Monday, May 2, 2011


THIS ASSIGNMENT IS DUE THURSDAY AT NOON. Many apologies for not posting on Friday, thus the extra time. You submit your assignment by posting it as a comment below with your name (as it appears on the roll) on it.
1. Watch these clips the British teen drama Skins (it's been broken into parts):
Skins 1.1
Skins 1.2
Skins 1.3
Skins 1.4
Skins 1.5
*pay special attention to the differing roles of males and females on the show*
2. Write a 2-3 paragraph essay addressing ONE of the following topics. If you write a full 5-7 paragraph essay, you will be given a half letter grade boost. Make sure you refer specifically to scenes from the episode.
-On Skins, what do the concerns of the male characters seem to be? What are the consequences for not living up to gender expectations?
-How are females portrayed on the show? Are all female characters expected to behave the same way or are there different expectations for different kinds of women?
-How do visual components of Skins (how characters look, what the camera focuses on, scenery, etc) contribute to your understanding of the gender relationships on the show?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

EXTRA CREDIT: Do Pink Fingernails Make You Gay/Transgender?

This ad appeared in the most recent J Crew catalog
This advertisement shows a mother painting her son's toenails pink. It stirred up a lot of controversy in the media. Read this article about it:
What do you think about this advertisement? Do you think it could do damage to a growing child's sense of gender roles? Are people making a big deal out of nothing? What does the controversy surrounding this advertisement say about us as a culture? For extra credit in the form of a half a letter grade boost to your paper on SU, write THREE WELL-FORMED paragraphs discussing this issue. DUE MONDAY by NOON.

Toys & Gender

This word cloud was made from listening to tv commercials for boy toys and girl toys. Can you guess which word cloud goes with which gender? Bet you can. The size of the word indicates how frequently it was used. The bigger the word, the more often it was used.
We often think that by buying boy toys for boys and girl toys for girls that we are just helping them "become normal" in a social sense. Watch this video about what is normal in advertising for children.

What do you think about the idea that there should be no advertising directed at children? Do you think that gendered toys and advertising change children's ideas about what is possible for them professionally? Check out this article about the effect of gendered toys on children's education:
Playing Fair?
Do you think it's possible that the lack of technology, science, and building-based toys effects how girls perform in school? Do you think that boy's toys limit their potential? What would happen if the messages sent to boys and girls via toys and advertising were mixed up? Find out by playing this game:
Gendered Advertising Remixer
What is your intuitive response to mixing up these advertisements? Do you find them ridiculous or enlightening?
As a comment below, write TWO paragraphs about what you think about gendered toys. This comment is DUE at the start time of your next class with me. Please make sure to include your name as it appears on the roll.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


There's a tree down in my hood, and no power. No class today. Review your drafts and presentations.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

MLA Citation

As discussed in class, you will need to know how to use MLA citation. Not just for this class or paper, but generally, for all English papers.
Here is a handbook:
1. Write the citation format for College, The Easy Way as you would cite it in a bibliography.
2. Write the citation format for In Praise of the F Word as you would cite it in a bibliography.
3. Use a quote from either article in a sentence, and use MLA in-text citation format.
YOUR COLLEGE ATTITUDES RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT, whether you are writing a paper or doing a group presentation, is due this week. If you are writing a paper, you must bring your rough draft on Monday/Tuesday, groups you will be practicing. Papers and final projects are due Wednesday/Thursday. There will be no make ups for group presentations. None. No exceptions. If your group tells me that you didn't pull your weight, you will receive an automatic F.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

College: The Easy Way

Read this article in the New York Times:
Respond in one paragraph as a comment. Be prepared to discuss this in class.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Race Paper Topic Options

You have a five paragraph essay due next week. Here are your topic options:

1. Describe a scene in the movie Crash. Does it bring a particular social problem or issue to mind? Argue whether it does or does not do a good job of highlighting this issue and why.
2. Discuss the evolution of a character from the movie Crash. How do we see them change from the beginning of the film to the end? Is their personal change meant to be symbolic of a change that would/should/could happen in society?
3. Compare the portrayal of race in King of the Hill and The Boondocks. Is the subject of race more obvious in one than the other? Does one of them rely more heavily on racial stereotyping to make points and jokes? What is the effect of this difference on the audience?
4. Discuss racial stereotyping in either King of the Hill or The Boondocks. How/when is it used? Does the show use racial stereotypes in order to challenge them? Or does it use racial stereotypes as a convenient way to make a point?
5. Discuss an experience that you have had that challenged your personal ideas about race or racial stereotypes. Warning: Although this option is expository, it must still have an argument and be presented in a well-constructed five paragraph format. Because this is the most flexible topic, I will also be grading it the most critically.
Paper Format
Your paper must be typed in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. It must be double-spaced, except the header, which should be single-spaced on the left-hand side of the paper and contain: your name, the date, your course and section number, and my name. You should have a title for your paper and it should be centered. Your last name and the page number should be in the upper right hand corner of each page. This is called MLA format and you can google it if you need to. It looks like this:
Writing a Five Paragraph Essay
If you aren't completely comfortable with your understanding of what a five paragraph essay is, you should check out these links: