Happy Father’s Day

"I pappas famn" by Severin Nilson
Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

For human primates, the two instinctive markers of status are age and gender. Even when humans lived in bands, or small kinship groups, and didn’t have any role specialization, they still took into account age and gender as markers of status.

For an anthropologist, Father’s Day is a special day, since it is when our own culture recognizes the very people whose status is marked specifically by age and gender. Kinship is a powerful organizational model, and one that we often undervalue in our own cultural myths.

We amuse ourselves of telling stories about the harried father, the rebellious child, and so forth. But today is the day that we recognize the role’s importance instead of challenging it. We take a moment to focus not on the drama, but on the years of (often dreary) hard work.

Let’s not forget that kinship is an organizing principle for all humans. Be sure to wish that someone special a “Happy Father’s Day!”

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