Analysis of your experience with a gendered and gendering institution
Gendered and gendering Institutions
According to Michael Messner, social institutions are both gendered and gendering. He describes a gendered institution as “an institution constructed by gender relations. As such, its structure and values (rules, formal organization, sex composition, etc.) reflect . . . conceptions of masculinity and femininity”(p. 133). These are also gendering institutions, or an “institution that helps to construct the current gender order,” including creating masculine and feminine identities (p. 133). Messner writes: “I view gender identity not as a ‘thing’ that people ‘have’ but as a process of construction that develops, comes into crisis, and changes as a person interacts with the social world. Through this perspective, it becomes possible to speak of ‘gendering’ identities rather than ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ as relatively fixed identities or statuses. There is an agency in this construction; people are not passively shaped by their social environment” (p. 120).
For this assignment, you will describe and analyze a gendered and gendering institution and its effects on the development of your gender/gendering identity. You should address the following questions:
A. How does this institution reflect dominant (or alternative) structures and values of gender?
B. How has this institution shaped your gender/gendering identity, beliefs, and practices?
C. How have you participated in this process?
You might think about, freewrite, or brainstorm ideas about some of the following institutions: family; elementary school, middle school, high school, or college; Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, or other youth organization; a cultural medium like comic books, music videos, video games, fashion magazines, Sweet Valley High or Nancy Drew books, the Disney empire, WWF wrestling; playing on a sports team; being involved with a sorority or fraternity; or other institution or social organization.
In addition to Messner, please use and cite at least one other reading from the course.
Essay structure and guidelines
Introduction: this should introduce the idea of gendered and gendering institutions and the institution you will analyze. Make sure to cite Messner! Describe the institution for someone who is not familiar with it, and indicate when you were involved and how you old were at the time. Your introduction should end with a thesis statement (1 or 2 sentences) that summarizes your analysis of the institution and how it gendered you. Your introduction should be about ½ page.
A. You should have 2-3 paragraphs (1 ½ – 2 pages) analyzing how the institution is gendered. Think about the rules, expectations, values, beliefs, structure, organization, etc.
B. You should have 2-3 paragraphs (1 ½ – 2 pages) analyzing how this institution has affected your gender identity, your daily practices of gender, and/or your beliefs about men and women.
C. You should discuss your social agency or active participation either in the body paragraphs or in the conclusion.
D. You could to organize these paragraphs in block format: i.e. first about A then B, OR, you could alternate between the two using a point-by-point format.
Conclusion: In your conclusion you might address your social agency or active participation in this process, or consider what you learned from reflecting on your experiences in this essay, or other strategy.
The Writing Process
Part of a general education course is to practice writing. In most cases, your writing will be stronger if you use a process rather trying to do it all at once at the last minute.
1. Invention/Coming up with ideas. Start with a brainstorm or freewrite about the question. Write down whatever comes into your head, for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then analyze if for ideas. You also might keep a journal to write down ideas as they come to you during the day.
2. Organization. Write a working thesis and an outline. First, write out a full sentence to begin each paragraph. Then under each sentence add quotes and other evidence to support your point. After you are done, write a thesis statement — one to two sentences –that incorporates all of your main points. Revise and rearrange them so they fit together. OR, begin with your thesis statement, then go on to each paragraph.
3. Drafting. Try to do it in one sitting. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, and spelling at this point. Instead, focus on your argument: your claims, evidence/examples, and reasoning.
Need help?? See the Purdue OWL on paragraph formation http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/.
4. Revise your paper. Evaluate your draft. Look at each section in detail.
• Is the thesis statement clear, specific, and arguable?
• Does each paragraph have only one topic?
• Does each paragraph begin with a topic sentence claim? Is the claim specific and arguable?
• Is the claim supported by evidence? In other words, have you illustrated your point using details from your life experience?
• Is the evidence explained using reasoning and logic?
• Does the introduction clearly introduce the topic? Is it detailed, yet concise?
• Does the essay have an interesting and appropriate title?
Strategy– write a reverse outline. For each paragraph, consider what main point you were trying to get across. Write it in a sentence in the margin. Write each sentence out together – do they make sense? Revise them, then use each as the beginning of a paragraph.
5. Edit and proofread your paper. I suggest you consult a writing manual, but here are a few tips.
A. Check for action: replace is, was, were, be, being, been with active verbs like running, discriminating, stereotyping.
B. Check for wordiness and redundancy. Cut whatever is not necessary. I mean it. Consider each and every word, and cut whatever you can.
C. Examine each word: could you replace it with something clearer or more appropriate?
D. Replace contractions – i.e replace don’t, won’t, can’t with do not, will not, cannot.
E. Put old information before new.
F. Put in transitions from one idea to another.
G. Fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
H. Read it out loud. How does it flow?
I. Do a spell check, then read over it for again for misspelled words or wrong words (i.e. quiet instead of quite).
More Resources: Also see the Purdue OWL on Proofreading – follow the links from here http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/1/
1. Remember, you cannot write about everything, so choose a few aspects or experiences to focus on.
2. Your thesis statement should:
A. be located at the end of the introductory paragraph.
B. answer the questions in the prompt
C. be specific and arguable rather than vague and general. Compare these examples:
a) My family was very influential in establishing my gender identity and beliefs.
b) My parents had different expectations for their teenaged son and daughters when it came to housework, curfews, and standards of responsibility. I rebelled against their sexual double-standards, creating a wild-girl identity which often caused conflict with the “parental units.”
c) Football taught me to be a man.
d) Playing football and interacting with my football buddies taught me the basic tenants of masculinity: real men are physically strong; real men screw women; real men never show emotions. When I was in high school I believed in and enacted this version of masculinity.
3. Each paragraph should address one and only one topic. Each topic should be a sub-point of your thesis, which I call a claim. Somewhere in the paragraph, usually at the beginning or the end, there should be a sentence that clearly states the topic and what you want to say about it. This is called your topic sentence claim. Don’t leave it for the reader to figure out what you are trying to say, just state it clearly and specifically at the beginning or end of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should have evidence (i.e. quotes and paraphrases from the readings), which is also explained or interpreted for the reader. Consider these claims:
A. Growing up, my brother, sister and I had different chores.
B. On the weekends my parents expected my sister and I to clean the bathrooms, dust, do laundry, and other household chores, while my brother helped my dad as weekend mechanic and do-it-yourself homebuilder.
These sentences would be followed by (or preceded by) quotes and other details (your evidence) to illustrate the idea to your reader.
4. Imagine your reader is NOT familiar with your life or course readings.
• Please format your paper according to American Sociological Association or ASA format (NOT APA format). This is a sociology course, therefore we must use sociological format.
• Each essay should have a title page with the title of the paper centered about 1/3 of the way down, and your name, the professor’s name, the course name and section number, and the date, centered, single-spaced, near the bottom of the page.
• Each essay should have an interesting and unique title (i.e. “How I Became an Assertive Latina,” NOT, “An Analysis of a My Family”). Consider this: how will your paper be unique among the 120 others?
• Include a word count at the end.
• Double-space, use 1” margins and 12 point font.
• Print one side only. If you print in the library, turn OFF two sided printing.
• Block quotes should be single-spaced and indented 1” on either side. Do not use “quotation marks”.
• Book titles are in italics. Titles of articles, book chapters, and websites are in “quotes.” The title of your essay should NOT be in italics or quotes, but each important word should be capitalized.
• Use parenthetical references. Lorber (2009) argues “…” (p.115). Or after a quote or paraphrase (Lorber 2009: 15). Notice the period goes after the parenthesis.
Reference page: Your reference page should be formatted in either ASA style. The following describes ASA style:
• REFERENCES, centered at the top of the last page (or, if there is room, you can put the references on the last page of your essay.)
• Double spaced
• Indent 1/2” after first line (use the ruler) or go into page setup
• Alphabetical by author, or if anonymous, by title
Lorber, Judith. 2009. “The Social Construction of Gender.” Pp. 112-118 in Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology by Estelle Disch. Boston. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Messner, Michael. 2009. “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities.” Pp. 119-135 in Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology by Estelle Disch. Boston. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, California: Seal Press.
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