thought they were clearly and compellingly stated. They are indeed feminist ideas, well noted – but that’s merely accurate description, so you’ve not suggested any reasons why they might be incorrect. Is your problem with the idea of evolution, or the concept that women are human?

      What’s a chap like you doing on an anthropology blog anyway?

      1. I can’t speak for Terry, but the bullshit I see on this blog entry is this “male perspective” crap. So what if the human depicted in a popular representation of evolution is male? I don’t see the blog author complaining about the human being white (what a nice coincidence). These complaints are illegitimate and, frankly, stupid.

        This complaint could potentially be a legitimate one if it was in the context of the image being oversimplified. However, the author is complaining that women aren’t being represented in an unscientific diagram, despite their contributions to science. Whoop-te-do. You know what? Women have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for science. Zero, zip. All the work was done by INDIVIDUALS who just happened to be female.

        It’s disgusting that the author would use the work of individuals who happened to share her sex and attribute their work to womenkind rather than to the individuals who did the work (or, at least humankind). Seriously, OP, no one cares what kind of genitalia you have. Get the hell over yourself.

        1. I haven’t replied to this post before because, most likely, it is probably fruitless to argue with someone who has your style of “criticism”. But I realized I should probably point out to you, for the benefit of other readers, that you misread the post. If you read carefully, you will notice that I wasn’t complaining about women not being represented in an unscientific diagram. The cartoon image has nothing to do with the central argument, which has to do with how human evolution is represented in scientific literature.

          It is also true that scientific representations of evolution tend to portray the subjects as white, and often there is even a “progression” from dark-complected to lighter skin. You should look up some of the literature on this subject if you are interested. There is also fascinating literature on “gendered” language and imagery in scientific texts on biology and other subjects.

          Your other points aren’t worth addressing.

        2. I think the author was trying to say that in our evolution (humans) that the females had totally different roles in the society than the male counterparts. If we study human evolution of the female human we may see a different side than what has been represented previously. Males did not suckle children or gather berries. They had to hunt dangerous game and protect their society from outside threats. Those are totally different roles. We know the guys were hunting but answer this, What were the females doing while the males were hunting?

  3. Terry, everything is political and always has been. Does it make any sense, scientifically or otherwise, to use only the male body to portray medical or evolutionary models, or to base such models only on the male body?

  4. Get over it already! Find things to contribute instead of sitting back and complaining…how does that add value? Introduce a new image of a woman evolving, then you can complain about how it is an exploitation of the female body, while still others can complain that, “I am sure a man was involved in that process somewhere.” Then we can evolve any further and complain that it does incorporate all races, or alternative lifestyles, or that we came from an ape, which hasn’t been proven, or what about people with blonde hair, and so on , and so on. Like I said, get over it…focus on something valuable.

  5. I have often believed that as ‘history’ is his story it
    would be told from ‘his’ perspective, as if women
    were adjutants.

    It is my belief that women, in the earlier times,
    pretended to be ‘weaker’ so as to avoid the dangerous exercise of tracking and trying to kill some big whatis with cheeseboard spears.

    The fact women developed agriculture and domesticated animals, leaving the males to be
    pretty much useless, save as the ‘hunters’ should
    have reduced males to the lesser in importance.

    In other species, there is usually one male who can
    play the ‘king’ and ‘defender’ and lots of females who do the work and raise the children.

    If one were to examine a very traditional group
    one would note the periphery nature of male members.

    Unfortunately for Anthropology, our ‘founding…
    fathers’, have promulgated a great deal of probably
    erroneous postulates.

    Outside of warfare, males are the least important
    members of a traditional group. They can disappear for weeks without being missed, whereas females are vital to survival of the group.

    Hence, there needs to be a rethinking of the discipline.

  6. I do not agree that requesting an evolutionary model for the female gender is complaining. It is very intriguing and actually necessary. Look at the different levels of sexual dimorphism from primate species to species; and, while humans are not considered to have sexual dimorphism, there are definite body size variations between males and females and between populations across the world. To see the rate of change from very dimorphic to being the same size should be a standard in models and diagrams. How long ago did females catch up? Were there variations in dimorphism instead of one linear change?

    Females becoming bipedal poses a much greater health risk than males making their evolution much more complicated. Quadrupeds have a larger pelvic allowance for giving birth (and a safer positioning at birth) and death in child birth is much less common. To become bipedal is to expose the female and baby to health complications that hardly make it initially worth the transition. Women and the complications of child birth due to the position of the smaller pelvis opening is still dangerous and claims the lives of many around the world. The female body is so different that I would argue that males have become the standard becuase thier evolutionary reproductive structure is more simply evolved. We should require a model for females, not because it is an issue of gender equality but because females are physically structured differently from an evolutionary stand point.

  7. Jaylar your comment in the first paragraph is is an old wives tale that has been used by western religious organizations for years to make a point. See even old wives have input into life.

    Laura, may I suggest you read up on forensic anthropology a little. If you were presented with a human pelvis and asked if it was male or female it is quite possible that after a series of measurements were taken you could claim quite emphatically it was male or female and be totally wrong. The same can even occur after checking a skull. The fact is the structure of the human skeletal system doesn’t really differ so much that you can clearly define a male female skeletal type and have every female have a female skeleton type and every male have a male skeleton type, it just doesn’t happen.

    1. You can assign gender to remains. They know that Otzi was a man because of his structure. The pubis bone is designed to permit child birth in females and is clearly identifiable as being that of a female body and skulls are generally a good indicator as based on size

      “Gender can be readily identified by examining the pubis bone, which is elongated in women to allow for childbirth—although the skull, too, is a good indicator, Wheatley points out. “It’s true that men have big heads,” he laughs. “Females are usually smaller and more delicate. You can get an 85- or 90-percent probability on sex from the skull.” In fact, Wheatley usually begins his examination with the skull, because so much can be determined from it.”
      http://main.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=45647

  8. This is understood, but it does not change nor does it address the fact that evolution for females would have been much more difficult and possibly on a different time scale than males. Would it have ever been at all possible to have a short overlapping time when males were mostly bipedal and females were not? This change did not occur over night. Natural selection would not favor a more dangerous child birth. Many of the first bipedal females may have died. I am just saying that an evolutionary model depicting females, and females along side males would a useful study to look into.

  9. The idea of a different evolutionary time frame isn’t all that strange and to me is quite feasible if it wasn’t for the fact that I pointed out above. If there was a different time scale I would think there would be more skeletal difference.

    Your correct that it would be useful to study the evolution of females, and females against males but I feel it would not bring you the results you would hope for in that you appear to want a very different evolutionary timescale.

    Your point about Natural Selection just cements my thoughts that it is a catch cry for people who cannot answer their own questions concerning evolution. It is obvious that Natural Selection is only a minor part in the overall picture and that there are other influences.

  10. Excellent article. Like good collecting in the field, science benefits from an alternative point of view and different search image.

    Cheers,

    Heidi Henderson aka Fossil Huntress

  11. This post is incredibly disappointing (as I explained in my other comment that hasn’t been posted yet). I expect far, far more from an anthropoligist than petty, thoughtless comments that are obviously influenced by our sex-centric culture where the sex of a person is more important than that person as an individual, especially if they’re female.

  12. this article is a true statement, altho i remember having seen a depiction similar to that male line of at least a few female hominids before the digital era (once). one can easily argue that the physical development of woman was more decissive to evolutionairy changes then that of males. otoh research to eg. birth channel width’s in hominid fossils and eg. sexual dimorphism for/in australopithecus robustus has been done.
    next there is suggestive french research that confirms the cartoon at least for sapiens, it however is much discredited as far fetched extrapolation even when it focusses partly on features of habitation i observed myself.
    (so in my opinion it makes at least some interesting observations)
    still I definetly agree the whole conceptualisation should be less masculinocentric, at least as far as humanoid decissions (other then -shortly- rape) are concerned it is woman that shaped ‘man’.

  13. I can’t speak for Terry, but the bullshit I see on this blog entry is this “male perspective” crap. So what if the human depicted in a popular representation of evolution is male? I don’t see the blog author complaining about the human being white (what a nice coincidence). These complaints are illegitimate and, frankly, stupid.

    This complaint could potentially be a legitimate one if it was in the context of the image being oversimplified. However, the author is complaining that women aren’t being represented in an unscientific diagram, despite their contributions to science. Whoop-te-do. You know what? Women have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for science. Zero, zip. All the work was done by INDIVIDUALS who just happened to be female.

    It’s disgusting that the author would use the work of individuals who happened to share her sex and attribute their work to womenkind rather than to the individuals who did the work (or, at least humankind). Seriously, no one cares what kind of genitalia you have. Get the hell over yourself.

  14. It is about equal respect, and pay not about
    our gender parts, but , as usual seems to be
    men want to keep women subsevian, and to
    think women are less intellectual than they
    are.
    We have the technology to save women’s ovum
    and men’s sperm, but last time I checked you still need a woman’s uterus to carry a fetus.
    Seems anthropology has already proved all modern civilizations came from a “woman’s ”
    mitochondria . Not a man.
    Show a little respect. Some day women, might
    get tired of men and eventually not use except for
    one thing.

  15. It is sad this post comments degenerated so much without real positive discussion. I came across a certain deficit when carrying my child. I wanted to know how our first bipedal ancestors managed labour (did they do it all by themselves or did other relatives help?), how did they carry their babies when they started walking upright? was the sling one of the first portable tools? did they invent ‘nappies’? I found a few answers in a great book ‘Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman’ by Marjorie Shostak. I was humbled by her account of the !kung stoic childbirth tradition in the bush, with no help from relatives or midwives, and by the dismissal of possibilities to go and give birth in a hospital. Also other insights, such as the view from children, were new and refreshing: the joy of children at the sight of daddy coming back home with meat, the long hours gathering with mum. Recommended reading, sure, but I want more of this. I am tired of a warfaring, weapon-centered view of cultural anthropology.

    1. Do you seriously think we’ll ever know if our first bipedal ancestors had help during labor? Do you really think after millions of years that a sling will be preserved? Seriously. Let’s be honest here, when you say our first bipedal ancestors you’re talking about austropithecines and the like. Of course this discussion is going to ‘degenerate’ when you have unrealistic expectations.

    2. History has always been written by the victors, who were, in this case, men. They could only present one point of view, so they did. Isn’t that simple? The only way we’ll learn more is from the work of archaeologists and anthropologists, who have the advantage of looking backwards to learn the unwritten history of human beings, both men and women. This work should continue. Good luck.

  16. “how did they carry their babies when they started walking upright?”

    Primate babies usually cling to their mother’s body hair and I’ve noticed that human babies have a really strong hand grip. Their feet, being adapted to upright walking rather than climbing, are relatively useless for gripping. And humans, apart from most Africans strangley enough, have long hair. Perhaps human babies clung to their mother’s head hair, supported by a single adult arm. Just an idea.

  17. A very good book on this subject is Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s Mother Nature: a history of mothers, infants, and natural selection (1999). She’s an anthropologist and primatologist. The book also draws on more recent human cultural practices to explore the subject.

    I’m not an academic in this field or any other, just an interested person. Hrdy’s written more recently on this general topic, 2009 – Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674032993. Haven’t read that yet, still working through Mother Nature.

  18. i had a baby and it didn’t need my hair to hold on to me with support of an arm (most of the time), also some support for elanor, that at least tries to voice sth against the hell of a prick.

  19. “i had a baby and it didn’t need my hair to hold on to me”.

    What did it hold on to? Or were you wearing clothing? A most unlikely condition for very ancient humans who were just beginning to walk upright efficiently?

  20. it was just strong enough to hold on to my neck with his arms and would cling the legs under my shoulder tight enough i didnt have to support if i needed my hands for a short while. i never tested how long it would take to actually drop ofcourse.

    i once carried him and 30 kilos of luggage over 24 hours like that, yes i know i am supernatural;)

    i wasn’t allways wearing clothes(that mode of transport being so convenient i used it to take us showers), and i am not aware he made any use of them. however he was, and still is an uncommonly strong human.

    his brother would (just like me) take untill his puberty before he could make pull ups, he did it so to say the moment he was born. (got to do with him being not completely white for two different reasons, first being that slave society’s have preferential development for early independence, the other that people of mixed blood greatly tend to be physically and mentally stronger.)

    you should have seen the difference in their physical proportions, with the one i mention able to touch his shoulder with his arm over his head before he was 4, you don’t see a white child doing that.(its in biology books for mere impossibility).

    i myself interpreted it thus that a more ‘primitive’ human that we derive from would also have baby’s with comparable physical strength. and also taht it was a natural mode of carrying, because he could do that when he was 3 weeks old or less. (wich i have a specific memory of, because i was taking him a shower when he first got arrested.)

    it must have been not allways a pleasure, when, long before the books told he could , he made his first turn, he managed to drop himself on the ground, 3 weeks old or less.otoh in the stone age they had no books to mislead you;)

  21. rereads, he actually made use of my long hair, to grasp it, but not in the way of carrying, more like when he wanted my attention or sth.

  22. “because i was taking him a shower when he first got arrested”.

    What was he arrested for at a seemingly young age?

  23. i do not approve of that one picture where it says evolution of man and women. I think that is rather disgraceful of us female. It is basically saying that women are no different from slaves because the lady in the picture is scrubbing the floor like a slave. That is really bothersome. I do not like that picture and want it to be taken off this website and any other because it is saying really bad things about women. It is giving us a bad reputation. I don’t like it and want it gone NOW!

  24. “The cartoon image has nothing to do with the central argument, which has to do with how human evolution is represented in scientific literature.”
    Then why would you post it as an example of scientific bias in how evolution is presented? It’s a popular representation of evolution, but it’s hardly scientific.

    The thing is, it’s hard for me to understand how someone who is so interested in anthropology would care so much about wanting to see how women evolved, unless it’s for

    “Despite all of this, anthropology still seems alarmingly malecentric. For a field so heavily developed and influenced by women, I have to wonder where the women are depicted, and who understands their impact.”
    This is one of the biggest problems I had with your post. Yes, of course, women should be depicted. However, it’s hard to do that without being sexist. I think the problem would best be solved by presenting a sexless, raceless human of average height, weight, age, etc.

    1. 1. The cartoon is not presented as an example of scientific bias. No where in the post does it say that it is an example. It is simply a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that it seems to be the only representation that has made it to Google, and indeed, it’s plastered all over the web. Again, I suggest you read more closely.

      2. I don’t see how depicting women is sexist. Why isn’t depicting men sexist? Are you implying that only women are sexual objects? That portraying the female body is automatically degrading?

      And what would you accomplish by presenting a sexless, raceless being? How is that accurate, and how would you be able to address biological differences between the sexes? The problem of challenging Eurocentric and malecentric depictions cannot be solved by erasing diversity… on the contrary, the lack of diversity in representation is what I am challenging.

      1. You are talking about a scientific bias in how the evolution of humans is represented, right? You said this immediately after: “Even though I have studied a great deal of anthropology, including some physical anthropology, and have always been interested in evolution, I find that only the image of males evolving is stuck to my brain. What women looked like through the years? The gradual progression of sexual dimorphism, when things happened and what it looked like?”
        What is this supposed to imply to the reader? That those two images you just listed were completely irrelevant to the fact that you can’t find representations of the evolution of female humans?

        “Why isn’t depicting men sexist? Are you implying that only women are sexual objects? That portraying the female body is automatically degrading?”
        Obviously you have trouble reading or else you would have noticed my comment about how sex simply shouldn’t be depicted in a generic, simplified representation of human evolution, whereas now it is a man who is depicted.

        “And what would you accomplish by presenting a sexless, raceless being? How is that accurate, and how would you be able to address biological differences between the sexes? The problem of challenging Eurocentric and malecentric depictions cannot be solved by erasing diversity… on the contrary, the lack of diversity in representation is what I am challenging.”
        What I’m saying is that, of course, there should be scientific depictions of evolution of different “groups” when it makes sense scientifically to do so. However, to argue that it’s necessary because not doing so is sexist is stupid. The only argument you have to make is that because the female and male anatomy of a species differ somewhat, there should not only be representations of male evolution in scientific illustrations, but females as well. However, saying that you are personally offended by the fact that your group is not represented despite its contributions to science, specifically anthropology, just makes you look silly despite the fact that you do have a legitimate concern.

        1. It is ironic that you claim I have trouble reading when it is clearly you who cannot read, and have trouble understanding basic paragraph structure. I was right — there is no point in arguing with you. You are only interested in being insulting. Ciao.

  25. hey
    stumbled upon this while ironically looking for the same photo. i am an art student and wanted to do a sketch series of the iconic image of ‘evolution of man’ but add what i thought we would eventually evolve into. once skimming the internet i realize im not the only one with this idea. my ideas were to make this sketch more detailed and exaggerated in the final stages of our evolved beings. i found this ‘evolution of men….and women’ picture you have referenced here and after reading your thoughts i would love to make a sketch of the evolution of women and its future. or maybe the de-evolution of man in a negative connotation, and the evolution of women in a positive outlook.
    i will read through your comments to see if anyone has a better photo of this. but let me know if you have found one of women.
    thanks

    1. hey brooke – it’s too bad you can’t see the original comments on this post – this blog was moved a couple of years ago and all of those comments were lost. there were some really interesting ones.

      in any case, i haven’t found a good representation of the evolution of women, mostly because i’ve been caught up in my dissertation topic and haven’t looked- but hopefully there has been some progress in that direction. i would be really interested to see what you come up with.

  26. What you had been arguing for and against over here is not a problem in Africa, especially among the Yoruba people. Women are accorded the same place/respect in the traditional cultural setting. In fact, women are highly revered when it concerns child bearing and rearing. Nature has made it clear, that we both need ourselves to function in a normal setting. Women Anthropologists should direct their studies on women related issues. As an anthropologist and a woman, I study the Yoruba women and give account of their cultural evolution.

  27. All the interesting, important and serious questions raised here are addressed by Elaine Morgan in all her writings, particularly “The Descent of Woman”. This book is, in my opinion, essential reading not only as an antidote to the one-sidedness of traditional anthropology, but also because it addresses questions of biology, anthropology and human society that hardly anyone else dares to face up to. (Because they don’t have a convenient answer, and “I/We don’t know much about this” doesn’t have the ring of scientific authority and expertise, even if it is the truth.)
    What Elaine Morgan wrote nearly forty years ago will one day be seen as a beacon of illumination.

  28. After doing a “search similar images” for the traditional male evolution pic, and finding no females represented for several pages, I just typed in “women’s evolution”.

    Google was helpful by asking, “Did you mean men’s evolution?”

    I think this just goes back to the Adam and Eve mythos. Obviously the story didn’t cause patriarchy, but it did reinforce male supremacy in the West over the centuries. Man was created in God’s image, and woman was a flawed sexual accessory. Women’s bodies are unclean in Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition and so it is no wonder that school books and artists are uncomfortable portraying the “aberrant/weaker” half of humanity as representative of the species.

  29. The evolution of women IS studied. So, invalid point.

    I think if anyone can rub two neurons together, they can realize there are no depictions of female evolution because:

    a. It’s pretty much the same. Just imagine a female version.

    b. Society has this idiotic thing with breasts. Do you honestly think women evolved with fig leaves or hair strands strategically placed over their nipples?

  30. I saw the photo of the evolution picture, this dose not surrprise me at. all people should have respect for one another but its just a picture and a picture can not change who you are. This can be offensive and to alot of people it is inculding but you shouldn’t get all worked up over a picture

  31. I think this image does a pretty good job at portraying both male and female c0-evolution, with equal importance of both sexes (like it should be…).

    Plus, I think it is funny :)

  32. The modern image of evolution with a woman cleaning forever is blatantly “sexist”! Portrayal of men alone – whether due to patriarchal influence or oversight – is clearly biased and need suitable correction. Allowing this ‘masculine bias’ to persist is what ‘politicization’ of anthropology is all about.

  33. Ah I came across this page while searching for evolution. And I have to admit, this post really speaks my mind. Yes I’m still a student, and yes I know I might attract some pompous trolls. You don’t have to, I am ignorant. I’m not in the anthropology field. I’m a math student. So there you go, I’m an objective outsider, looking at anthropology and finding no trace of any discussion on woman’s evolution, except for the recent “finding” that women are becoming more beautiful, pathetically.

    I do believe that women and men have different evolution paths, for they have different biological functions, for starter. They also have different social/political pressures which might influence their evolutions (and maybe that’s why men are still hairy and women become more beautiful perhaps?).

    I find it offensive when some comments suggested that the post is influenced by sex-centric culture. Well, grouping two different things together and trying to concoct a presumably representative model for both are not scientific either. (Unless social science isn’t really science, eh?)

    Anthropology is not alone; other social sciences are doing the same thing, excluding the female image and/or trying to group female/male together. Well, if we can really group ourselves together, we won’t call ourselves “male/female” any way. Last time I watched a NatGeo episode on homosexuality only to find they only talked about male homosexuality. How do I know? The reason they gave only applies to males.

    Social science, pathetic (Pardon my French). I am waiting for your evolution.

  34. just maybe, why there is no evolution of women is, ( but first consider, man/women has one kind of skin, animals have another, birds another, and fish another, in each species, the male and female complement each other, it would take an incredible amount of imagination or science-fiction, if man evolved from a monkey as we have been taught, that a beautiful women coming from who knows ware, could so complement a man, with having the exact parts to not only delight a man, but also to carry his and her child, sperm and egg join together, new life in 9 months, not over millions or billions of years, and then she is able to nurse the new life, being male or female, ) that evolution is a man made religion, that men want to feel so superior, they even exclude women.
    roy ruser

  35. My hypothesis of human evolution suggests that menstruation is abortion evolved. Women suffered only cruelty during human evolution

  36. FYI. Women have hunted throughout history. Tho gathered seeds nuts berries , provided 75% of nutritional needs. Hunting was NOT a dependable source of food.

  37. intersting article, sadly the debate degenerated into anti/pro feminism in part due to the rather emotive background used by the author. However, whilst I appreciate the arguments for ‘indualvidualism’ theres no point pretending we are all the same or that historically women weren’t marginalised -however I couldn’t care less if google shows evolution as as a man or a woman, surely you should be looking at the posture and skull not the shape of it’s dangly bits.
    I think that there was a gap in female evolution studies due to the number of males in the proffession, however this is being caught up at a rapid rate sadly alot of it is highly emotive like this article.
    I would like a better comparison of the two evolutionary paths and think it would be useful in understanding the current physical and social problems specific to each gender and then what can be learned from the other side.

  38. I would hope that this post would get a burst of traffic from those interested in other women in anthropology after seeing today’s Google Doodle for Mary Leakey. Thank you for the great read.

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