This paper will allow students to sharpen their analytical skills by thinking about the way that aspects of gender create meaning, construct identities, and function within cultural systems of power.
The short length of this essay also requires students to keep their writing and argument focused and clear and to pay attention to composition at the sentence and paragraph level.
- FIRST, for this 5-6-page paper,first summarize the research from your annotated bibliography into a literature review.
- You should organize your literature review as a “reverse pyramid” with the most general information related to your topic or focus of study first, then working your way to scholarly articles or book chapters that are more relevant or that address your topic more specifically. You can also use your literature review to demonstrate where there is a “gap” in the scholarship that your project may fill (this is a more sophisticated, but generally a more effective way of using the literature review).
- Your literature review also works to establish the relevance of your research (why there is a need and/or interest for it), and to emphasize your (the author’s) unique contribution to the scholarship that already exists. Further, it allows you to advance your own argument in your essay by pointing to supporting evidence (scholarship) and any possible oversights (where your work will offer a correction or a new perspective).
- NEXT, choose an example of gender and (topic of your group presentation) that you find of particular interest. Some ideas include a film, a television program, an advertisement (or advertising campaign), a toy, a song, a music video, a magazine, an app, a piece of technology, etc.
- Based on what emerges as most interesting from your review of literature, decide on what you will argue is most significant about how your artifact engages in a complexity of meanings about gender,
and the implications of those meanings for politics, culture, social relations, and equality.
Be sure to address all of the following questions in your paper:
- What kinds of ideologies (system of beliefs or what people perceive to be true about their world) are referenced, produced, or implied regarding gender through your example? What are the consequences culturally and politically (in terms of relationships of power?
- What kinds of impact does this example have on certain groups in terms of empowerment or disempowerment? For example, how might the meanings invited from this example change the way we think about the relations between men and women, the social classes (working-class, middle-class, upper-class), between various races and ethnicities, or between those with various expressions of sexuality (trans, bi, gender queer, non-binary, etc.)