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The Construction of Gender and Sexuality in Society

Gender differences and hierarchies are commonly treated as “natural” in American society. However, as sociologists have demonstrated, gender is socially rather than biologically constructed. This week you’ll be critically examining the construction of gender and sexuality in society, and the impacts this has on all of us. In a minimum of two single-spaced pages, please respond to the following questions: First, what are typical features of masculinity and femininity in American society (be sure to draw on the films The Mask You Live In and “The Dangerous Way Ads See Women” here to illustrate your points)? How do these features inform dominant expectations and norms around sexuality? Second, how are gender and sexuality (and the assumptions and norms that inform them) socially constructed through institutions, such as the family, media, education, work, and government? Third, describe and demonstrate how is gender and sexuality are stratified in society. What are some of the most significant consequences or impacts of these social hierarchies? Finally, how have these social constructions of gender and sexuality shaped your own experiences in society? In your analysis, be sure to engage with, provide specific examples from, and cite** all of the assigned materials from this week (this includes lectures, readings, videos, podcasts, etc.) to illustrate your points. Remember, these writing assignments are an opportunity for you to: Demonstrate you understand the sociological concepts and perspectives examined this week; Demonstrate an ability to synthesize information from multiple sources to make your claims; and, Demonstrate an ability to use empirical evidence (specific examples) to support your claims. Use the grading criteria to guide you as you write, and as always, please feel free to attend the optional discussion sections and/or sign up for office hours to get additional assistance. ** Please use the ASA Citation Style handout to cite your sources as you write (available in the “Guidelines and Grading Criteria for Writing Assignments” tab in the “Start Here” module). See page 4 of the handout for examples on in-text citations. You are not required to submit a bibliography, unless you cite material from outside sources. Please note, though, that any outside sources should be used sparingly; your analysis should focus primarily on the assigned materials.

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