Friday, July 29, 2011

Audits, Atavism and Affinity

Yes, yes I know again with the alliterations, but hey I’m a sucker for a good literary device (used correctly of course). These words though as dissimilar as they may seem all serve purpose in this blog post; one leads to the other. It all started with the first word in the title: Audit. Now you’re probably thinking why the hell is an anthropologist talking about audits, especially this anthropologist who never took one business class in her life? Well first off, good question and second this was the starting point to this whole saga that has been on my brain lately. I will then start at the beginning.
It is important to note first of all that I work for a government contracting firm and per working with the Government we have to be ISO certified. To be ISO certified you have to go through this long audit process. So for the past month my supervisor and I have been scrambling to get all of our contracts, strategies, org charts, HR files, accounting manuals, etc all ready for the audit. All of this was leading up to Wednesday when the auditor came in. He was very friendly and he immediately warmed up to all of us but perhaps a little too much. He wouldn’t stop talking. A total of 9 hours he was there and I’d say for about 5 hours of that he was just shooting the breeze about any topic under the sun.
Now don’t get me wrong, any of you who know me know that I love talking with anyone about pretty much anything. So you know if I say that this guy talked too much that he TALKED TOO MUCH! Intermingled with all the chatting about who the Redskins were trading, the debt ceiling and his daughter going off to college we actually got some anthropological topics in. We started to talk about technology and how technology was seemingly taking over the world. Now of course I engaged him in this conversation for a bit before stating “Well I could go on about this forever but let’s get back to business.” We then got some business done but of course he was back to talking about the new Chevy he bought and government subsidies.
You get the point then, he talked a lot and it was perhaps one of the longest times I’ve ever just sat in a conference room. The funny part is though that he found his way into my blog even with being an irritation. The talk about technology got me thinking about a blog post I wrote back in March called Anthropological Perspective on the Media in which I talk about how as a society we are so reliant on technology for everything that if we were to have some large nuclear event that wiped out all the computers in the world there would be no imprint of us. Of course I brought up this idea when talking to the auditor and he whole heartedly agreed with me.
Technology has been both our curse and are gift. Information can now be found so fast, you can communicate with people in ways you could never before and records can be kept more easily. On the flipside books are starting to become obsolete (which as a writer really saddens me), newspapers and other news sources aside from websites are becoming less popular and people are communicating more but actually interacting less. The latter part then brings me to the next word: Atavism.
Now for those of you who don’t know, atavism is another word for regression. With technology we are regressing as a species even though as a society we seem to be progressing. My go to example for this phenomenon happens to come from a movie which I actually don’t like very much as a movie, but as an anthropological study is ingenious. I’m talking of course about 2001: A Space Odyssey. The whole concept of this movie is evolution both of man and of technology. The movie starts out with a bunch of apes circling around this monolith that shows up. The apes are confused grunting at each other and trying to communicate what is going on but it is hard since they have yet to develop actually speech.
Then the movie fast forwards to 2001 (which for a movie that was made in 1968 is the distant future) where technology has overtaken man and it becomes a race between man and computer to obtain this very same monolith that now is on the moon. In the process man has become cut off from other men due to the computers. This movie then shows a regression back to the days where men were still apes trying to grunt to speak with each other but instead of speech being the issue technology is. This of course leads us to the last word: Affinity.
What is affinity you ask? Put simply it is connection between two or more individuals; connection that we are now losing because of technology. Now with texting, emailing, facebook, twitter and all the other social media devices we don’t ever have to actually see a person to correspond with them. In fact I have been equally guilty of this as anyone. Last summer I lived with my roommate in a two bedroom apartment and there were many a times that we would text the other to see if they were awake, wanted food, wanted to go out, etc. We could’ve just as easily gotten up and walked the five feet to the other’s room. Technology has made us impersonal.
There is however another side to this affinity. Technology has actually helped us connect more in some cases than we ever could before with people we would never meet if it wasn’t for that. The greatest example is twitter (since you all know that I am a twitter addict). For me twitter is a place that I have met tons of people who live all around the world that have my same interests. These are people who I would’ve never had the chance to meet before twitter and other social media. Even this very blog couldn’t be produced without the aid of technology.
So am I telling you to get rid of all technology? No of course not, gods know I couldn’t survive without it. What I’m hoping is that this will make you think about it more and use other avenues than strictly technological ones to communicate, gather information, read, etc. There needs to be a balance like in everything else, balance that the auditor was severely lacking the other day. Now we have come full circle in this little saga here which as you know always continues and will never reach a stopping point just as technological advances will also.

Image from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What’s in a Name?

In a time where celebrities name their children after characters from the Jungle Book and fruit it is sometimes hard to remember what the purpose of one’s name exactly is. Has anyone ever asked you: “What does your name mean?” And how many of you can actually answer that question? I was thinking about it and I haven’t really heard anyone ask that in a while. So it got me thinking, how are people naming their kids now, specifically in our American culture? Are they looking at menus, referencing pop culture, or are they going to the route of words?
This issue I’m going to tackle while wearing two hats. The first one will be my writing hat and the second will be the normal anthropology hat (which I always envision as Indiana Jones’ hat). As a writer all the characters in my stories/novels have names that always mean something; there is not one character whose name is an accident. For example in the story I just wrote the mob boss’ name is Damian Brent. Damian means “to kill” and Brent means “branded” in Old English thus showing you what kind of person he’s going to be upon hearing his name. In the same aspect my main character goes by her nickname Clover which means “luck and prosperity.” It is also interesting to note that I never reveal her real name first or last and there is also a purpose to that as well.
That then leads to my next point about names; names can hold all the power over a person. To know someone’s name is to know a part of them. Think about when you’re having a conversation with someone; if you mention their name every so often during the exchange you can captivate that person more. We then come to the greatest example (in my opinion) of the power of names. Now of course if you know me, you knew this was coming but my example happens to be from the Joss Whedon show Angel. The prime example is the character of “Jasmine” who was named after a flower but that’s not her real name; in fact no one knows her real name. This again has a purpose because once you have the name you have the power.
So here’s a little background for those of you (shame on you) who don’t watch Angel or haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Jasmine. Jasmine comes about at the end of season 4 of Angel and she is supposed to be this ultimate evil. Instead she looks like an “ebony goddess” and she brings what appears to be peace on earth. Of course though there’s a catch; she’s eating people to keep her powers thus keeping this trance like state that has everyone seeing her as this beautiful goddess and also seeing the beauty in everyone else. This trance though is broken when Angel and the gang learn the truth and sees her true hideous face. Angel then journey’s to another world to find a way to break this trance. He then learns that Jasmine does in fact have a “real name” but that there is only one being that knows it. This then leads credence the fact that she is keeping it hidden so that her power is kept. Angel though of course finds this being kills it, brings it back, slices the mouth open and the name is revealed. The trance is then lifted and everyone sees her for who she really is. Thus her name is the thing that sets her apart from everyone else.
There are plenty of other examples of this in other shows, movies and literature. Think about in Harry Potter how no one wants to say the name Voldemort, instead they all call him “You Know Who.” This calling him by something that is only whispered about gives him all the power. This then can also be applied to reality and even modern days. How about titles of power? The Queen, the King, Mr. President, Czar, etc are all titles that one uses to address people in their positions. Very seldom would you address them by their first name because that would strip away some of their power, their allure.
Now that we know power and names are connected let’s circle back around and revisit the concept of the origin of names. The best example I think comes from the Native Americans who all name their children after things in nature. Many Native Americans believe that what you are named after shows what sort of person you are going to be. Likewise in ancient times in Europe, Near East and Asia you were named after qualities that your parents wanted you to have. For example someone in Scotland would name their son Duncan which means “brown warrior” in hopes that he would grow up to be a great warrior and fighter (which is no coincidence why the main character in The Highlander TV series is named Duncan).
So what does your name mean? Does it reflect who you are? My name Samantha actually has two meanings. The first part “Sam” is derived from the Hebrew male name of Samuel and it means “God heard.” The second part “antha” is derived from Greek which means “flower.” So apparently I’m a flower that God hears. My middle name, Eileen, is Gaelic meaning “light.” My mom gave me these names because she had always wanted a very girly girl who was full of light and flowery I guess. Funny though how I know go by Sam and am pretty much the opposite of how she thought I would turn out. This shows that every intention is not always the result. But regardless she put thought into naming me because she wanted it to reflect who I was (or rather who she thought I would be). Also she wanted her maiden name of “Sampson” to live on through the generation so my name is homage to the Sampson clan. These are all things I believe are lacking in modern American culture.
Hopefully all this insight will persuade you to really think about your name and what it means as well as other people’s names around you. I always make a point when I’m meeting people face to face for the first time to ask their name, ask what their name means and then see if I get that impression of their name from them. On the flipside of that it is sometimes very interesting to observe a person in their environment and then try to think of what their name might be. Maybe that’s just the anthropologist in me that loves that, but try it one day it’s very intriguing.

Image Courtesy of

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gender Roles in Ancient Societies

When most people think of the ancient societies when it comes to gender roles they think back to women giving birth to children, raising those children, preparing all the meals, tending to the housework and being all around subordinate the male of the household. This however isn’t true for every society in the ancient world. In fact there are plenty of societies that were matriarchal and where woman dominated the household. Likewise there were societies where men and women shared responsibilities equally.
Let’s start with the “Viking Age.” The men of this age were always painted in the light of being extremely masculine, full of brute force and strength. There have been countless tales of Vikings descending on a town, overtaking it and making it a colony of their own. There is also much evidence that they took the women from those towns and made them their own brides (Jesch 1991).
Now women couldn’t actually be Vikings since the Norse word vikingar applies strictly to men. The women did play a very large role in the Scandinavian towns (in Norway, Finland and Sweden) as well, if not more in the Scandinavian colonies (Faroe, Iceland, Greenland). While the Viking men were away or dead (since women were windowed quite often do to the warring nature of the Viking men) the woman ran the towns. They took care of the farming and trading within the village or town. There is even evidence of women entering into the world of commerce. Excavation of multiple Scandinavian graves of woman yielded merchant’s scales and weights. A parallel can then be drawn between these roles of women in this age to women in America who took care of the work while the men were at war (Jesch 1991).
It is interesting to point out that many societies didn’t publicize their gender roles very well (thus leading to very little about it in historical literature) most of the information gathered is at burial sites. This is evident in the Viking Age as I mentioned above as well as many other parts of the world. Perhaps the best example of this is the Mayan culture.
There were actually a handful of Mayan societies that were matrilineal the foremost being Tonina. Tonina was a city which became matrilineal after the death of the powerful leader Lady K’awil. She is proof that women were involved in politics in ancient Mesoamerica when she assumed the mantle of power after the failure of two male leaders. Lady K'awil's reign is documented by murals which depict her seated on a throne with captives at her feet. More evidence of her power was buried along with her in her tomb (Bell 2002).
What is also interesting about the Mayans was that their supreme deity was the Moon Goddess which is very different from a lot of other societies at the time whose supreme deities were usually male. The Moon Goddess is depicted in murals and other forms of art. However, these were not the only forms of art for the ancient Maya. Textiles were an important aspect of ancient Mayan life that was produced by women. Woman also played a big role in the religious aspect of the culture. While boys were being trained to hunt, the girls were taught how to prepare the religious shrines (Bell 2002).
Also it is interesting that the concept of gender in ancient Maya art is ambiguous; it is difficult to identify the gender of some figures simply because one couldn’t survive without the other. Specifically images of heir recognition, “this duality is explicit: there is a male figure on one side of the newly-anointed, and a female figure on the other side” (Bell 2002).
Even though there is a sense of duality and equality in the society there is also a lot of evidence that women were considered the superior. This is due to childbirth which as for mentioned in my last post is something that only woman are biologically capable of. This then makes the argument the gender roles in some societies are based on the physical aspect of the “sex” of the person.
The mythology and power associated with the ability to create life was one which men tried to emulate. Men would participate in the act of bloodletting their own genitals to create something new from their blood. Instead of giving birth to life they would give birth to new eras through this symbolic gesture of menstruation. This was a ritualized act using the skin were stingray spines, obsidian blades, or other sharp object to pierce the skin. The blood was allowed to drip on cloth, which was then burned (Gustafson 2002).
We can then draw the conclusion that not every society was male dominated in the ancient world though it is safe to say the majority of them were. When looking back at Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Asian countries, etc. the women were for the most part subordinate towards the males thus drawing up the gender roles that many societies used in the past and still used today.

Women in the Viking Age by Judith Jesch (Woodbridge, Boydell, 1991).

Bell, E. E. “Engendering a Dynasty: A Royal Woman in the Margarita Tomb, Copan.” In Ancient Maya Women. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2002

Gustafson, L. S. “Mother/Father Kings.” In Ancient Maya Gender Identity and Relations. Westport: Bergin & Garvey, 2002

Image Courtesy of

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What is Gender?

This is a question that has been on the minds of us anthropologists, biologists, sociologists, psychologists and the like since the word came about. How is it different from sex and is it the defining factor that makes a person who they are? How then go they relate to the concepts of male and female, masculine and feminine?

Let’s first start out by separating “gender” and “sex.” Sex is the physical and biological characteristics that separate both men and women. So for example: women menstruate but men don’t, women have ovaries but men have testicles, women can lactate but men can’t and men have robust (massive, thick) bone but women have more gracile (smaller, thinner) bones. Thus the terms “female” and “male” are categories of sex (World Health Organization).

Gender then is much different. Instead of being defined by the physical attributes, gender is the “socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given considers appropriate for men and women” (World Health Organization). So for example: in most of the world women do more housework than men, men are more likely to hold positions of power in most countries than women, in the U.S. men make more money than women, in Viet Nam men are more likely to smoke than women and in many parts of the Near East men are allowed to drive cars but women are not. Thus “feminine” and “masculine” are categories of gender.

Already can you see some problems with figuring out just what gender is? From there though we look at the first part of what the definition of gender is: “Socially constructed roles.” So which society and which roles? Already I can poke tons of holes into the concept of gender. Does this mean that gender then is different from one society to another depending on their roles? Then we come to the next stop in this study, what are “gender roles?” Are they somethings that are mandated by societies, by individuals or is there commonality between them?

Yes I realize that there were a lot of questions there but let’s face it this whole discussion is bound to bring up tons of questions. I am here not to answer the questions but to theorize some possible answers based on studies done of different cultures. So gender roles are what? Well anthropologists have come up with this general definition which isn’t any better than the definition of gender: “A gender role is a theoretical construct in the social sciences and humanities that refers to a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be the norm” (Webster’s Dictionary).

So then once again the question becomes: what is the norm? As I stated about in the examples of gender, different cultures and societies have different norms. Some societies consider sex and gender to be the same; others consider it very different and even others don’t even recognize the concept of gender at all. It then becomes increasingly frustrating to me to think that our “roles” in societies are defined by our physical appearance. On the flipside is it not due to the physical but based solely on the cultural and social factors?

This then leads to the next part of gender: gender identity. The question then becomes what is gender identity and can one identify with a gender identity that doesn’t match up with their “sex?” Gender identity is then defined as the gender (or multiple or even lack thereof) a person self-identifies as. It is not necessarily based on a person’s sex, either real or perceived, and it is distinct from sexual orientation (which is a whole separate issue). It is then one’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman. So we can see that this is much different than the gender roles. The gender roles are dictated by the society while the gender identity is dictated by the person internally.

Like I mentioned above there are two “main” genders but there are many other cultures that have other genders present. For example “androgyny” (the mix of masculine and feminine traits) is considered to be a third gender and some societies have five or more genders. This then leads to the last part of gender which is “gender expression.” This then takes a mixture of sex, gender roles and gender identity and showcases the individual through external ways (haircut, behavior, clothing, body movements, etc).

So here’s the part where I tell you you’re all entitled to your own opinion about these concepts but from an anthropological perspective and from MY perspective “sex” and “gender” are two completely unrelated ideas. If I had my way the word “gender” wouldn’t exist just like I think the term “race” shouldn’t exist (which is a whole separate issue). These next couple of blog posts I will focus on different cultures around the world going back from the dawn of man to the present day. There I will show that there are many different ideas of what really “gender” is and what “gender roles” are.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Journey through the World of Anthropology

Usually I reserve my blog for educating the masses on anthropological topics that are interesting to me, topical, important or pulled from my studies in college. Today I’m going to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about myself and where my anthropology degree has lead me to at the present moment and will lead me (hopefully) in the future.

It is first important to note that I actually did not start out as anthropology major in college (shocking I know!) but rather a forensic science major. Of course I was focused mainly on forensic anthropology, specifically the human skeleton and decomposition but heavy on the science side. Things changed drastically when I took my first cultural anthropology class. I fell completely in love with anthropology (archeology, cultural and biological aspects) and more specifically with other cultures and other culture’s objects.

I started to drift farther away from the biological side (though of course still took classes on it) and studied heavily on the archaeological side especially when it came the archaeology of cultural beliefs. Along the way I took Human Evolution classes, forensic archaeology classes, GIS classes, Primitive Warfare classes, Landscape archaeology classes, mythology classes, Russian, Mesopotamian, and Native American history classes and so on. In the process realized that I didn’t have to limit myself to one specific area of anthropology in my undergrad and strove to learn all I could about every aspect of anthropology. It’s true my focus was mainly on archaeology, specifically that of the Near East and North American Indians, but I expanded it to many other aspect.

Then came the defining moment in my anthropological studies: working at the anthropology museum. Not only did I get to handle all the amazing hominid casts, human bones, animal bones and artifacts galore but I even designed a specific exhibit as well as a whole museum section. Of course what was the subject I was given to design? Why biological anthropology of course (specifically Human Evolution for the exhibit I created)! It seemed that my undergrad came full circle and I realized a career I could take all my knowledge of anthropology and apply it to: Museum Curator/Exhibit Designer.

That was my plan for quite awhile and I had very lofty aspirations. I wanted to work for the Smithsonian, something that as a child I had always dreamed of doing, but never knew the right route to take to make it there. I spent my last semester and time after I graduated applying to every possible position in the Smithsonian that I was qualified for as well as many other Federal government museums (mostly park service). I made it to the second round for a few and even got an interview at the Smithsonian itself! I made contact after contact, but they all had the pretty much the same news to tell me. It was either “I was qualified, but someone they hired was more qualified (i.e. had a Masters degree)” or “We’re under cutbacks due to the economic downturn.” Frustration is putting it very mildly on how I felt.

Then something quite wonderful happened. I went in for an interview at Laurel History Museum and they loved me and wanted me to work in their collections department right away! The catch: it was volunteer work. But hey, it was work and it was a museum so I jumped at the chance. I quickly progressed and joined both the collections and the exhibit committees which was great but just one little snag: I wasn’t making ANY money. Still keeping the dream of the Smithsonian and other big museums alive I continued to apply but got the same results. In the meantime I wanted to keep my knowledge of anthropology fresh, while being able to combine my two passions of writing and anthropology together. Thus Bones, Buried Treasures and Beliefs was born. Once again though, it was something that I loved, but something that I made zilch off of.

Finally, I began to face the reality that I wasn’t going to get something in my field that paid right out of college. I began looked for office jobs, or what a lot of people in my field consider “selling out.” Then a new host of problems I ran into became possibly even more frustrating: I was almost too qualified for most of these jobs. Once again I guess the gods were watching out for me because something amazing happened: I found a job. This wasn’t just a normal office job either; this was a job working for a government contracting firm that has contracts with half of the federal government agencies I dreamed about working with when I was starting out in the anthropology major. Even more exciting though was when I found out that they were getting into the field of GIS. This was how I knew I was in the right place.

The GIS class I took in my undergrad was perhaps my favorite class. The ability to take maps and convert them into these databases and 3D image models was amazing to me. It combined my love for technology and my love for archaeology. Not only that but it lead me to create my proposal for the geospatial relationship of Hoodoo artifacts at Mid-Atlantic sites (which I will hopefully get to present at next year’s Mid-Atlantic Archeology Convention). I fell in love, but it fell by the wayside with my new love for museum studies. Since being at this firm though, my love for it has reawakened and even inspired me to apply to the GIS Masters Program at the University of Maryland.

So the point is no matter what area of anthropology you’re interested in you’ll get to where you need to be. You could be like me and want to study everything you can possible get your hands on. Now many people wonder why I spent so much time studying anthropology and continuing to study anthrolopology when I have an “office job” and am getting more into the technical aspect of things. I answer them with five words: I love anthropology, always will. I would never want to settle studying something that I wasn’t interested in, in order to get that “perfect, high pay” job right out of college that everyone strives for. All my action and decisions were obviously done for a reason.

Right now I have the best of all three of my worlds. I work at a steady job, getting to work with government contracts, while working to pay for my Master’s degree, I volunteer at a museum that I’m in love with and I get to continue to write my heart out (and hopefully very soon will get my first novel published). This is where I’m supposed to be right now, I know that now. If you had told me four years ago when I started college what I’d be doing now, I probably wouldn’t have believed you but now I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Marriage in the World of Firefly

So I couldn’t help myself; my post yesterday on marriage got me thinking about Firefly. Lately I feel like everything I talk about makes me think about Firefly but I digress. For those of you who have never seen on episode, or the movie Serenity well first shame on you and second this whole post will probably go over your head. So what does marriage mean in the world of Firefly where we have tons of different planets with different cultures, companions that you can pay money to show around and “play house” with and with the alliance that is breathing down the neck of most of the planets?
Weirdly enough things actually have stayed the same when it comes to all these different ideas of marriage in this futuristic universe. With the frontier land on many of the outer planets we have societies starting back up and having similar customs to societies of old such as marrying someone to pay off a debt of the family or town. An example of this is the marriage (although a sham by a devil woman played by the immensely gorgeous Christina Hendricks) of Mal and Saffron. Well really this can be shown as three different examples but we’ll start with the first one. She was supposedly given to Mal as a “gift” from the town elder. According to her story, Saffron had been waiting at the maiden house where she was to be married off to whoever came along. She talks about these awful men that her fellow maidens had been married off to and how she was lucky to get such a kind, gentle man. She also asks at one point if Mal is going to kill her because she has not pleased him, citing that others at the maiden house have been put to death for that very reason.
Of course this was all a fake, which leads me to my next example of marriage in Firefly: the sham marriage. Unfortunately Saffron not only married Mal to sell him out to people who wanted to strip Serenity but married tons of other men as well. She even marries Mal’s war buddy Monty under the guise of Bridget. Once Monty figures out who she is calls her a “devil woman” and leaves her on a desolate moon. We then learn that she also married a wealthy man named Durran who she married under the guise of Yolanda. At one point Mal even refers to her as “Yosafbridge” to accommodate all her guises. We can then liken her to all the money/power hungry women that get married purely for those reasons or even the black widow.
Then there is yet another form of marriage we can liken Mal and Saffron’s too: the drunken Vegas wedding. Mal was pretty drunk the night he “married” her and didn’t even realize that he was marrying her. That though was an example of the Triumph Settler’s wedding ritual. Mal was crowned with a wreath which represents his sovereignty, then drinks of her wine and then there was a dance with a joining of hands. All of this though never crossed Mal’s mind that this was a marriage ceremony that he went through. This then could be the equivalent to “The Hangover” type wedding.
Okay enough about that marriage (all though it is the most fascinating and complex, yet fake one) let’s move on to the other marriage: Zoë and Wash. Now if there was ever an odd marriage, it would be them but that’s the beauty of it and it works. You have Zoë who’s this beautiful, military-esque, Amazon woman and then you have Wash who is a comical, somewhat wimpy mechanic. Their marriage is lovable even though even W ash says “Not everyone gets me and Zoë at first” (Firefly 2002).
We see Zoë’s feelings about marriage come out when she is confronted by Saffron about cooking her husband dinner. Zoë looks at Saffron like she is crazy and later talks to Wash about how Saffron is subservient to Mal in every way and how a woman shouldn’t be like that. Zoë also fires back when Wash “defends her” going on about how it’s always like the man to jump in and defend a woman of Saffron’s likeness. On the flipside when Saffron is trying to seduce Wash she mentions that she felt that Zoë didn’t respect Wash to which Wash fires back his famous line “Not everyone gets me and Zoë at first.” This line like I mentioned earlier I feel sums up Zoë and Wash’s entire marriage.
We also see what both Mal and Jayne feel about marriage in wake of the appearance of Saffron. When first realizing that he’s married to her, while standing in the cargo bay, Mal starts freaking out about it thus “hurting Saffron’s” feelings in the process. Jayne then speaks up, saying that if Mal didn’t want her he would gladly take her. Later in the episode Jayne even tries to trade his favorite gun for Saffron citing “Come on Mal, I’d treat her okay…” which I think pretty much sums up Jayne’s take on what he thinks a marriage is. Mal gets annoyed with him firing back that she isn’t a piece of property to be bartered, that she is a human being thus showing part of his view on the subject.
So what have we learned from this study? Well mainly that all the types of marriages, and thoughts of marriages that we have now will probably still be around in hundreds of years to come. Things might change a little bit or even become somewhat retroactive as well. I leave you then with the words of Malcolm Reynolds: “Well, yeah, last night I was [pleased]. Had some mulled wine, pretty girl gave me a hat made out of a tree. Nobody said I was signing up to have and to hold” (Firefly 2002).