The anthropology of ‘bikini baristas’

As a social scientist, the recent uproar over the bikini clad baristas is analytical gold. What I would like to do in this short commentary is what some scholars have termed “public anthropology,” that is, a type of anthropology that engages the public in social science.

bikini-barista-shared-picture-france-1333014254As a cultural anthropologist — one who studies human behavior in a contemporary social context — and an instructor in the gender and sexuality studies minor at Pacific University, the Dream Girl Espresso business in Forest Grove and the Bikini Coffee kiosk in Hillsboro provide me with an opportunity to share the insights and analyses of social scientists with the community.

Central to the world view of most anthropologists such as myself is the awareness that one of the many things human culture does remarkably well is naturalize behavior patterns and certain beliefs. That is, culture makes the way we behave appear rooted in nature rather than socially created. For example, it seems perfectly natural to us that self-respecting women should fully cover their breasts.

Read more here: The anthropology of ‘bikini baristas’