Purpose: Understanding the Basic Terms and Theories of Gender


In this part of the project, you will demonstrate that you understand the basic concepts of the sociological study of gender and the social construction of gender. You will turn in a three-page (750-1000 words) paper discussing your gendered story; in other words, describe how you currently “do gender” every day, and explain how this came to be.


Part One, “My Gendered Story,” should have two main sections of about equal length:


Section 1 (about 1.5 pages (400-500 words)):


Begin with who you are now, how you “do gender” from morning until bedtime (and maybe even throughout the night if you have small children), and how you exist as a gendered being in society.

Provide detailed examples of your gendered routine. Consider what you wear, the products you use, how you interact with friends, family members, and coworkers, and so forth. Describe how you interact with different people and institutions in society as a gendered being and how the institutions themselves are gendered.

Use what you have learned in the course materials about different institutions in society, such as the media, the workplace, the family, medicine, religion, the criminal justice system, the educational system, the government, laws, and politics. Explain how gender informs the largest and the smallest decisions in your everyday life (your lifestyle, relationships, career, etc.). You do not need to cover all of these categories; they are listed here as an aid to thinking about how you perform gender throughout your daily life.

For full credit, include at least three (3) examples as described above.

Define gender, gender role, gendered institution, doing gender, and the social construction of gender as part of your paper. These definitions can appear in a separate paragraph, or each term can be defined when you first use it in the paper.

Section 2 (about 1.5 pages (400-500 words)):


Once you have discussed who you are now, explain how you got here.

How were you socialized into the particular gendered being that you are now? Where did you learn your gender? What institutions and social groups shaped who you are today?

Be very specific and provide examples for each institution and social group (e.g., My mother always dressed me in pink and taught me to cook and clean; At religious school I was told/expected to …; My role in the family was. . ., My teachers told me. . ., I was encouraged to participate in. . ., My father taught me to shave, etc.).

For full credit, include at least three (3) examples from three different institutions as described above.

The discussion in Section 2 should clearly relate to the examples of how you “do gender” presented in Section 1. For example, if you talk about wearing makeup or a tie in Section 1, you could discuss how you learned to do so and to feel comfortable with it in Section 2.

Refer to the learning resources directly as needed in this section (at least twice) to support your claims about gender and/or to connect your personal experience to the larger context of sociological scholarship.

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