Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Journal Assignment Descriptions May 13, 2009

These assignments should be completed in Word and uploaded to the proper folder in the Assignment tab of our course Blackboard site, but I’m including descriptions here to provide a fuller picture of the course goals.

Chapter 1 defines gender as an interaction, as something we do. Our communication interactions inform our understanding of gender and in turn our performance of it. The Gambles use Standpoint Theory to explain how our specific cultural identities (gender, race, socioeconomic status and more) shape our interactions and perceptions. According to the theory, those people on the margins (minorities such as women, Latinos, etc.) often become more intuitive communicators, as they must learn to navigate power dynamics daily.

For your first journal entry, please revisit that section of the textbook and reflect on your own “Standpoint.” What is your cultural place and space within society and how has it impacted your communication interactions and your view of gender?

Chapter 2 summarizes biological, psychological and social theories of gender and identity. Biological theories draw on scientific findings of hormones, anatomy and other physical, bodily components to explain sex differences. Psychological theories specify learned traits, while social theories look at learned roles. The Gambles also explain Cooley’s Reflected Appraisal Theory (or the looking-glass self). Revisit these theories to inform your response to the questions listed below.

Identify how the way you define yourself has played a role in forming the person you perceive yourself to be today. What messages have you fed yourself about who you are and what you are like? What messages have others fed you that confirmed or challenged your beliefs about yourself? Based upon your experiences, what kind of self-concept have you built? Do you expect it to change? Why or why not?

Before reading about feminism for this course, what did the words feminist and feminism mean to you? Try to recall the first time you heard these words and what you perceived about those persons who claimed ownership of these labels. Based on your understanding of feminism(s), for as the textbook informs there are many types of feminism, do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Chapter 4 covers extensively the role of artifacts in gender performance. Clothing is one of the more significant gendered artifacts we use. List five items of clothing that you would never wear because they send the wrong gender message. What is it about each piece of clothing that you find objectionable? What influences have led you to these conclusions about gendered clothing? Finally, in your opinion, are men or women more free to wear clothing than members of the opposite sex?

Chapter 8 breaks down power dynamics within the family. Who has what kinds of power in your family? In order to answer this question, do some thinking about how power is distributed in your family. For example, are responsibilities for the family’s financial security, child care, and running of the household shared equitably or are they unevenly distributed? Who in the family decides how money is spent, how the family will spend its free time, where the family will vacation, and when family members will spend time together?

Finally, discuss the extent to which gender appears to affect the power dynamics of the family. What kinds of power, for example, might one or more members of your family exerted, but for some reason, they didn’t appear to recognize the opportunity, or if they did, their attempt at exerting power was thwarted by the reactions of another family member?

Identify the benefits that accrue to males and females when they enter into cross-sex friendships. Compare and contrast those benefits with the benefits that are gained from same sex friendships. Who do you believe benefits more from being a party to a cross-sex friendship: the male or the female? Why?

What are risks of cross-sex friendships? Compare and contrast those risks with the risks experienced during same-sex friendships? Who, in your opinion, risks the most when entering into a cross-sex friendship? Why? Which kind of friendship do you believe carries with it the greatest risk? Why?

Think about the degree to which you perceive gendered patterns of interaction at work in your romantic relationships. To what extent, if any, has studying gender-linked similarities and differences changed the way you process what occurs between you and your romantic partner in your relationship? Explain.

Refer to the journal activity on p. 229 of your textbook to reflect on your gendered educational experiences. Be sure to respond to all of the questions.

After reading Chapter 13, please reflect on your own media usage and its subsequent impact on your understanding and experience of gender. What types of media (children’s books, magazines, video games, television, film, internet, etc.) did you consume over the years? What is in your current media menu? Name and elaborate on one positive, empowering gender representation and one negative, discomforting one. More specifically, explain a media representation of gender that made you feel good about being a woman or a man and do the same for one that marginalized you because of your gender.

Now that we have all but wrapped up the course, please take some time to reflect on your interactive learning journey. What concept(s) did you learn about gender communication that you had not been aware of prior to the course? How did the course blog help and/or hinder your educational experience? Moreover, please discuss the relationship of gender and your use of the blog and Blackboard assignments. For example, do you think the virtual classroom space impacted your learning and/or your desire to participate in gender discussions? How so? What would you have liked to have seen available or changed in the design of the course that might have improved your learning experience? Finally, please let me know if you would feel comfortable if I post excerpts of your response to the course blog so that we all might benefit from others’ experiences (unnamed of course). *You may have an additional twelve hours to complete this final journal entry, 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 16.


3 Responses to “Journal Assignment Descriptions”

  1. Jessie Wright Says:

    The journal entry 9 is kind of confusing. On here is says it is on chapter 10, but on blackboard it says it is for chapter 13. I am going out of town for the weekend and just wanted to start it early. I was wondering what chapter journal entry 9 is on.

    I am pretty sure it is just mislabeled on blackboard and just wanted to check.

  2. daniellemstern Says:

    Actually, regardless of the typo, the description is all about media, no matter which chapter it’s listed under. :-p

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