The topic that I have chosen to write my final project on is on sexual trauma against women in China. I am focusing specifically on being a woman in China and if being a woman affects the magnitude of sexual abuse experienced and because of this, I believe that the Feminist Theory will best examine it. The feminist theory asks questions such as “How does gender impact the situation?”, “Is there inequality present due specifically to gender?”, “Is gender skewing the situation one direction or another?”, and “Is someone being treated in a way that creates economic, political, or other social inequalities?”.
This theory was created because discussion of women in anthropological literature was restricted to areas such as marriage, kinship, and family. Feminist anthropologists believe that the failure of past researchers to treat the issues of women and gender as significant has led to a deficient understanding of the human experience. These theorists also reacted to Durkheim’s idea of a static system that can be broken down into dichotomies. Instead, feminist anthropologists sought to show that the social system is dynamic, and base this idea on Marx’s idea that social relations come down to praxis (practice). Feminist Theory also focuses on the role, status, and contributions of women in societies. The Feminist Theory has some criticisms, such as soley focusing on gender not focusing on issues of racism and unequal distribution of wealth. It also recieved criticism for having female anthropologist focusing soley on women instead of including men to their research. (Dominguez, Franks, Boschma)
The Feminist Theory best examines the topic of sexual trauma against women in China because it focuses on gendered perspectives and the different factors that might influence these perspectives. This theory doesn’t just break things down into being male and female, but looks at different factors that come into play while being that gender that might influence one’s experiences with sexual trauma and assault. It focuses on the role of gender, the ideas we hold about gender, and the different behaviors that are exhibited based on percieved gender. For my research purposes, this theory will help me answer critical questions such as how gender (specifically being a woman) can impact or influence the way women experience sexual trauma in China’s society. This theory will also help me to answer questions about inequality based on gender and culture. For instance, one particular question that I wish to answer is if cases of rape and sexual abuse are overlooked or not discussed because of the role of women in China. Out of all the theories that have been introduced to us in class, the Feminist Theory is the most gender centered.
“The University of Alabama.” Department of Anthropology, anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Feminist Anthropology.