Posts Tagged ‘gender’

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Talking about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Comics

posted: 11.17.14 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Many campuses now have general education requirements that require students to take courses that incorporate sensitivity training designed to reduce incidents of racism or sexism on campus.  The problem with these courses is that they may often be too short in duration, too large in enrollment, or too superficial in content to effect real behavioral change, particularly among students imbued with false confidence that they live in a postracial society in which Obama is president, they don’t know any racists, and they can adopt completely color-blind attitudes. [read more]

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Do you have student pen pals in other countries?

posted: 11.13.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Some 18 months ago, I spent three weeks lecturing in Beijing. I didn’t want to lecture, but they—quietly and patiently and persistently—insisted. So I delivered ten lectures on rhetoric and writing, most of them to the faculty. But on one occasion, my hosts took me to the large undergraduate campus, and I had a chance to speak to students—an intimidatingly large group that day. I talked about the history of rhetoric as an art of action, and about the power of language in our lives. I knew only a few words of Mandarin, and so I was careful to speak slowly and enunciate my English words as carefully as I could, and I was grateful to the students for listening and for responding, delighted when question after question came my way. After the lecture, I reflected on the fact that while those in the audience were primarily male, the majority of the questions came from young women, a number of whom stayed after the lecture to talk. Indeed, I began to notice some of these young women in the lectures I was giving to faculty, which meant that they had taken a very long bus ride from their campus to attend. So I began looking out for them and eventually met with three who came most often. [read more]

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3 essays on rape and death threats against women in the age of #gamergate

posted: 10.21.14 by Nick Carbone

Online violence against women scares and worries me. As it morphs from virtual threat, which is bad enough and still violent even if not overtly physical, into offline threats that drive women from their homes, offices, and families and into hiding, the damage and danger has become palpable enough to make news. [read more]

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Teaching Arwa Aburawa’s “Veiled Threat”: Radical French Graffiti

posted: 8.13.14 by Barclay Barrios

I love Arwa Aburawa’s contribution to Emerging, “Veiled Threat: The Guerrilla Graffiti of Princess Hijab” (p. 27).  It’s wonderfully complex for an essay that’s relatively brief, touching on questions of religion, politics, commercialism, and art.  What I love most about it is the way the reader has to suss out whether or not Princess Hijab’s art is radical or conservative, as it has been read both ways.  [read more]

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Guys Dancing in Heels to Beyoncé

posted: 7.9.14 by Barclay Barrios

I have to admit.  I am totally crushing on Arnaud Boursain.

Boursain is part of a trio of dancers led by choreographer Yanis Marshall.  They’ve gone viral several times with their videos, which feature the French trio dancing complex routines to pop hits.  After their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, their latest video has become so popular that you need only go to YouTube’s site and type “guys”–“Guys Dancing in Heels to Beyoncé,” their video, immediately pops up. At the time of this writing, the video has surpassed 10.5 million views.

It strikes me that the video is a wonderfully complex artifact for teaching, too.  Put simply,What does it mean when guys dance in heels to Beyoncé? [read more]

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Girls Behaving Badly

posted: 6.30.11 by Jack Solomon

One of the most important concepts in teaching cultural semiotics is that of the gender code. Gender codes consist of those often unwritten rules that govern the conduct of males and females within a society, and they customarily unfold as a list of binary oppositions—for example, men should be aggressive and powerful/women should be passive and nurturing; men should work outside the home/women should stay at home with the children; and so on and so forth. It was through the work of feminist cultural analysts that the socially constructed foundations of such codes were revealed, challenging the common presentation of them as dictated by nature and biology. Feminists also pointed out the patriarchal privileging that is inscribed in the traditional gender codes as well.

But how one approaches gender codes can depend upon one’s own theoretical positions.  The “American” style of feminist analysis, for instance, takes an equalitarian approach, challenging not only the privileging within a patriarchal gender code but also the treatment of men and women as different. From such a perspective, women should have equal access to male-coded characteristics. The “French” style, as espoused by such theorists as Helene Cixous, Lucy Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva, on the other hand, celebrates rather than challenges gender difference and explores the characteristics that distinguish women from men. A Queer Theory approach to gender codes, for its part, deconstructs the entire structure, undermining any basis for making an unambiguous distinction between the categories of male and female. [read more]

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Categories: Popular Culture, Semiotics
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