This past week we have been focusing on gender. Gender is a fundamental social division. All around us we see differences between men and women (and girls and boys). The way they dress. The activities they engage in. What they say. What they want out of life. We see gender differences in the college classroom — who tends to major in what subjects? We see gender differences at the workplace — who tends to hold positions of power and authority? We see gender differences in the home — who tends to do the majority of housework? These social arrangements, which create and sustain gender differences, end up having powerful effects on the lifestyles and life chances of individuals.
You will be given two possible essay topics to write about. You have to choose one of them. The two possibilities are:
ESSAY OPTION 1
Are we ever not doing gender? From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, it seems like we are constantly doing gender. For this essay, I want you to walk me through a small segment of your day (when you wake up, when you walk to class, when you eat lunch, when you shop, when you drive or ride the bus, when you go out on a date, when you attend religious ceremonies, when you watch movies with friends, etc). Do not describe your whole day, but rather, choose some small segment (a strip) of your life to describe. During that small segment of your day, in what ways are you doing gender? How are you displaying your gendered identity? Given the situation you find yourself in, how are you conforming — or not — to gendered expectations of behavior?
ESSAY OPTION 2
In class on Friday, we watched a TED Talk by Tony Porter, where he focused on what he calls “The Man Box.” According to Porter, what is The Man Box? What are its core elements? Why are men afraid of getting outside of The Man Box? When Porter says, “my liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman,” what do you think he means by that?
As you write up your response, please reference and integrate into your essay the reading by West and Zimmerman “Doing Gender” and/or Lorber’s “Night to His Day”