Final Project: Moments of Gender Transgression “Examining gendered roles thru writing and visual production” Solicitation Letter

Due: Final Project Due: Monday, July 12 July 23rd

This assignment is an opportunity for you to explore the construction of gender, gender roles in our society and your understanding of those. Specifically in this assignment you will construct a 1500-word piece that could conceivably be printed in a magazine or submitted to a blog of your choosing. You should browse the Internet for blogs or magazines about gender that might accept a piece like the one you want to write/record and write a letter of solicitation to this blog/magazine, “pitching” your project to them. You’ll then conduct your “moment of transgression” (see below) and record what you find in the style of Nielson, Walden, and Kunkel’s “Gendered Heteronormativity: Emperical Illustrations in Everyday Life,” which we read in the first week of this semester. Moment of Transgression means you will need to self-identify as a specific gender and sexuality, most likely ones to which you feel you belong. In your letter of solicitation, you will identify your own gender and sexuality and make clear to yourself and your audience what the rules, norms, and social scripts are for this role. You’ll then sensitively select which one(s) of these roles you will defy. When you actually perform the violation, you (and perhaps a witness) should note what you observe as responses, reactions, and consequences to your transgressing behavior. Does anything change? For whom? How? Why, do you think? Evaluate what you’ve found, and then compose an opinion piece that fits the type of writing/video your blog/magazine of choice usually publishes. Your transgression should not be a simple one. For example, if you identify as a straight male, dressing like a female is somewhat simplistic and obvious. You should brainstorm the roles that we play, the ones that society pressures us into and polices us to enforce, then choose one or more of these more covert, less-discussed roles to transgress. If you choose more than one transgressive moment, you should perform them one at a time rather than simultaneously; we’re looking to see what each specific transgression renders. I’ll create a special discussion board for conversation about how you might go about crafting a creative and thoughtful project, but keep this in mind: Your transgression should not place yourself or other people in direct line of bodily injury/harm. Neither should the act(s) involve breaking federal or state laws. Consequences of the transgression are the sole responsibility of the agent (that’s you).

Questions to consider: How does the production of meaning affect gendered roles? Why are differences important? If meaning cannot be fixed, how does that impact our understanding of gender and gender roles? What does it mean that we’re able to transgress gender? What did you learn about gender fluidity or sexuality fluidity from transgressing it? Goals for the assignment: • Paper or video is well organized, thoughtful, and insightful. • Transgression is complex, not cliché or simplistic. • Writing is clear at the sentence and paragraph level. • Developed thesis statement is applicable to the topic. • The format of the writing or video is personal essay, which incorporates topic sentences, statement of goals, and at minimum, an introduction, body, and conclusion. • Work with a given genre: satire, opinion, comedy, biography. For this assignment you are required to produce both a letter of solicitation/introduction to your chosen outlet, and the final paper/video. This solicitation letter should be written formally and addressed to the proper editor of the blog or magazine of your choosing. The letter should give a brief overview of your opinion piece and the style in which it is written, as well as address your rationale for participating in the transgression and what gender and/or sexuality roles it will challenge. If you choose to write the essay, it should be approximately 1200-1500 words. If you choose to record the video, it should be 8-10 minutes in duration, and although you needn’t script it, it should be well thought-out and rehearsed, just as if you were sending it in for publication on the blog or magazine. Either way, the final project should make reference to (at least) 2 sources from the syllabus. You should incorporate these sources into your essay/video to support some assertion you’re making about gender/sexuality or to help explain some consequence or effect of your transgression.

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