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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
21st Century Women: How Will We Be Portrayed?
So, I just finished reading a review of J.M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer and Jake Page's "The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory".

In the book, the authors argue that anthropologists have been reading far too much of our culture into what little we know of prehistoric ones, especially as it relates to the role(s) of women in each culture. It's fascinating stuff....or at least it is to this social science geek. :)

While reading the article, I started to wonder what anthropologists of the future might infer about the world we live in today.

For the purpose of this exercise, assume that the majority of their primary, written sources (that is, sources that were written now, not sources that will be written about us in a thousand years) on the fabric of our lives come from the church: some of the more modern translations of the bible, books that were written for and about Christians, etc etc. The ruins of secular buildings are accessible in this scenario, but for some reason they have very limited access to anything written outside of Christianity.

I have two questions for you:

1) What do you think the anthropologists will completely misunderstand about women living in our time?

2) What things do you think they'll get right?

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posted by Lydia at 11:54 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 3/21/2007 12:29:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Good questions Julie! I'll have to give it some thought.

  • At 3/21/2007 03:35:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Great questions Lydia! I'm not quite sure, but I love those kind of sociological thought experiments.

    I also wanted to say that your scenario is not too far-fetched if you consider that the last time we went through a Dark Ages it was the church that preserved all of the learning. There's a good chance that if civilization collapses again, it will be the close-knit religious communities that will continue to preserve primary sources for future generations.

  • At 3/21/2007 03:57:00 PM, Blogger Lydia

    it was the church that preserved all of the learning

    I was actually thinking about this as I typed up the OP.

  • At 3/21/2007 07:54:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Hey Lydia, sorry for confusing you with Julie :( I'm used to her posting history/sociology stuff.

    I think overall people would get a much more conservative picture of sexual values and an over-inflated perspective on the centrality of issues relating to sexual morality. I also think people would get a distorted notion of the most who were the most influential individuals in society based on Christian writers/celebs who are most frequently referenced and most clearly shape thought and practice within various Christian communities.

  • At 3/21/2007 09:11:00 PM, Blogger Lydia

    Hey Lydia, sorry for confusing you with Julie :( I'm used to her posting history/sociology stuff.

    It's all good - I took it as a compliment. ;)

    much more conservative picture of sexual values and an over-inflated perspective on the centrality of issues relating to sexual morality.

    I can definitely agree with this.

    I'd also expect lay-people who studied our culture to judge us harshly for this; tens of thousands of children died each day while the (relatively speaking) wealth argued about sex.

    Unless, of course, they're struggling with the same thing.

  • At 3/22/2007 06:39:00 AM, Blogger Sally

    Interesting question Lydia,
    I suspect that anthropologists will be confused, for I believe that as a society we are confused, women undertake serious roles both politically and socially whilst popular culture often reduces women to the role of " bimbo"- teenage girls are never sure which way to go....it would be interesting to project ourselves forwards 200 years and find out!

    Btw- I don't believe the church is any less confused about the role of women, some openly accepting and othersd trying to reduce us to cake bakers and flower arrangers! Strange but true...

  • At 3/22/2007 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Happy

    I wonder if one of the things they might get wrong is the idea that all Christian women like to hang out with other Christian women who are just like them. I've been trying to find a small group bible study at my church for over a year now - and I don't think asking for co-ed and multi-generational is that much to ask! - but I find that I am mostly encouraged to join groups of other single women in my age bracket. I did finally find a co-ed, multi-generational group - only to discover that they are going through one of Rick Warren's books. I respect the impact he's had a number of people, but on principle I rather abhor anything that marketed. So I'm back to hanging out with single women. We're studying Ruth. :) (A woman who gives bravery a new definition!)

    Something the anthropologists would probably get right - the friendships we have with other women are extremely valuable. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your hearts, ladies - I've only been visiting this blog for about a month, but I feel like I've been challenged to grow and go deeper in my walk with God as a result of the conversations I read here. And I can tell that some of you have become dear friends to each other, and that's just inspiring. Thanks for the glimpses into your lives and thoughts.

  • At 3/22/2007 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Happy.

    Another thing that anthropologists might conclude forms a major social component of gender-segragated life is the concept of "men's breakfasts" and "ladies tea." :)

  • At 3/23/2007 03:38:00 PM, Blogger Happy

    Lol! I'll take pancakes over a cucumber sandwich any day. :)

  • At 3/23/2007 11:35:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    How bout cucumber pancakes and pancake flavored tea? ;)


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