Homework Due Wednesday, April 15th

In preparation for a more in-depth discussion about globalization and low-wage labor overseas (Cynthia Enloe), visit the following site and answer the questions to see how many slaves work for you around the world.

Slavery Footprint

Write up a lecture card – question, comment, quote – about the experience, and be sure to include your number! We’ll begin class with these on Wednesday.

Notable Current Events for Your Journal

As you’re working on your Current Events journals, I wanted to share a couple of recent articles, which you may or may not have already stumbled on yourselves. These are certainly timely and might be of interest to several of you.

Number 1: The Winter Olympics in Sochi

“Why the Olympics are a Lot Like ‘The Hunger Games'”

Number 2: Healthcare and the LGBTQ Community

Next week, we’ll start talking about sexuality and sexual identity, as well as sex education, so this article seems rather timely: “Idaho Bill Would Allow Doctors or Cops to Refuse Service to LGBT People on Religious Grounds.”

Number 3: The Purdue Women’s Archive

For those of you who really enjoyed your trip to the archive, here’s an excuse to go back: you can use one of your Current Events Journal entries to discuss something you look at in the Women’s Archive. Remember that you need to email an archivist, like Stephanie, ahead of time so they can retrieve the materials for you. Click here to view what’s in the archive before you request material.

Final Exam Questions

Directions: Type and double-space all answers to the following questions. Proofread all your work before handing it in. Your completed exam is due to me on Thursday, December 12th, between 10:30am and 12:30pm. Bring completed exams to my office in BRNG 6161.  ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Directions: Address ten of the following twelve short answer essay questions. Be sure to address all the parts of each question. Aim for one solid paragraph per question. Worth 10 points each.

 1. Briefly describe the ideology behind purity balls. How does tying virginity to the idea of women’s purity harm women, especially young women and survivors of sexual assault?

 2. What is privilege? Looking back at the “Privilege Checklist” handout from class, choose one from the list that you marked. Discuss how this particular privilege has given you some invisible advantages in your life. Now that you’re aware of this privilege, how could you harness it to help combat oppression or encourage change?

 3. According to historian, Robin D. Kelley, [Race] is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look.” When examining racial representations in America, what meanings do we assign to dark-complected individuals? What meanings do we assign to light-complected individuals? Provide relevant examples from the media to support your argument.

 4. Name two reasons why Black women have sometimes been hesitant to identify with the feminist movement in America. According to writers like hooks and Ware, why is it important that Black women address sexism as well as racism in their communities?

 5. Why is the pro-choice movement’s rhetoric of “choice” an inadequate way to frame our debates about abortion? On the other hand, why are the pro-life movement’s attempts to criminalize abortion also ineffective?

 6. Describe the image of ideal female beauty created and disseminated by western advertisers. Briefly describe two serious, real-life consequences for women that result from the repeated sexualization and objectification of women’s bodies in such advertising images.

 7. According to Adair, how are the bodies of poor women and children often “marked” in America? As we “read” these marked bodies, what assumptions do we make about people living in poverty?

 8. How do intersections of class and race affect how we “read” the efforts of different mothers to secure a good education for their children? Use examples from class to support your analysis.

 9. Briefly describe the “New Domesticity” and who participates in this movement. Why have some contemporary feminists embraced this trend? Why have others been critical of it?

 10. According to Cynthia Enloe, give two reasons why “feminine” labor is so often synonymous with cheap labor in the global marketplace. If women are so often exploited as workers, then why have labor unions traditionally been more invested in heavy industry versus light industry?

11. Choose one scene from the 1954 film Salt of the Earth. First, analyze how intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, and class shape interactions among the characters in the scene. Second, describe how a character (or group of characters) in the scene attempts to shift the power dynamic at work in these interactions.

 12. How does Esperanza’s transformation in Salt of the Earth epitomize the struggle to move from false consciousness to revolutionary consciousness? What obstacles or anxieties threaten to prevent her developing a more revolutionary consciousness? What encourages her on her path toward revolutionary consciousness?


Please find the questions for your midterm exam below. When typing your responses, be sure to include the question.

Directions: Type and double-space all answers to the following questions. Proofread all your work before handing it in. Your completed exam is due in class on Monday, Sept. 30th.  ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

PART I. Definition of Terms and Concepts. Address all of the following short answer questions (keep answers to about 3 to 5 sentences each). Worth 2 points each (total: 20 points in this section).

  1.  What is patriarchy? Why are feminists committed to challenging patriarchy as our “default system” of social organization?
  2. What is an “essentialist argument”? (Hint: first wave feminists often grounded their arguments in essentialist ideas.)
  3. What does Tax mean by “false consciousness”? What do we need to move from false consciousness to a more “revolutionary consciousness”?
  4. What is “internalized oppression”? Give one example we might observe of how women have internalized their own oppression.
  5. What is “gaslighting” and how is it connected to the idea that women are “overly emotional”?
  6. Freeman states that there is a long legal history of “infantalizing” women. What does this mean? Give one example of a law – either historical or contemporary – that infantalizes women as citizens.
  7. What does Adrienne Rich mean by “compulsory heterosexuality”?
  8. What is rape culture?
  9. What do we mean by “intimate partner abuse”? Other than physical abuse (e.g., beating, strangling, sexual abuse, etc.), name one other tactic that an abusive partner might use to control his or her significant other.
  10. What do we mean by “respectability politics”?

 PART II.Analysis and Reflection (Short Answer Essay). Choose 8 of the following short answer essay questions to address (aim for one good paragraph each). Write in complete sentences and provide detailed answers. Worth 10 points each (total: 80 points in this section).

  1.  Briefly compare and contrast first wave and second wave feminist movement in the United States, including: a) some of the major injustices that each wave sought to address; and b) one major challenge or disagreement that feminists faced within each wave.
  2. Lorber, Fausto-Sterling, and Chase all argue in their writing that both gender and sex are socially constructed, rather than natural, categories. Briefly define both terms (i.e., gender and sex). How are these categories socially constructed? Give relevant examples from your own experience.
  3. In the U.S., what are essential characteristics of femininity? What are essential characteristics of masculinity? How do these two lists of gender-related characteristics relate to one another (i.e., how does the construction of masculinity depend on the construction of femininity)?
  4. What purpose(s) do the words fag and faggot serve when used among young men in Pascoe’s sociological study? How does race affect which behaviors will get a boy called a fag by his friends?
  5. How does pornography contribute to and/or reinforce both rape culture and compulsory heterosexuality? What other abuses (physical and/or psychological) does such a culture condition women to accept as normal?
  6. Why is it, or why has it been, difficult for women to claim an express anger? How can claiming and expressing anger be an important of practicing an “ethic of love,” as described by bell hooks?
  7. Why are “barsexual” behavior among young women and the porn industry’s frequent portrayal of women engaging in lesbian sex acts so problematic when we examine them through a lesbian feminist lens?
  8. In attempting to prevent sexual assault, educators, organizations, and others have often targeted women, focusing on teaching women how to police their own behavior (e.g., don’t go out alone, don’t dress too provocatively). Why have many feminists criticized this approach? What might be a more effective approach and why?
  9. According to historian Nancy Cott, how did Protestant, middle-class white women first gain greater moral equality with men in their New England communities? In contrast, how do race and class affect how we judge the sexual desires and behaviors of women of color, and working class and immigrant women?
  10. In “When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men…,” what does Goldstein mean when she writes that “[e]ven when gender roles change, sexism has a remarkable ability to adapt”? How does “historical amnesia” enable this adaptive process?

Homework: Two Short Surveys for Our Guest Speakers

The guest speakers who come to out class take time out of their busy schedules to visit us and bring their unique experiences and knowledge to our discussions. Please take a few minutes to help them out. After you’ve taken each short survey, print the last page – write your name is on it – and turn it in by the due dates below. You will receive 5 participation points for proof of each survey that you hand in.

Survey No. 1:

Provide feedback to Lowell Kane and the other speakers of our sexualities panel (due Monday, 9/23).

Survey No. 2:

Marie Kelleman, the Outreach Coordinator from our local YWCA, will be visiting our class soon as well. Take the pre-survey on Intimate Partner Abuse (due date Friday, 9/20).

Tying it All Together: “Salt of the Earth” (1954)

Salt of the Earth (1954) is based on the real-life 1951 strike that Mexican-American mine workers in Grant County, New Mexico held against Empire Zinc (called “Delaware Zinc” in the film), the company that owned the mine where they worked. The filmmakers cast many real local miners and their families (only five in the cast were professional actors) who had been involved in the actual strike to cast the film. The miners were striking for fair wages (i.e., equal to those of their fellow Anglo, or white, workers) and better health and safety.

Filmed in the heart of the Red Scare and the McCarthy Era, the film was denounced by the United States House of Representatives for its Communist sympathies, and the FBI investigated the film’s financing. The American Legion called for a nation-wide boycott of the film: film-processing labs were told not to work on it and unionized projectionists were instructed not to show it. After its opening night in New York City, all but 12 theaters in the country refused to screen it. During filming, anti-Communist vigilantes fired rifle shots at the set and Rosaura Revueltas was deported to Mexico in an attempt to disrupt filming. Many years later, the film found a new life and an appreciative audience in the 1960s and gradually reached wider viewership through screenings held at union halls, women’s centers, and film schools. It is still often shown today.

Homework: Watch the film for Monday’s class and consider the discussion questions on your handout.