Cultural Anthropology

Biography Margaret Meade



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The Anthropologist

Margaret Meade, like her mother, Emily Fogg Meade, enjoyed watching people.  Studying them, their way of life and their culture.  Emily Fogg Meade was a sociologist who "studied" Italian immigrants.  So, Margaret grew up with a rather scientific perspective on human beings, only unlike her mother, she chose subcultures and the distant perspective of an anthropologist.  In other words, her goal was to watch behavior and not respond to needs, as though a bird on a branch.

Margaret Meade's father was a professor of finance. 

Margaret enjoyed a middle class upbringing, though the family moved often.  At times she was homeschooled and other times she attended normal academic settings.

Margaret was born December 16, 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  At a time when very few women were educated and taken seriously as professionals, Margaret had a mother who'd done just that.  Which greatly aided her acclimation into the professional realm.  Margaret's mother and father were Quakers.  Quakers were a religious group of people who advocated for the sexually repressed and women's rights.

Margaret was something of a voyeur and reported on the sexual attitudes of Asian and South Pacific cultures, just in time for the sexual revolution of the United States.  She sort of aided that sexual good time would be had by all.

Margaret was married three times to three different men and she also liked sex with women.  Which would qualify her for bi-sexual status.  Though we don't have notes on the actual activities, there are some pieces of evidence, like letters.

In 1928, Margaret wrote an account of what she observed in Samoa, concerning incest and American readers went ape.  She caused quite a stir by her non judgmental observations. 

She also wrote about her observations of the Chambri Lake region in Papua, New Guinea.  Apparently the women there rule the roosts and work, while the men "primp and spent their time decorating themselves".  

Margaret Meade was a great source of broadening knowledge for the American public, concerning the real world and just how complex it could be.  She advised the American culture that sex was not so simple and though she was studying, then-somewhat unevolved souls, she reflected the inner America.  The ensuing sexual revolution, not her doing.

Margaret Meade had one child, a daughter, named Mary Catherine Bateson, who also became a cultural anthropologist.  Mary Catherine Bateson is a distinguished author in her field.  She herself raising a daughter who became an actress.  That daughter's name is Sevanne Martin.

Margaret Meade died November 15, 1978 in New York City.


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