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Lewis Thomas

A Man in a Pink Silk Skirt: Gender Roles in the "Hermit Nation" of Burma (Myanmar)

Cultural anthropologists conduct research on many aspects of a culture’s lifeways. Important among these is a culture’s "construction" of gender, i.e., what is means to be a woman or a man in a particular culture, what attitudes and behaviors are "appropriate" and "inappropriate" for men and women, and ways in which girls learn to become women and boys learn to become men. Having conducted research in the country of Burma for more than twenty years, I have investigated startling differences in the attitudes and roles of men and women compared to those with which we are familiar in the U.S.

State Standards

This presentation meets the following state education standards for high school students:

World Languages


Relating cultural practices to perspective

Standard CLTR 1: Investigate, explain and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied in the target language.

Objective: CLTR 1.1 Analyze the cultural practices/patterns of behavior accepted as the societal norm in the target culture.

Objective: CLTR 1.2 Explain the relationship between cultural practices/behaviors and the perspectives that represent the target culture’s view of the world.


Social Studies

World History and Civilization

6-9.WHC.1.8.1 Find examples of how writing, art, architecture, mathematics, and science have evolved in civilizations over time.