WP3Media’s Construction of Gender: Argumentative Research Essay
"What if Prince Charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a health-care package and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank? I couldn't help but wonder... inside every confident, driven, single woman, is there a delicate, fragile princess just waiting to be saved?" – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
So far this semester, we have examined many texts that explore notions of gender, especially with regards to what is considered “masculine,” and what is considered “feminine.” We have also explored the ways the media constructs gender in relation to these, as well as how some media present challenges to the media’s dominant representation of gender.
Now, it’s your turn! For this essay, you will choose to investigate one example of media in-depth. You will first explore how this media forwards or counters particular notions of gender by looking at several examples of the media so that you can become more of an expert on that media. Examples include:
➢ An episode or a character from a television show
➢ A film
➢ A Web site (a collection of web pages within the site)
➢ A magazine (use a combination of ads and articles)
➢ A video game
➢ A Twitter Hashtag
Once you have chosen a particular media artifact, you will need to analyze it as a representation of social behavior in the real world. You will need to ask the following questions to start your process of inquiry:
➢ What message or messages about gender are being communicated in this media artifact?
➢ What purpose do these gendered messages serve in society?
Your goal for this paper is to answer these questions by relying on primary and secondary research.
Some questions of rhetorical context to consider:
➢When was the media created?
➢ Who is the target audience of this media? How can you tell? How might the media’s construction of gender tie to its audience?
➢ Is there text? (This can be copy, dialogue, etc.) How does the text help to reveal the media’s construction of gender?
Primary and secondary sources:
➢Some of your information will be based on your own analysis; some will come from research. Sources that you analyze are called primary sources; sources that offer analysis that you interpret are called secondary sources.
➢For example, your analysis of an episode of The Sopranos would be primary research. An article in which a scholar discusses representations of masculinity or femininity in television gangster seriers would be secondary research. Your research should be a combination of primary and secondary research.
➢The secondary research you find should engage your theory in some kind of conversation; that is, you want to go out and see what else has been written about your idea, and try to come up with a new angle that you can use in your revision of your media.