1. After having read the chapters assigned for this week, think about the meanings of ‘gender’ and ‘sex.’ How do definitions guide (or even govern) our perception of something/someone? What would be the effect on society if there were more than two genders? In your view, is it possible to change definitions of people and groups of people? How?
2. This week’s discussion is based on the fictional story “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story.” This reading is available in your week 2 unit.
What do you think about the story? What are the societal structures that influence X’s gender development? Have these same structures played a role in your own gender development? Do you think X’s experience will one day become reality for future generations? What are the potentially positive and negative effects of such a neutral upbringing?
3. Before discussing this week’s topic, you need to familiarize yourself with some women’s and men’s movements. This will allow you to engage in a better-informed discussion. Please, check out these web sites and pay attention to the values, issues, and beliefs they promote.
NAOMI WOLF ON THIRD WAVE FEMINISM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCQI-ougLsg (opens in a new window)
ECOFEMINISM http://eve.enviroweb.org or http://www.ecofem.org
GUERILLA GIRLS http://www.guerrillagirls.com
FREE MEN http://www.ncfm.org
PROMISE KEEPERS http://www.promisekeepers.org
Which men’s movement do you find most consistent with your own values? Do you think men should work to restore traditional male prerogatives and social power, become more sensitive themselves, or change society? Which women’s movement do I agree with (if any)?
To what extent do you think we should work to ensure that women have equal rights and opportunities within existing systems (liberal feminism) or should work to change the systems to incorporate traditionally feminine values and concerns (cultural feminism)?
4. Have you observed instances of classifying women or men by stereotypes identified in this chapter on organizational communication? How are these stereotypes imposed on workers? How might workers resist being stereotyped?
Now that you understand distinctions among equal opportunity laws, affirmative action, goals, quotas, and diversity training, how do you evaluate each?
Look forward to your comments!
5. Watch children’s programming on Saturday morning. Are male characters more prominent than female characters? What differences, if any, do you see in the activities and appearances of male and female characters?
6. Is bombing abortion clinics and killing medical professionals who provide abortion reproductive violence? If bombings and threats of them discourage medical professionals form performing abortion or if fear of harm discourages women from going to clinics, is that interference with their right to choose whether, when and with whom to reproduce?
7. Watch prime-time coverage of sports on ESPN or another channel. Make a record of how much time is devoted to women’s and men’s sports and how often reporters comment on male and female athletes’ dress and appearance. Are the patterns you identify consistent with those discussed in this chapter?
8. Reflect on the article posted in this week’s folder. How have same-sex families been portrayed in the media? Do you agree with the arguments presented in this study? Why or why not?