* Six to Eight pages typed, double-spaced (remember that six full pages BEFORE the Works Cited page is the bare minimum). * Six Sources MINIMUM (Our textbook source counts as one and five additional are needed). *There must be a Works Cited page and MLA format used proficiently throughout. *Your topic will be about an American cultural myth related to gender. The aim will be to deconstruct the myth chosen through research.
Remember to think about the “So what?” of writing this paper. There should be a question that you want to answer by developing a position through ample research and analysis. There should be conflict, controversy, or at least two sides to this argument.
*Since this is a research paper, you need to be able to incorporate your own ideas about your selected issue with support, examples, statistics, and facts from OUR TEXTBOOK (Rereading America) and at least five other sources, making at total of SIX OUTSIDE SOURCES MINIMUM. ONLY REPUTABLE WEBSITE SOURCES—all sources should be from literary journals, articles, essays, or books (all of which can be online).
* Only use quotes that directly support your paper. Remember: each quote should equal ONE to THREE additional sentences of analysis and explanation.
I encourage you to create your own research prompt regarding gender, based on your interests and desire to investigate particular issues. Feel free to use one of these writing prompts, a variation of one of these prompts, or create your own pertaining to one of the major themes or topics in our anthology. The major topic requirement is that it is tied to a gender myth and must include at least one reading from our textbook in addition to at least FIVE additional sources. Looking at gender roles: how could advertising women and girls in a subjective and/or over-sexualized way be dangerous in society as a whole? (look at Kilbourne for support). As Kilbourne argues, in what ways can this be considered “cultural abuse”? Think about how she makes connections between advertising images and social problems like sexual violence, harassment, and addiction. In your analysis, you can study current popular magazines and advertisements as well as work with research and statistics dealing with persuasive effects of advertising.
How do myths of gender shape our assumptions about who we are and how we ought to be? Consider Kimmel, Kincaid, Devor, and others from our textbook. Then, research American cultural views on gender and relate it to other cultural perceptions. How much of gender is biological versus cultural? Consider how careful, open-minded re-reading of gender in cultural context can challenge our deeply held assumptions about the place of men and women in our society.
What major factors contribute to both boys and/or girls feeling pressured to fit into specific gender roles, appearances, and characteristics? What are the major impacts of these pressures? Give specific examples from the text, outside research, observations, and experiences. For example, think about the difficulties that boys face in Michael Kimmel’s “Bros Before Hos” related specifically to gender pressures. Consider using support from these pieces as well as “Girl,” by Jamaica Kincaid and “From Fly Girls to Bitches and Hos,” by Joan Morgan.
You should begin by making connections with Diana Kendall’s “Framing Class, Vicarious Living, and Conspicuous Consumption,” and Jean Kilbourne’s “Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt;” then explore the accounts read throughout the “True Women and Real Men” chapter as well as additional research, presentation clips, observations, and personal experience. What are common media portrayals of ideal appearance and/or gender roles marketed especially to teens and young adults, and what impacts do the media have on gender identity?
Possible Methods of Organization:
*Your background information may take at least a paragraph or two
*Your thesis and plan of development may take up a paragraph on its own—it generally will be longer than a sentence in a research paper and should contain three parts: the topic with position, the plan of development, and the commentary (the “so what”) about the position—this last sentence usually explains to the readers why they should care about the issue at hand and the list of reasons, effects, or elements. *Generally, there is development of the problem, the effects of that problem, and then solution. *Other times, there is development through the history of the situation, the new social/cultural norms or beliefs, and then the outcomes of this progress. *The solution usually contains hypotheticals, which is really only appropriate at the end of the essay, to give hope. Hypotheticals should not be the basis of the essay. The basis is research, data, facts, stories, and other forms of concrete support.
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