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Week 6: Sexuality and Intimate Relationships

This week's readings look at sexuality and intimate relationships. In particular, we focus on how sexuality is linked to gender and reinforces gender norms. As Anderson notes, we often think of sexuality as a personal choice and experience. The reality is that sexuality itself, much like gender, is structured by social and cultural norms. In other words, we are not born knowing what to desire or what is titillating; if we do feel desire, that feeling is likely to be non-directed. However, as we grow, we learn what is desirable and to direct desire toward a single to single sex through socialization.

Below are the assigned readings for the week:

T, 9/27
Andersen, Ch4: Sexuality and Intimate RelationshipsR, 9/29
Deborah L. Talman - Doing Desire: Adolescent Girls’ Struggles for/with Sexuality (http://tinyurl.com/jhsapsc) Teen Girls And Social Media: A Story Of 'Secret Lives' And Misogyny (http://tinyurl.com/gwss55p) (audio, 20 mins, listen)‘Hot’ Sex and Young Girls Zoe Heller (h…

NPR interviews Nancy Jo Sales about her book

It's almost trite to suggest that social media has exploded in recent years. Yet, researchers are still trying to figure out social media's impact on young people (and older people) alike. And of course there are numerous types of social media. For example, some argue that the rise of social media including selfies are positive for women or that social media such as Twitter have given voice and power to otherwise powerless people. Certainly, the rise of easy video-technology has played a large role in the rise of movements such as Black Lives Matter.

However, there is also another side to social media that includes cyber-bullying, trolling (which often exhibits virulent racism and sexism), and there is no clear advantage that selfies are all that empowering for women and girls. Here is NPR's interview with Nancy Jo Sales on her new book, American Girls. 


You may also visit the interview highlights.

Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign

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Analysing media is never easy-- especially so given the speed with which it changes these days and the many contradictory messages. Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign is no different. On the one hand, the campaign was focused on valuing alternative standards (presumably more realistic standards) of beauty beyond the ones we typically see in the media. Yet, the company (Unilever) owns many brands whose other campaigns specifically reinforce the very beauty norms that the Dove campaign is critiquing. In short, part of the criticism is that a MNC is essentially coopting the women's movement and feminism to sell more products rather than making any real critique. Moreover, some point out that even the video below (which was widely shared), still reinforces the idea that beauty and outward appearance is centrally important to women's valuation of themselves.



In fact, the video led to creation of this parody.



Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Turns 10: How A Brand Tried To Change Th…

documentary about the abolitionists

PBS's American Experience documentary, The Abolitionistslooks at some of the major people of the abolitionists movement.

timely article from NYT - Why Gender Equality Stalled

This article is from 2013 and is particularly fitting given the excerpt from Betty Friedan that you just read. You may want to read it over and consider how much has and has not changed...

The articles begins...
THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. And it gives us some depressing stats:
Between 1994 and 2004, the percentage of Americans preferring the male breadwinner/female homemaker family model actually rose to 40 percent from 34 percent. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of full-time working mothers who said they would prefer to work part time increased to 60 percent from 48 percent. In 1997, a quarter of stay-at-home mothers said full-time work would be ideal. By 2007, only 16 percent of stay-at-home mothers wanted to work full time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/opinion/sunday/why-gender-equality-stalled.html?…

Frederick Douglass's "Why I became a women's rights man"

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There is an audio of Frederick Douglass's "Why I became a women's rights man":




This audio comes from the Smithsonian Folkways project. If you're having trouble playing the audio from this website, try visiting this link.

Michael Kimmel's comments about the "war on men"

A worthwhile read from 2012. Here sociologist Michael Kimmel responds to a post about the "war on men."
I thought of those men recently while reading Suzanne Venker's addled rant against feminist women as the source of the unhappiness that saturates male-female relationships. I thought of how painful it is when you are used to having everything to now have only 80%. What a loss! Poor us! Equality sucks when you've been on top -- and men have been on top for so long that we think it's a level playing field.

ppt of vintage ads

Although I have these images pinned in Pinterest, it annoys me that it requires login to view them. So here's a ppt of the same ads.

sxg on Pinterest

documentary — Wonder Women: The Untold Story Of American Superheroines

I haven't seen this documentary so I can't say much about it, but I'm willing to bet that it raises some interesting questions for us. At any rate, I thought it might be worth mentioning to all of you in case you're eager to have a look at it.

A new documentary — Wonder Women: The Untold Story Of American Superheroines — examines the history of women warriors and asks why we haven't had our Wonder Woman movie yet.




You may also want to view this fascinating book The Freaky, Fabulous, Feminist 'Secret History' Of Wonder Woman(takes you to NPR article about book, not the book).

Week 1: Introduction to Course

Day 1: Th, 8/25 - Welcome to the Course

Welcome to the class. Today, we'll go over the syllabus, course expectations, etc.

Day 2: T, 8/30 - Introduction to Sex and Gender

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10: T, 9/27 - Sexuality

Day 10, T, 9/27
Andersen, Ch4: Sexuality and Intimate Relationships Lesson plan
introduce students to new site - blog posts (vintage ads)introduce to students to Schedule pageshow students Assignments pageshow students Flipboardall links to readings have been addedclass the day before Fall Break has been cancelled Last week's readings: PPT on Theorizing Media's Influence & Social Construction of KnowledgeReview last week's readings on hair, Gabbi Douglass, why Wikipedia matters, why media matters How these biases translate into rules, laws, experience, and meanings for women, girls, & LGBT (particular for hair- who gets to decide "appropriate hair" that is then translated into rules - Caldwell)bell hooks - the power of speaking, the power to name Taking stock (the road so far): What have you learned so far? - ask students to come up with 5 things they've learned and write them down. Look at sxg pinboard

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

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Day 27

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Day 29

Day 30

Week 5: Social Construction of Knowledge

This week's readings:

Day 8, T, 9/20: Race, Culture, & Power
Paulette Caldwell - A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and GenderGabby Douglas, her Olympics over, tearfully responds to social media critics (http://tinyurl.com/z9njrwb) On Gabby Douglas’s hair, black women, why we care and why we shouldn’t (http://tinyurl.com/go3ru43)  Suggested Readings
Darker Shades of Queer: Race and Sexuality, author Chong-Suk HanPost from former student (http://tinyurl.com/hsq7c5c
Day 9, R, 9/22: Social Construction of Public Knowledge bell hooks - Talking Back (http://tinyurl.com/z9bxcru)Wikipedia’s Hostility to Women - Atlantic Monthly (http://tinyurl.com/jym8j6x)Closing Wikipedia’s Gender Gap - Reluctantly (http://tinyurl.com/z9wn68b)Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List (http://tinyurl.com/z3ahr6q)