- It has become more evident since the turn of the millennium (Gaines 83) that virtually all fields of academic endeavor would need to be amended to account for the increasingly multicultural nature of contemporary societies. The nature of anthropological studies gives the approach an advantage because it has addressed the issue of ethnocentricity for many years. This benefit exists in stark contrast to the situation in fields like psychology and medicine that have only recently begun to re-examine the predominant white-male influence on their existing theories. However, the fact remains that the globalization of society has occurred at a drastic rate in recent years, and the future of medical anthropology will focus on accounting for this shift in social paradigms as it influences the impact of disease, health care systems, and bioethics on everyday human life.
- The plumpness of a woman has been a mark of beauty in several cultures for centuries, as is demonstrated by historical and artistic accounts (Peiss 27). While this perspective remains to be common within many societies, the United States has instead become obsessed with thinness as a characteristic of female beauty. The preference for plumpness may be explained from an evolutionary perspective, as thinness is not generally suggestive of a genetic predisposition that would favor the survival of progeny. The American desire for thinness may instead reflect the incredible influence of the media in driving most social and personal desires. This disparity demonstrates that standards of beauty can vary greatly across cultures.
Gaines, Atwood D. “Millennial medical anthropology: From there to here and beyond, or the problem of global health.” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 35.1 (2011): 83-89.
Peiss, Kathy. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Print.