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Gender & Society

Sociology 364
Spring 2011

Dr. Idee Winfield Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth. Get over it.
Email: Gary Woods
Phone: 953-4899
There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power
Office hours: T,TH 1:30-2:30; W 3:30-4:30, and by appointment decides the meaning of difference.
June Jordan
Office: 88 Wentworth rm 301
If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle.
Rita Mae Brown

W elcome to Gender & Society! Gender is a central feature of social life yet we often take it for granted because it seems so
"natural." Think about it, the first question people ask after a baby’s birth is – “is it a boy or a girl?” We take for granted that we are
born as female and male, and that these “natural” physical differences translate into other social differences we often perceive
between men and women. Gender, however, is far from "natural." Sociologists recognize that individuals are situated in specific
social and historical environments that shape our experience and the ways we interpret and think about our lives. Thinking about
men and women from a sociological perspective means that we go beyond taken for granted assumptions about sex and gender
and will critically examine the social origins of the patterns we see around us. In this course, we examine how gender is deeply
embedded in society's basic political, economic, and ideological institutions. Our central task is to explore how the
interconnections between gendered social institutions and gendered interpersonal interaction shape the opportunities afforded to
women and men, our behavior, and our identities.

Ours will be a joint mission: we will explore these issues and learn together. My role is to expose you to the sociological approach to
understanding gender and to guide you as we work our way through the material. I will push you to be systematic and empirical,
not just anecdotal and stereotypical. Your role is to be an active participant, seeking knowledge and insight with an open and
questioning mind, interacting with course materials, and sharing your thoughts, feelings, and questions as we go.

This course is divided into three sections. We begin by learning some of the key ideas in social constructionist theory and
sociological thinking about gender and how it differs from biological essentialism and oversimplified theories of sex role
socialization. Most of the course themes will be introduced in this first section. In the second section, we will examine the
interactional production of gender and gender inequality – how gender gets into our heads, bodies, and wallets. In the final section,
we will explore how gender is a social institution with a focus on what I believe is THE central gender issue for your generation: how
to combine work and family life in ways that do not reproduce gender inequalities.

Course goals
This will be an exciting and interesting class, but not an easy class. There is a good deal of material to read, and a good amount of
work you'll need to do to process these ideas and learn what you can from them. By the time the semester ends, it is my hope that
you will:
1. Know some of the main sociological theories and concepts in the study of gender.
2. Know some of the main trends in gender inequality.
3. Recognize the ways in which ‘masculinity' and ‘femininity' are socially defined, negotiated, enforced, & resisted.
4. Understand how major social institutions, such as families and workplaces, can sustain dominant gender norms but also offer
opportunities resistance, negotiation, and change.
5. Appreciate how these these gendered processes affect our daily lives and shape our experiences.
6. Complete analysis of a variety of social phenomena through a "gender lens."
7. Think critically about gender and society, and communicate your ideas in a clear and thoughtful manner.

Course Structure
Most weeks, our class time will include mini lecture, small group activities, and a lot of discussion centered on the readings,
activities, and videos. I designed our class sessions around readings we do in common. Your most important responsibility is a
careful, thoughtful reading of the assignment before we meet in class. We cannot have meaningful discussion if you have not
done the reading and I am won't support uninformed discussion.
Required Texts and Materials:
< Michael Kimmel. 2009. The Gendered Society, 4 th ed. Oxford University Press.
Listed as “K” below.
< Michael Kimmel and Amy Aronson. 2010. The Gendered Society Reader, 4 th ed. Oxford University Press.
Listed as “KA” below.
< Additional readings and web links can be found on OAKS.

The books are available at University Books of Charleston on King St as well as the College Bookstore on Calhoun

Requirements: Earning Your Grade

i Exams – 40%
There will be two examinations. The first is an in-class exam at the end of the first section of the course. The second is a take-
home exam at the end of the third section.

i One Critical Thinking Field Assignment – 20%

In this course, you will not simply read other scholar’s ideas, theories, and observations about gender, you will also produce
your own insights about how gender is performed, produced, structured and what it means to be a gendered being in the first
decade of the 21 century. Throughout the term, we will be putting learning into practice through field exercises that invite
you to activate your sociological imagination and challenge your own assumptions by participating in outside “gender

You will select one of the two field exercises below:

Exercise 1 - In this short field experiment you will identify and break a gender norm and then write your observations of others
responses to your breaking the normative behavior and how you felt when you broke the gender norm. Your paper should be
about 8-10 pages and make use of relevant readings from the course to explain the gender norm, what you observe when you
violate that norm, and how you felt.

Exercise 2 - In this content analysis, you will go to two different stores that sell deodorant/antiperspirant. You will observe how
the products are displayed, the colors, scent, shapes, sizes of the products, as well as the names of the products and the writing
on the product and the boxes. Based on your observation of the content and with the use of relevant course readings, you will
write an 8-10 page analysis of what your observations tell us about gender in our culture today.

All field exercises must be typed, double spaced, 1-inch margins, 11 pt. font, and uploaded to the OAKS dropbox before the
deadline. Specific instructions will be available on OAKS.

i Group Visual Sociology Project – 20%

You will take what you learn in class as a foundation for a visual sociology, multimedia project on some specific aspect of
gender. You will do this assignment with others in a group of no more than three students.
You will prepare a presentation for class as well as uploaded it to YouTube.

i Class Participation/Engagement – 10%:

You earn your participation grade by attending class AND actively participating. To the dismay of some students, warming a
seat does not count as participation! To participate effectively and constructively, you need to come to each class prepared to
talk about the readings. Keep in mind that quality participation does not mean that all comments must be brilliantly insightful;
this class is intended to foster critical thinking. Questions and incomplete thoughts about these issues contribute to the
process of learning.

I will occasionally ask you to prepare or do something for the next class discussion and complete written assignments as part of
in-class small group activities. I collect this work at the end of class. In addition, I will make note of constructive contributions
to class discussion and group activities. You only receive participation credit if you are present for the entire class session, turn
in any preparatory assignment during that class session, and constructively contribute to group activities. You don't receive
credit if you miss a small group activity, don't come to class on time, or don't turn in the preparatory assignment during the
class session. No class participation work may be made-up.

i Reading Quizzes – 10%

To ensure that you are prepared for a meaningful discussion of the readings I will periodically give short reading quizzes. The
quiz will be posted on OAKS by 10 pm the night before class and the quiz closes at 2:30 pm before class begins. The more often
I find the class has not done the reading, the more frequently you will have reading quizzes. The quiz will either be a few
multiple choice questions or a short answer question that asks you identify the key themes in the readings. I strongly
recommend that you take notes or outline the readings so that you can quickly complete the quiz.

My philosophy on grades is this: They are yours to earn, not mine to give. Therefore, decide now what grade you want to
receive, and earn it!

A=90-100% A-=89% B+=88% B=80-87% B-=79% C+=78% C=70-77% C–=69% D=60-68 F= <60

In this class, an ‘A’ is reserved for truly excellent work. If you earn an ‘A’, you went above and beyond the call of duty with your
performance. A ‘B’ indicates very good work. You did not just do the minimum requirements, but you made an extra effort to
show your skills, and your effort showed. A ‘C’ means you did average work—you did what was asked and you did it
satisfactorily, nothing less, nothing more. A ‘D’ means you need to improve—you did below the minimum requirements. An ‘F’
is guaranteed if you turn nothing in or rarely come to class.

Your grade is not determined by how much time you put or how “hard” you feel you worked. I use grading rubrics that assess
how well and how completely you accomplished what the assignment asks you to do – in other words, what you actually

You have to work at it to get an ‘A’ or an ‘F’ in this. Please come see me during office hours if you have questions about how to
read, study, or take notes more efficiently and effectively.

Exams 40% Feb. 8; April 19

Field Exercise 20% March 15

Visual Sociology Project 20% April 12

Reading Quizzes 10% possibly for each set of readings

Engagement 10% every class

Class Policies:
i Make-up Exam policy
There is one makeup day, April26th for anyone who missed the first exam AND has an excused absence verified through the
office of the Dean of Students. I do not verify your absence and you do not have to bring me your excuse. Rather you should
take your note from a physician or health services to the Dean’s office at 67 Glebe for verification. If you have a death in the
family, take a note from the funeral home to the Dean’s office. The Dean’s office will send me a notification of whether you
have provided a documented absence. Unverified self-reported absences are not eligible for a make-up exam. If you are a
student-athlete on a CofC team, make sure I have your travel schedule and see me about making arrangements for your

There are no make-ups for reading quizzes, in-class activities, homework, field assignment, visual sociology project, or the
take-home exam.

i Follow common rules of respect.

Turn your cell phone COMPLETELY OFF as soon as you enter the classroom. Do not leave it on vibrate and do not pull it out
during class to text message or check messages. Otherwise I get free phone calls for the next 24 hours on your phone! I have
friends in faraway places :) .

If you bring a laptop to take notes, do not distract others by checking your Facebook account, e-mail, or anything else that is
not directly part of class. Those who ignore this will receive one warning and then you will no longer be able to bring the
laptop to class.

Come to class, be on time, and do not sleep, chitchat, or engage in any other kind of disruptive behavior in the classroom. You
may think you are anonymous, but I can still see and hear you and your neighbors definitely can too. Also, you are not invisible
-- so don't walk in front of me or over top of your classmates when class is in session (I get really pissed off when that
happens). If for some reason you must leave class early, be sure to sit near the door. Once you get to class, stay there – do not
wander off to the bathroom because you will miss important steps in the material.
i Communicate with me.
Talk to me, but do it at the right time. If you are having any problems with the material or have questions about an
assignments come see me during office hours or make an appointment to talk. Before class is not a good time. I am busy
setting up the technology or writing notes on the board and cannot give you my full attention. If you have something you want
me to know about work you are turning in or don’t have with you, please save it to the end of class.

i Cheating is NOT a “good thing.”

It should go without saying, but anyone caught violating the honor code will receive an F on the assignment and have to go
before the Honor Board. Folks, it's just not worth it. Cheating includes using someone else’s work. You should be careful not
to plagiarize by claiming someone else's words as your own. If you do not know what plagiarism is, see the resource on OAKS.
Now you know and cannot plead ignorance. This will be VERY important when you complete your Field Assignment and
Visual Sociology Project. Always ask if you are not sure.

I. Introduction: Sociology Looks at Gender

Jan. 11 Introduction/Overview of Course
Jan 13 Thinking Sociologically About Gender
Question to think about:
< What is specifically a sociological way of seeing gender?

K: Ch. 1, Introduction
Spade and Valentine: The Kaleidoscope of Gender

Jan 18 Gender and Biology – it's all in the genes, right?

Questions to think about:
< When and how are differences constructed as better/worse rather than just different?
< Why would people assume that biology is less "fixable" than society when it comes to gender relations?

K: Ch. 2, Ordained by Nature

Lucal: Building Boxes and Policing Boundaries: (De)Constructing Intersexuality, Transgender and Bisexuality

Jan 20 Just-so stories

KA: Sapolsky, “Testosterone Rules”
KA: Fausto-Sterling, “Of Genes and Gender”
KA: McCaughey, “Caveman Masculinity”

Jan 25 Gender categories & sex role theories: Variations in people & experiences

"When I was born, they looked at me and said: 'What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy!'
And when you were born, they looked at you and said:'What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty
girl!'" "What A Good Boy," The Barenaked Ladies

Questions to think about:

< Why is it convenient to imagine a single "traditional sex role" for women that is the total opposite of the
"traditional sex role" of men?
< How is "otherness" central to our construction of gender?
< What role does dualism play in legitimating inequality?

K: Ch. 4, “So that explains it”: Psychoanalytic and Developmental Perspectives

KA: Pascoe, “Dude You’re a Fag”: Adolescent Masculinity and the Fag Discourse.
KA: Letendre, “Sugar and Spice But Not Always Nice”: Gender Socialization and Its Impact on Development
and Maintenance of Aggression in Adolescent Girls

Jan. 27, Feb. 1, 3 Gender at three levels: individual, interactional and institutional
Questions to think about:
< What does it mean to think about gender as a system of social relationships (both at a face to face level
and as organizing a whole society) rather than just something an individual person has or becomes?
< How do other salient social statuses, such as race, ethnicity, sexuality etc. help to construct multiple
femininities and masculinities?

K: Ch. 5, The Social Construction of Gender Relations

Messner: Barbie Girls and Sea Monsters

KA: Ridgeway, Framed Before We Know It: How Gender Shapes Social Relations
Spade & Valentine: The Interaction of Gender with Other Socially Constructed Prisms"

Kleinm an: Why sexist language matters

Cohn: War, Wimps, and Women: Talking Gender and Thinking War

Feb. 8 In-Class Exam

II. Doing Gender in the Contemporary American Gender System
Feb 10-17 Seeing gender: media versions of masculinity & femininity

Questions to think about:

< What specific types of masculinity and femininity does the mass media present as the norm?
< To what extent and how are these representations of femininity and masculinity made to seem “true,” or
< How is the manipulation of our bodies central to the construction of these representations?
< How do gender rules vary by race and class?
< When people fail to conform to gender norms in one way or another, what are the different ways our
culture offers for them to deal with this discrepancy?

K: Ch. 10 The Gendered Media

KA: Weitzer and Kubrin, Misogyny in Rap Music
KA: Gilliam and Wooden, Post-Princess Models of Gender: The New Man in Disney/Pixar

K: Ch 12 The Gendered Body

KA: Dozier, Beards, Breasts, and Bodies: Doing Sex in a Gendered World
Aubrey: The Butt: Its Politics, Its Profanity, Its Power
Bordo: Never Just Pictures

Feb 22 Resistance and accommodation in doing gender

Questions to think about:
< What specific gender rule would you most want to change?
< What are possible ways of resisting?

KA: Lorber, Men as Women and Women as Men: Disrupting Gender

Weitz: Women and their hair: seeking power through resistance and accommodation, excerpt from The Politics
of Women's Bodies.

Feb. 24 Doing embodied gender with and in our sexualities: understanding the rules of relationships
Questions to think about:
< How are men and women “supposed” to relate to each other? if your are straight? If you are gay?

K: Ch 11, Gendered Intimacies

Kimmel: Bros Before Hos, excerpt from Guyland

March 1 & 3 Groups plan Visual Sociology Project

March 8, 10 Spring Break

March 15 Groups meet in class with Dr. Idee to discuss completed plan for Visual Sociology Project
Finish Field Research Assignm ent and upload to OAKS by 5 pm.

III. Gendered Institutions: Perpetuating or Changing Gender Relations?

March 17 Family structures and housework as historically & culturally changing gendered institution
Questions to think about:
< How has “The Fam ily” changed its rules over time and why does matter?
< What is the relationship between the gender rules of "The Family" as a social institution and the gender
rules of specific individual fam ilies?
< How do specific fam ilies meet (or resist) institutional demands?

K: Chapter 6, The Gendered Family

KA: Coltrane, Household Labor and the Routine Production of Gender
March 22-29 The gendered world of work
Questions to think about:
< How do we do gender as part of doing our paid work?
< How do workplaces create and sustain gendering practices.
< What is and is not a gender-fair work practice? Is this the same as a gender-neutral work practice?
< Should we expect women and men to do the same work in the same way to be treated equally in the
labor market?

K: Chapter 9, Separate and Unequal: The Gendered World of Work

Leidner: Serving Ham burgers and Selling Insurance
Hall: Smiling, Deferring, and Flirting: Doing Gender By Giving Good Service

Featherstone: An Exceptional Woman: (Non) Promotions at WalMart, from Selling Women Short: The
Landm ark Battle for W orkers' Rights at Wal-Mart
Featherstone: Always Low Wages, from Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at
KA: Williams, The Glass Escalator: Hidden Advantages for Men in the “Female” Professions

March 31 The structural incompatibility of paid work and carework in the U.S. today
Questions to think about:
< How have "workplaces" become separate from "homes"?
< When and how do the rules for these "separate spheres" conflict?
< How is the exclusion of women from better-paid jobs legitimated? Challenged?

Crittenden: excerpt from The Price of Motherhood

The Mommy Tax
Sixty Cents to a Man’s Dollar
It was Her Choice
Gerstel: Men’s Caregiving

April 5 Work, carework and poverty

Questions to think about:
< How does the gender rule about carework affect rich and poor women differently?
< How are gender norms built into the rules states produce to regulate workplaces and fam ilies?

Crittenden: excerpt from The Price of Motherhood

Who Pays for the Kids?
The W elfare State vs the Caring State
Hays, Flat Broke with Children, excerpts (pp.3-28 and 71-93)
Hochschild: "Love and Gold"

April 7 Work on Visual Sociology Project. Dr. Winfield will be at the Southern Sociological Society meeting

April 12, 14 Visual Sociology Presentations

April 19 W ork on Take-home Exam. Due in OAKS dropbox by 5 pm

April 21 What Comes Next? Women and Men Making Change.

Questions to think about:
< How does a large and complex society begin to change its gender rules at any level?
< How does change at each level from individual to interactional to institutional relate to change at other
< What is the relationship between collective and individual challenges to gender rules?
< How can we change the meaning and structures of masculinities to create gender justice for all?

K: Epilogue
Johnson: "Unraveling the Gender Knot"

*This schedule is subject to change. I will announce any changes in class.