Choose one of the following questions and write an essay which demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the texts you evaluate. You are strongly encouraged to use your textbooks and class notes when writing your essay, and should feel free to quote from these sources whenever you feel it is necessary. If you are writing about one of the films we've viewed so far, then you are strongly encouraged to watch it one more time. All of the films we've viewed in this class are available at most local video rental establishments as well as through Netflix.
Your essay must be at least 1200 words in length. Failure to meet this length requirement will cost you a letter grade on this assignment. All paraphrased or directly quoted material must be both parenthetically cited and documented in a works cited page in MLA style (and you can use the MLA Citation Machine to make this documentation) Failing to document your sources properly will cost you a letter grade on this assignment.
Also, proofread your work carefully before submitting it since excessive errors in grammar and spelling (including the spelling of an author's name) will lower your grade on this assignment.
Finally, remember to name your file in the following way to ensure that it doesn't get lost among several generically named files: yourlastname_midterm (i.e. jones_midterm or smith_midterm)..
Your completed midterm exam is due in my computer as an attachment file by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4th. Work submitted after this date will be docked by one letter grade for each day it is late.
1. Using Allan Johnson's essay "Patriarchy, the System: An It, Not a He, a Them, or an Us," reveal the workings of patriarchy in one of the following: Real Women Have Curves, Self-Made Man, The Magdalene Sisters, or Fight Club. Your essay should include specific examples from whatever work you choose to analyze.
2. In "Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities," Michael A. Mesner states that while "young boys may initially find that sports give them the opportunity to experience 'some kind of closeness' with others,. . . the structure of sports and athletic careers often undermines the possibility of boys learning to transcend their fears of intimacy, this becoming able to develop truly close and intimate relationships with others." Examine the role that Fight Club plays in the lives of the men who participate. In what ways does Fight Club also permit its participants to experience some sort of closeness with others? And in what ways does Fight Club ultimately undermine its participants learning to transcend their fears of intimacy in order to develop truly close, intimate relationships with others? Your response should cite specific evidence from the film, as well as demonstrate an understanding of Mesner's essay
3. In "Global Woman," Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild conclude that increasingly, "as affluent and middle-class families in the First World come to depend on migrants from poorer regions to provide child care, homemaking and sexual services, a global relationship arises that in some ways mirrors the traditional relationship between the sexes. The First World takes on a role like that of the old-fashioned male in the family--pampered, entitled, unable to cook, clean or find his socks. Poor countries take on a role like that of the traditional woman within the family--patent, nurturing, and self-denying." Explain how this phenomenon is happening in the situations described by Joy M. Zarembka and Cynthia Enloe in "America's Dirty Work: Migrant Maids and Modern-Day Slavery" and "The Globetrotting Sneaker."
4. In "The Social Construction of Gender," Judith Lorber concludes that "gendered people emerge not from physiology or sexual orientations but from the exigencies of the social order, mostly from the need for a reliable division of the work of food production and the social (not physical) reproduction of new members." This gendered order is so important to the orderly running of society that in the face of rebellion is is upheld by "political power, control of scare resources, and if necessary, violence." Examine either Real Women Have Curves or The Magdalene Sisters and explain how this gendered order is upheld and for what purpose. If you opt to write about The Magdalene Sister, then discuss how the Magdalene Sisterhood Asylum in The Magdalene Sisters is ultimately an institution devoted to the upholding of this gendered order. Your analysis of the Magdalene Sisterhood Asylum should particularly examine why Crispina, Rose, Margaret and Bernadette have ended up there. How have each of them challenged the gendered order in a way that their culture views as sufficiently threatening to merit their incarceration in this institution? And what does the Magdalene Sisterhood Asylum do to its inmates in order to uphold this gendered order? If you choose to write about Real Women Have Curves, then examine Carmen's objection to Ana's leaving home. If it can be said that Carmen is the voice of the family as institution (rather than just an individual voice in the midst of many competing opinions), then how does this institution work to uphold the gendered order? What other cultural institutions such as the Church and popular culture help the family uphold this gendered order? And why do the Anglo-American cultural institutions seem to be less concerned with upholding this order (though of course, they are concerned with upholding this order as well)?
5. In "Masculinity as Homophobia," Michael S. Kimmel says that "the reigning definition of masculinity is a defensive effort to prevent being emasculated" and "what we call masculinity is often a hedge against being revealed as a fraud, an exaggerated set of activities that keep others from seeing through us, and a frenzied effort to keep at bay those fears within ourselves." Apply Kimmel's theories about masculinity to either Self-Made Man or Fight Club. Disguised as Ned, what does Norah Vincent learn about men that confirms Kimmel's theory of masculinity. Or examine how Fight Club strengthens its members security in their own sense of masculinity by giving them a hedge against being revealed as a fraud.
6. In "Bloodmothers, Othermothers, and Women-Centered Networks," Patricia Hill Collins describes how extended kinship networks are used to augment the care given to children by their biological parents, or in some instances, even substitute for it. Re-read Jeanne Flavin's essay "Contemporary Challenges to Black Women's Reproductive Rights" and explain how the social welfare and criminal justice systems in the United States undermine the extended kinship networks that Collins describes.