Gender and Historic Cemeteries

Historic cemeteries can be a huge source of information if you do enough of an analysis of them. One of the most surprising aspects of analyzing gravestones in the Calvary Cemetery in Seattle, WA was the fact that even in death, gender seemed to be represented in various forms. Everything from shapes, designs, and materials used on gravestones seemed to have a correlation with gender . Although not all of these aspects were gender exclusive there were definite patterns.

First of all, throughout the entire cemetery it appeared as though the block shape was by far the most dominant shape of gravestone in-scripted with the names of males. Many females also had block shaped gravestones although not as frequently as the males seemed to have. Contrarily, females tended to have more monument shaped gravestones than compared with males.

The designs used on the gravestones may also have been representative of gender. It seemed as though many females seemed to have flowers, angels, trees and other more feminine features on their gravestones. Males on the other hand seemed to have more items such as ships, plants, mountains, military service symbols, and more masculine features on their gravestones. Common features that were shared nearly equally on the gravestones of males and females were religious symbols such as crosses and bibles. This was not as surprising considering that many of these people most likely shared similar religious beliefs.

An analysis of the material used on the gravestones was also potentially indicative of gender. This was more difficult to interpret with accuracy because other aspects such as material availability at specific times, popularity, and cost may have been equal if not greater factors than gender when it came to deciding on the material. However, it seemed more common throughout the cemetery that males had more granite material used in their gravestones than compared with females. Females seemed to use more stone and cement in their gravestones than compared with males.

Overall, this analysis of shape, design, and material definitely seemed to correlate with gender to an extent although not every aspect was gender exclusive. Many other factors such as time period, age, religious beliefs, and popularity could potentially be reasons why certain shapes, designs, and materials were used. So in a way it is difficult to come to a fully accurate conclusion when examining gender in a cemetery setting.

The Thinker (female version)



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