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The subject of this unit is the role of those mythologies which determine the meaning of being male or female in American culture. As always, your aim as a writer is to incorporate what the critics have been arguing into your own thinking, thereby to enter into a discussion already underway. In each of the chapters we have covered prior to this one, there is at least one essay which focuses on gender coding, so the reading you have already done offers many opportunities for you to bring additional ideas and arguments to bear on the writing you will do for this unit.
Write an essay in which, by recounting the views of at least two of the critics you have read, you seek to develop for yourself a more articulate grasp of the issues at stake in the way we determine and recognize gender. Implicit in this project is the widely-accepted conclusion that gender is largely if not entirely a social or cultural construct rather than a biologically determined fact. Nevertheless, the popular conception of gender differences as it is most frequently represented in the mass media and therefore as well in the everyday thinking and behavior of ordinary people, both women and men sees them as natural and inevitable consequences of differences of sex. Thus, if you look at almost any corporate-commercial representations of gender in the mass media, or at almost any ordinary behavior or thinking in which people express their awareness of gender, you are likely to find many signs to analyze and interpret in which gender and sex are identified and purposefully so. Thus you can ask what purposes or interests are served by the confusion of gender and sex. And you will have in hand an opportunity to apply some form of the cultural-constructionist view your reading has made you familiar with.

  • English -

    Keep in mind that no one here will do your assignment for you.

    What kind of assistance do you need?

  • english -

    what's a semiotic analysis? I've never heard of it and my teacher won't explain it. He says we have to use quotes from 2 articles also but when I put them in he yells and says to develop my own ideas. I don't get it.

  • English -

    What in the world is this class? It sounds like something in a masters or maybe doctoral program.

    I've never heard the term semiotics before, but I'm hoping the following will help. Here's a definition of "semiotics":


    (used with a sing. verb)
    The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication, and comprising semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics.

    Regarding the use of quotations, make sure you are not just sticking quotations in there and then not explaining each one in terms of your topic. When you use quotations, you might lead into it, but you MUST explain the significance of the quotation AFTER the quotation itself.
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