Anthropology 101

July 9th, 2010

Though I am now a fundraiser, my background is in Anthropology. And there’s nothing like a large family gathering to rekindle the old anthropological zeal. Kinship, its ramifications, and the behavior of relatives is an endlessly fascinating subject.

For example: here’s one interesting tidbit about my family. The gender makeup of each generation tends to be highly off-balanced.

Exhibit A: My mom’s one of five siblings — four girls and a boy (generation: 80% female).

Exhibit B: The grand children consist of 7 girls and two boys (generation: 78% female).

Exhibit C:
The great grand children to date number six boys and one girl (generation: 86% male).

My grandpa has definitely always been the pater familias of our clan, but perhaps it’s no surprise that, given the prevalence of girls in the next generation, a matriarchy has risen. My poor uncle grew up smack in the middle of a horde of (very) strong-willed females. He’s started to take a more dominant role in group dynamics in recent years, but for most of my life it was definitely a Girls Rule kind of family.

And we Clan Women tend to reinforce our position through marriage. Though this is not 100% true, the general trend has been for the Power Women in my family to marry gentle-and-laid-back menfolk. Particularly at big family gatherings like the shindig last weekend, the men of the family (wisely) tend to stay out of the planning madness and are content to sit back, go with the flow, and watch the women race around like maniacs. Which is not to say that they’re not helpful. No, no. We couldn’t live without them. It’s just that they’re supportive in a highly Type B way, which contrasts starkly with the prevalence of female Type A personalities.

All of which explains why my always-wonderful-and-infinitely-mellow husband fits in so well with my zany family. He’s just such a good sport when the matching t-shirts come out…

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