Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Blog Activity 1: Part 2 May 18, 2009

Filed under: blog activity — daniellemstern @ 10:41 pm
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Now that most of you have briefly introduced yourselves and discussed one aspect of your identity, please take a moment to reflect on your chosen identity marker’s connection to gender. Would you have selected the same item if you were a different gender? What aspects of your chosen item are gendered, or is the item gender neutral? For example, the iPod I have now would likely be considered gender neutral, as it is silver. However, my previous iPod was bright red and contained mostly “chick rock,” so would likely be considered more of a woman-centered object. What about your items?

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27 Responses to “Blog Activity 1: Part 2”

  1. katelyntemple Says:

    If I was a different gender I would not have chosen the same item to represent my identity. I chose a bracelet that I’ve had since middle school, with my horse’s name engraved on it. I would not consider this item to be gender neutral. It is jewelry, which is labeled as a ‘girl thing’. The bracelet is very plain, leather with a gold plate, but it is the emotional attachment that makes it appear most feminine. If I were a male, I would not feel comfortable relating this bracelet to my identity. It is acceptable for women to be emotional and cherish items that have a significant meaning to them, but this typically is not the case for men. Because of these norms and values it is unlikely a male would pick this item or it would be considered gender neutral.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      My item was a cell phone. A cell phone can be considered gender neutral. Keeping in touch with families and friends applies to any gender. My particular cell phone is extremely gender orientated to females. The outside of my cell phone is covered with a shiny pink cover. The background on my screen is my niece and my puppy. My ring tone is from high school musical. Males could have a similar picture, but not likely the shiny pink cover or high school musical ring tone. Females and males both can personalize their cell phones to make it gender customized, but cell phones in general are gender neutral.

    • mattymac Says:

      It is interesting to note that you mention how the attachment to the item is what makes it the most feminine, and not the actual item itself.

      When reading through the items chosen by other people, I found that some chose an item that related to them on a emotional level, others chose items that were more representational of a particular characteristic, and some chose items that functioned in both aspects.

      Perhaps one’s gender influences him or her to choose an item that relates emotionally versus characteristically.

  2. emily9988 Says:

    My item of choice was my chapstick, and I consider this to be a gender neutral object. Everyone’s lips get chapped, no matter what gender. However, it is rare to find a man with hot pink strawberry lip smackers, which would be considered highly feminine. I personally prefer cherry chapstick, which still has a feminine reputation behind it. Overall though, I still believe chapstick as a whole to be gender neutral.

  3. mattymac Says:

    My item was a silver keychain with my initials engraved on it. I do not think I would have chosen a different item if I were the opposite gender. The item itself is gender neutral with its only aesthetic features being that it is silver, has three letters engraved upon it, and is a basic geometric shape (it’s “pentagon-esque”). The reasons why I chose it–its representation of my love of music and the meaning behind my name–could also be applied to both genders. The attachment to the item could be characterized as both male and female.

    Now, in regard to the fact that is a keychain, one could argue that a keychain is more female in connotation. That is, to say, you may be more likely to find a keychain on a girl than on a guy, but I believe that this is more a matter of perception and also depends on the keychain. The same way an iPod or a cell phone can be gender neutral and can be customized to reflect the gender of the user, different types of keychains lend themselves to be more associated with a particular gender.

  4. sam1503 Says:

    My item was my cell phone which i would consider to be gender neutral. It is light silver with dark silver so it is appealing to both men and women. Keeping in touch with friends is very important to both genders. However I do believe that men would not be as inclined to change their picture backgrounds as often as I do, or select pictures of friends to display on the background. I think I make my cell phone more feminine by the pictures i choose to display and the ring tones I pick. For example, my song right now is Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ 🙂 not something a guy would normally pick.

  5. melissas18 Says:

    The item I chose was my work badge. The actual concept of my work badge is gender neutral; it is just a white badge with a picture of the employee on it as well as the company’s logo. But the reasoning I had for choosing the item may be seen somewhat neutral and somewhat leaning towards female gender. I said it represented my drive that I have had and it expresses my independence and things like that. Women often have to express their independence to establish it, at least it seems to be that way, and men don’t often talk about their independence, perhaps it is just assumed. On the other hand, I don’t really think independence itself is geared towards a specific gender, maybe just the concept of how and how often independence is expressed by a certain gender.

  6. melissam4 Says:

    My item was lounge clothes and although I find lounge clothes in general gender neutral, my lounge clothes being for a female body I suppose would have to be geared towards a feminine crowd. However, if you’re lounging by yourself and not pressured by any social expectations of the outside world, you could wear whatever clothes happen to be lieing around as long as they fit. Out in public, however, it would be more socially acceptable if girls wore boy lounge clothes such as a hoody or basketball shorts rather than boys wearing what is typically constituted as girls short shorts and a spaghetti strap. If I were the opposite sex, I would have chosen the same item as long as it were the acceptable style; such as baggy sweat pants/shorts and an old t-shirt or hoody.

  7. jenwaybright Says:

    I probably would have selected the same general item, but what was on my keychain would be different. The concept of a keychain is very gender neutral, but what is on my keychain is not. The Alpha Phi keychain is very specific to girls, since it is a women’s fraternity. The Packer’s keychain could be considered more gendered towards men, but football is rapidly growing in the female market. The car key would have probably stayed the same, though it might not have been for the exact same car since I think I have a “chick car”

  8. flipmyflops06 Says:

    I choose a hair bow as my item. This particular bow is a black and boring elastic band. This item could be considered gender neutral because today many males have longer hair that may need to be tied up. This being said, I don’t believe many men would have chosen this item to represented themselves because it is still seen as a feminine object that mainly girls use. Males seem to use this item only when their hair may affect their performance in a physical activity such as soccer.

    • melaniebahr Says:

      I wouldn’t say that a hair bow is gender neutral actually. While I agree that some men today do use them, the majority does not. I think that the majority of females have at one time, will, or do use them. Thus making it a feminine item, not gender neutral.

  9. catherineporter07 Says:

    My item is definitely gendered. The colors on the bracelet include yellow, light blue, bright red. Aside from the combination of bright and pastel-like colors, it’s a bracelet. While men may occasionally own a silver chained bracelet, it’s not likely that you would see a man wearing a bracelet made out of buttons. Therefore, had I been a male I would have likely picked another item.

  10. tgbaldwin32 Says:

    My item I think of as gender neutral. This is because everyone I know has a wallet, be them male or female no matter how masculine or feminine they are. Since it was a plain wallet without any gender specific markings on it is another reason I would consider it gender neutral. Therefor I think had I been a female I think I most likely may have still chosen the same item.

  11. mmpike Says:

    The item I picked was my sports watch. I would definitely consider this gender neutral. Maybe even masculine because its kind of big, and its black and navy. I think that the set time makes it a little bit more feminine. It set 3 minutes ahead so I won’t be late. And to if we were honest, the stereotype of females is that they tend to be late. So though the actual watch does not apply to feminine gender, the time on it does.

  12. kirstenpowell Says:

    The item I choose to represent myself definetly genders me. I said that my son, (although he is not an item), represents who I am. I classified myself as a mother in stereotypical gender roles. If I was instead his father I probably would not say that being a father defines who I am. A child has his or her own gender, however the understanding that women are typically the caregivers in our society is a gendered concept that I completely fall into. The ways in which I take care of my son in my opinion reflect my character and my being as a whole. He was once apart of me. I believe that I feel this way because of the role that women play in the childbirth process and that single event is what distinguishes this difference between men and women. If men where to give birth to children they too would fall into feminine gender roles.
    When I reread my post to part 1 I realized that the entire post is completely gendered. I mentioned that I was a “wife, mother, and a full-time student” it is interesting for me to look back at the order in which I classfied myself. I first gendered myself as a wife, then a mother. From the gendered connotation of mother I said that my son is the one thing that I always have with me that defines me. It was only last that I mentioned a gender-neutral idea. The idea of women being students is also a fairly new idea in the grand scheme of history. If I were a male I definetly would not have put the first two labels upon myself, and I definetly would not have listed my son as the one things that I always have with me that defines who I am.

  13. lckupke Says:

    I think my ring is pretty gender neutral, but I don’t think I would be wearing it if I were male. Many fellas DO wear rings with engraved crosses, but jewelery as a whole is seen as feminine. The ring is silver and the crosses around it are black. It is a fairly plain piece of jewelery, not ornate or super girly. It’s physical appearance makes the ring gender neutral, but the underlying emotional attachment adds a feminine quality. The ring has sentimental value to me; if I lost it I would freak out and be emotionally crushed. Taking my emotions into account makes the ring a more feminine item.

  14. cahendy Says:

    I chose my sunglasses which at first I thought were gender neutral, but just realized they are actually pretty masculine sunglasses. They are white and kind of smaller and the style is just for a guy, while sunglasses for girls are typically big and have some girly designs on them sometimes. I would not have chose the same item if I was a female.

    Its interesting to me reading everybody elses responses how they percieve some things to be gendered and others to be gender neutral. So far I do not disagree with the items people are saying are gender neutral or gendered, but the way people are coming to that conclusion is diffrent than I would typically. For example the person above me talked about the ring and the fact that she is emotinally attached to it is what makes it feminine, but me being a male would say that the fact that it is a ring makes it feminine. I never wear rings and I know some guys do but typcially I do not see guys wearing rings so we both agree it is gendered but for diffrent reasons.

  15. melaniebahr Says:

    The item that I chose was my sunglasses. I would think that this is a gender neutral item due to the fact that both men and women wear them. However, the sunglasses in particular that I chose are oversized and designer…probably not the same pair that a man would have picked to wear. Even though the general item itself is gender neutral the details are not. I do not think a man would worry as much about how they looked or where they got them from as much as a female would. I think males would be more interested in if the sunglasses fit well and are UVB etc. Girls on the other hand would be more interested in the fashionable high end sunglasses and use them as more of a fashion statement instead concentrating on finding a pair that is comfortable.

  16. chloea Says:

    My item (ipod) would be considered gendered, as it is in a pink case. Although, the music that accompanies it is very diverse, compliments of my brother. While that is the case, my ipod still has my name engraved on the back, and Chloe Alisabeth is definitely a feminine name.

    As matt stated earlier, I think the user defines the gender of the ipod. If I were male, I would still pick my ipod. Given this fact, it probably wouldn’t be in a case and my name would most likely be different. Either way, my name is my name. If my name was still Chloe Alisabeth, I probably would be viewed differently to begin with. It’s like Ashley in Gone with the Wind. When my brother was younger he could not get over the fact that the guy was named Ashley because of the female connotation that comes with the name.

  17. sbarmstrong Says:

    I believe I would have changed my item if I were a different gender. Though I chose a plain and simple bracelet, it can be catagorized as jewerly, which implies a feminine connotation. I also agree with Katelyn Temple as she stated “the emotional attachment that makes it appear most feminine.” The bracelet contains an emotional aspect that makes it important to me. The meaning is much more than the material. I think society has implied emotional or sentimental men as a negative thing. It isn’t masculine to wear a bracelet made by a friend. While a masculine person may find sentiment in something else, I do not believe a male would chose my item as a marker of his identity.

  18. ginasurrette Says:

    Since my Lucky “Laughter” coin is silver I would say that the color is gender neutral, however other aspects are not. There are butterflies engraved on the coin which represents a since of femininity. Such keeps sakes with butterflies and inpirational quotes engraved on them are thought to be more of a female oriented object that a man would not be likely to Carrie around. Although, I would not put it past any man to do so. To each their own.

  19. McNally Says:

    As I have looked over the other comments ive noticed that most peoples items are gender specific. I actually couldnt think of a particular item during the icebreaker, that i always have on me or an item that represents me. I leaned more towards an activity, sports. I love soccer, but i couldnt really label that as an item that i have on me at all times. I would have to say it is something that represents me and people know that im an athlete and love sports. But i would also say that this not a gender specific representation. I know plenty of girls that would represent themselves by the sports they enjoy playing as well.

  20. vrobbins Says:

    The item that I mentioned in my last post was my cell phone. Just as Jessie Wright has already mentioned. Cell phones are gender neutral. It is when we customize our cell phones that they lean more toward the feminine side or more towards the male side.

    More specifically, I talked about my usage of my cell phone for planning and organizing event by using the calendar. I think this aspect is gender neutral because there are many men in the business realm that use Blackberry’s, Palms and other electronic devices to keep them on a schedule.

    Other characteristics that I have changed on my phone, such as my ringtone and alerts are gender neutral as well. I chose not to download the latest songs as my ringtone, instead it is a traditional telephone ring you would hear at home or in the office. (BORING, I KNOW!) My alarm alert is Reveille. If you don’t know what that is, it is the noise that goes off for the military to wake up. Years ago, I would have said this is more masculine, but now that there are women in the military I would consider my alarm alert to be gender neutral as well.

    The only aspect of my phone that I would say is more feminine is my background. It is a picture I took of the beach in Nags Head. My boyfriend is into taking pictures of landscapes, specifically the mountains out west so I guess this could be argued. But, typically females are more likely to find beaches appealing, more so than males.

    Since it is mostly gender neutral (the way I have it set up), I don’t see any male having a problem adopting MY cell phone. 🙂

  21. Lauren Says:

    The item I chose were my PETA pins on my bag. If I was a different gender I do not think if I would have necessarily picked that item because of what it stands for to me. I have the pins on my bag because I am against animal abuse and eating animals. I do not know many guys that would give up meat and not wear leather because they feel bad for the animal they are killing in order to do so. The physical aspects of one of the pins is gender neutral because it is green with black lettering and says “Cut class, not frogs!” which could pertain to a guy or girl. My other PETA pin though pertains more so to girls because it has black and pink lettering with the word “Fur” crossed out. Overall, since my PETA pins relate to me more on an emotional level I think it does relate more towards the feminine gender rather than the masculine gender.

  22. kmacklin1107 Says:

    The item that I chose was my cell phone. I feel that even if I was a guy I might of chosen the same thing because many guys can be seen with a cell phone constantly on them. I do not believe it would have the same meaning to them as it does to me. Also I feel that my phone is very gender neutral. It is green in color and its not like a girly green, so I feel that guys would choose the same phone. I would say that the background that I have on my phone is probably not one many guys would have due to the fact of it being a picture of a daisy with my initials and my boyfriend’s initials on it.

  23. mransone Says:

    My item was my baby blanket. If I were a boy, I really don’t think I would have the same item because baby blankets are not usually gender neutral. Boys usually don’t hang on to old blankets or teddy bears from when they were little, because their masculinity could be questioned by their siblings or friends. For girls it is more acceptable, I have a lot of friends who still sleep with a blanket or stuffed animal from when they were younger. I don’t know any guys that still do or that would tell me if they did.

  24. mbest88 Says:

    If I was a boy I think I probably wouldn’t own the item I chose. Yeah, I would have a cell phone, but it would not be bright red and shiny. I think if I was a guy I would probably have a black or grey phone. Although some guys do text a lot, I would say that girls text more than boys. Some boys I know hate texting in general. If I was a boy the most important thing around me probably would not have been my boring black cell phone.


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