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Tuesday
Aug202013

Cultural Divide in the Southern Household

The influence of Southern culture in my work also stems from the differences I’ve found in ethnic and cultural differences among whites in the South. Having brought up in an Appalachian family and raised in the Deep South, I found that many of the traditions of my family history conflicted with the social norms of my surroundings. This fueled my discontent with local assertions of masculinity that I felt were not in congruent with what I experienced. In contrast to the standards of the Anglo-Saxon based Deep South, the clannish structure of the Appalachian household was much more transient on gender roles, due to the economic woes facing the Appalachian region. Although paternalistic, the head of the household, as well as many other men in the home, were accustomed to the traditional roles of their female counterparts, such as cooking, sewing, cleaning and various other crafts--as a form of self-reliance during hard times. Likewise, many Appalachian women were not bound to the traditional duties of the household and participated in the upkeep of livestock, hunting, and farming. (Stembridge Family - circa 1930's, with the surviving 12 of their 16 kids shown). My Great grandmother is in the back right of the photo.

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