May 2, 2007

Final Course Reflections (3 points)

Thank you for being a part of this classroom community, for being diligent bloggers and for thinking deeply about issues concern gender, power and our everyday lives.

Best to you all.

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Please post a 200-300 word reflection to this course by 11pm on May 10th.

This post is an open space to share your thoughts, reflections or responses to course topics or the course itself.

For this post you could:
- list things that you've learned this semester (from blogging to being more critically aware)
- discuss topics or themes that resonate with you
- address things that surprised you (or didn't)
- share what you may be interested in studying further
- proclaim why (or not) GWSS is an important field of study
- discuss how feminism has changed (or continues to change) your life
- suggest improvements to the course
- suggest alternate assignments or additions to course material (like readings, films, activities)
- consider how or why feminist thought can (and should) occur in your discipline

Truly, this is an open assignment for you to share some final thoughts!

March 27, 2007

Assignment: Ad Analysis or Adbusting!

Blog Post Category 8. Adbusting (2 points)
Due by NOON on Monday April 2

Assignment Details: In American society (and increasingly in other Western and non-Western countries), children and adults alike are being socialized by the mass media as well as by parents, peers, schools, and other institutions. Advertising is a particularly interesting medium because it is meant to turn a profit. Much money is spent to induce you, the consumer, to have certain emotions and to feel certain needs. Advertisements can be viewed as very effective tools of socialization that suggest the statuses that are available within a society. They can also give insight into the values of a society.

Use as a resource

In this assignment you are asked to examine an advertisements in popular magazines and select one to bring to class). You must consider the following questions and write a 150 - 300 word post, OR, create (and post or bring to class) an ADBUSTER like the one you see below.

Questions to consider for your short analysis post:
1) What magazines did you examine? At what audience is each directed? How can you tell?

2) What roles in society are defined by these ads? Are they represented in any way that defines who (i.e., race, class, gender, age, ethnicity) should be in these roles?

3) What emotions are being elicited by these ads?

4) How is beauty portrayed in these ads?

5) What do these ads have to say about gender? What gendered norms are reinforced by these ads?

6) How might these ads be different from ads of the past? For example, can you see changing attitudes about men and women's work? Have ideas of beauty shifted—even in your lifetime?

7) Do you think these ads contribute to the gendered "problems" of eating disorders, sexual victimization, or cosmetic surgery? What would today's author have to say about what you found?



Here are other examples:
Adbusters spoof ads
Feministing has some in "Fun with Feminist Flickr" category

* NOTE * You may choose to write a post AND do an adbusting example for extra credit.

March 20, 2007

Gendering of Toys Assignment

Post to Category: 7. Doll Reports (4 points) by noon on Monday 3/26

Assignment: Visit a toystore (or online retailer) to analyze dolls and/or gendering of toys like these:


Take a “tour? of a doll retailer like Toys R Us, KB Toys, Amazon or FAO Schwarz . You can focus on Barbie, Bratz, Polly Pocket, My Scene, American Girl, or any doll (toy or “action figure? like GI Joe or Superman). Pay attention to how the dolls are gendered (and perform gender identity), and are raced, classed, organized (shelved or put into categories), constructed, dressed, marketed, etc.

In a 300 - 500 word post discuss your findings. Consider the following prompts to help guide your response:

* How are dolls sold (think space, place, marketing ploys)?
* How does gender, race, class and sexualities get mapped onto dolls (and/or toys)?
* What influence, if any, do you see dolls (toys) having on the gendering and socialization processes?
* What is your response to your findings? Did you think of your own days of playing with toys? Are you suprised, shocked, angered or not affected by what you've encoutered?
* Was it easy to find a doll/toy that looks like you, represents some of the salient pieces of your identity (race, ethnicity, skin color, hair texture, cultural groups, etc.)?

Use key terms, the films and the readings (assigned or optional) to guide your theorizing. Post a reflection write-up (and, if you are so inclined, a creative presentation of your findings for 5 extra credit points (Think photography, drawing, diorama, reconstructed doll...).

BONUS Extra Credit Assignment: Do you have a "doll narrative"? - a story about you and your dolls (like those that appear in Barbie Nation>? Share your story (in addition to the theoretical post) for 2 extra credit points). The film is available for viewing in the Walter LRC Library if you want to watch the tape.

Due to many requests, EXTRA CREDIT CAN BE COMPLETED ANY TIME BEFORE THE END OF THE TERM (the final date to turn in extra credit assignments, the Dec date specified in the syllabus).

NOTE: The reading "Ethinically Correct Dolls: Multicultural Barbies and the Merchandizing of Difference" is from this text:

February 6, 2007

Category 4. Twin Cities Research

What's happening in our community?

For this assignment I want you to "search" Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Minnesota area. We are very blessed to have our own feminist newspaper, a feminist bookstore, a feminist marial arts collective, feminist cabarets, feminist politicians (and the longest-serving openly Lesbian State Legislator in the U.S. who also runs a feminist environmental institute), feminist knitters, revolutionary mamas, feminist scholars, artists, activists, organizations events, and resources for the community.

Please seek feminist businesses, organizations that support women and girls, feminist events, feminist scholars, feminist activists, and women artists working in the Twin Cities (or greater Minnesota), whose work seems potentially relevant to course topics. You can look in the resources in front of the phone book, search google (use different combinations of key words), look in the Women's Press resource guide, and ask around.

Post ONE of your findings (not previously posted), under Category 4. Twin Cities. Include web links (when available).

Remember: Please DO NOT POST ANY REPEATS. So post early to avoid stress!

Note your findings in your journals (or reflect on the search process) as a journal entry for this week.

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You can view my example about TV by Girls under the category 4. Twin Cities Research"

January 29, 2007

Category 3. The Constructions of History

Remember to post by noon on Monday 2/5!

Instructions -

In a 300-500 word post, address one (or more) of the ideas in the following prompt:

What do you know of the women’s movement and/or women’s history? What should we know/learn? What are some of the sources of our historical learning? Who/what constructs our knowledge of and/or views of history and more specifically, of women's history?

You may want to post about key events included (or not included) on Manifesta’s Timeline or update the recent years (the Timeline ends in 2002).


You may want to analyze who/what is included (or not included) in history according to American girl dolls (and accessories).

Click on the banner to tour the Historical American Girl characters:



You may want to think about how Hollywood narratives - like Iron Jawed Angels (re)writes and inscribes history in our cultural imaginations.

Sample Journal Entries

+ + + Media Journal Assignment + + +

The media journal assignment asks you to pay regular attention to media concerning feminist issues, gender, sexuality or any other topic relevant to course material. You should be considering key theories and concepts, and how they could be applied to analyze what you see.

You could use this assignmet to track commentary on a specific issue, and it's representation in media sources (like news, magazines, newspapers, radio, film, and television) in order to become familiar with when, where, and in what contexts or situations this issue (or women and GLBTQQ communities receive media attention), and how it/they are represented.

It would also be beneficial to compare different types of sources (television, radio, print, Web-based, commercial, indie and grassroots outlets, as well as local, national, and international sources) to explore potential differences in treatment. Think about who (person, place or company) is producing a particular message and for what reason? Are they reporting an important event? Selling an idea, ideology or product?

You should collect a MINIMUM of 2 to 3 entries per week, and write a short analysis for each entry. You will write a more formal analytic essay (to be submitted when you turn your journal in May 1st ).

You can gather news links, images, video clips, music clips, scans from textbooks - anything you deem relevant to the study of women, gender and sexuality.

+ + + Example of Informal Journal Entry + + +

My absolute favorite feminist blog is

One of the primary categories is Fun with Feminist Flickr. Read it HERE

Today's entry:

What do you see? :
Open the box and I'll open my legs OR Open your legs and I'll open the box

Continue reading "Sample Journal Entries" »

January 23, 2007

On Feminism(s) Assignment - Due 1/29

Category 2: On Feminism(s) - (3 points)
Post by noon on Monday 1/29
300-500 word post

Instructions: Cite at least one passage from any of the course readings (include author & pg#) to respond to one idea in the following prompt -

What did you know of feminism(s) before this course? Now, after some of the readings, how do you define it? What is signficant about feminism, feminist theory, feminist scholarship and/or feminist activism? (Meaning: why might we be spending a semester studying all of these feminist theories and "issues"?)


You may want to focus on a specific reading or passage, for example, you can respond to one of the following reading prompts:

hooks write about her personal relationship to feminism, the "academization of feminism", and calls for passionate politics. What do you think the role of the university and scholarly feminist thought and theory is? How do you see her vision of spreading feminism beyond the academy?


In Tidal Waves Evans also writes of her experience in the women's movement - her participation in feminist consciousness-raising groups and her decision to shape her life's work around women's history. How does her experience help define her feminism?


In "A Day Without Feminism" from Manifesta Baumgardner and Richards write:

Has feminism changed our lives? Was it necessary? After thirty years of feminism, the world we inhabit barely resembles the world we were born into. And there's still a lot left to do.

What do you think? What has the role(s) and form(s) of feminism(s) been? What is it now? What should it be?


What are some of the misconceptions about feminism(s)? Why the backlash? How do you respond to these critiques?


* Do not repeat exact response as those who posts before you. If someone has posted what you intended to say, build upon their thoughts, use additional examples to illustrate your point. Or, choose another piece of the prompt to respond to.

* It is recommended that you type your response in word, spellcheck and check your word count, and save it as a document file. Then, copy and paste your writing into a blog entry (warning: sometimes the web will freeze and lose what you type).

Continue reading "On Feminism(s) Assignment - Due 1/29" »

1 Scholarly Event & 1 Artistic/Activist Event (Due by 3/6, Due by 4/24):

Attend an event related to any of the class topics. This may be an on-campus lecture, talk, film, art gallery showing, rally, organizational meeting or performance sponsored by GWSS, another department, organization or an off-campus group.

You are encouraged to attend any of the GWSS Department Colloquia (certain Mondays, 3:30-5pm) or suggested events on the course blog under (“Attend this event!? category). If you question whether an event is acceptable, ask the instructor.

Reflect on the event with a short report (600 to 800 words for each), using key terms and concepts discussed in course materials in your analysis. Be sure to include the event title, date, sponsor, location, and details of who/what/where (and web link where applicable).

Post your write-up to the course blog (under category “Event Reports" in the appropriate sub-cateogory: scholarly event, artistic event or activist event). If there is a write-up you prefer not to post, you can hand in a hard copy by the due date.

One write-up is due by 3/6 and the other is due by 4/24.

January 16, 2007

1. "I Am..." Introductions

First Blog post: Creating community beyond the classroom (1 point)
Post under Category: 1. Introductions
Post by noon on Monday 1/22.

Don’t wait until the last minute! If you can’t access the course blog, email me!

Instructions: Post an “I am...? introduction
This could be a list of your “top 10 favorites?, a paragraph, a poem, an essay, or a list on our course blog. You could name facets of your identity, films, TV shows, books, songs, artists, interests, hobbies, political issues you think about, or any sort of details about you. Feel free to post links to the websites, photos or anything that let’s us know about who you are, what you are watching, reading, listening to, and are thinking about. If you have a personal blog, link us!