Gender in the News

 

You will be required to find a recent news story (within the last year) that touches on an issue relevant to the broad theme of

gender. You are encouraged to look for news stories that are more local (Ontario/Canada/North America), though you may choose to do

something less local if you find a compelling story.
Requirements:
– 4-5 pages not including separate works cited page (12 pt. Times New Roman or similar font; double spaced; no cover page; no sub-

headings; MLA format)
– Include a brief summary/discussion of the main issue in the news piece
– In your analysis, indicate how this issue connects to the themes and readings in the course, and critically evaluate how the

piece talks about the gender issues
– Reference at least two (2) readings from the course text to support your analysis
– In your evaluation, consider the tone, argument, style, intended audience and content of the article and then formulate a thesis

that is supported by evidence from your analysis

Note from Student: It is preferable that you find a news article within Canada related to some form of women’s issue, and prove in

your thesis that it is a prevalent problem which actively affects women in society (ex. poverty, wage gap, etc). I will attach my

syallabus so that you can see what topics have been discussed throughout the semester, and hopefully tie some of them into the

essay.

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course builds off basic concepts that inform gender and women’s studies in order to consider gender, sex, and bodies in

relation to contemporary challenges facing our world, both in North America and globally. Throughout the course we will examine the

way gender impacts experiences of violence, sexuality, health, poverty, and globalization, and the way social ideas about gender

are reflected in the media and popular culture. By exploring diverse women’s experiences and gender relations, this course aims to

help students evaluate multiple pathways toward gender and economic justice for everyone.
COURSE PRE-REQUISITES
While there is no pre-requisite for this course, previous experience in an introductory women and gender studies course (like WMST

1001H) will benefit students.
REQUIRED TEXTS
• Hobbs, Margaret and Carla Rice, eds. Gender and Women’s Studies in Canada: Critical Terrain. Toronto: Women’s

Press/Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2013.
• Any additional readings will either be posted on Blackboard or will be available via Trent Library’s e-resources
BLACKBOARD
In this course Blackboard will be used to share supplementary reading materials and will also contain details for course

assignments. I will create an online forum that you are encouraged to use to share any interesting news articles or other

interesting materials you come across.
COURSE FORMAT
This course is organized as a combination of lecture and seminar. The first portion of the class will consist of a lecture, and the

second part of the class will be used as a seminar. This will generally be a 2hr/1hr split, but may change from time-to-time
Type Day Time
Location
Lecture/Seminar Tuesday 2:10pm-5:00pm Room # 103

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
This course has been developed to address several learning outcomes. By the end of the course a successful student should:
1. From an interdisciplinary perspective, understand some of the key issues, themes, and debates in Gender and Women’s

Studies.
2. Identify ways that power relations marked by race, gender and class are produced and reproduced through institutions,

social relations, values, and norms; appreciate individual and collective forms of resistance to these ideas and the

social/economic inequalities they cause.
3. Distinguish between conceptions of race, gender, and class understood as “natural” facts vs. those understood as products

of social location and embedded in particular historical and cultural contexts.
4. Identify and critically discuss the ways in which gender is represented in popular culture and the media, and how

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alternative forms of representation contest dominant stereotypes.
5. Develop academic skills as critical thinkers and writers, using multiple approaches to the study of gender.

COURSE EVALUATION
** Note: 25 % of your grade will be made available to you before March 9, which is the last day to drop Winter term courses without

penalty.
Type of Assignment
Weight Due Date
Online Discussion Posts x 4
20% Various; 2 due by March 6
Midterm Test
25% February 27 (in class)
Major Essay:
Gender in the News
25% March 27
Final Exam
30% TBA – During April Exam Period

 

GENERAL ASSIGMMENT GUIDELINES
All written assignments should be double spaced, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins. Assignments will be evaluated according to both

your argumentation and style (includes spelling, grammar, and sentence structure). Format should be MLA with no title page (and

sub-headings in your essay are not necessary). Please refer to a MLA style guide for more details on citations and general format:

http://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/documentation/mla.php
ASSIGNMENT DETAILS
Online Discussion Posts
The online discussion forum will be an opportunity for students to share in the co-creation of knowledge. Students are encouraged

to engage with each other and comment on each other’s posts.
Each week will have a specific topic you must address, and the required format for your responses may change from week to week.

Weekly topics will only be available for 5 days each; new entries will be opened every Thursday at 10am, and will be available

until the following Tuesday at 12pm.
For example: the first entry will be posted on January 11 at 10:00am and then will be closed on January 16 at 12:00pm. If you are

unable to post an entry by the deadline, then choose another week.
** Extensions will not be granted for these online submissions, so please plan accordingly **
Requirements:
• Each student must submit 4 entries out of a total of 10 options.
• 2/4 entries must be submitted by March 6.
• Posts will be 250-300 words long, so please ensure you are clear and concise in your analysis.
• You will be graded on how well you engage with the course readings. In other words, your response should indicate that you

have read all the readings for the week.
• The quality and thoughtfulness of your contributions will also influence your evaluation for this assignment.
Midterm Test
Details will be discussed in class.
Essay – Gender in the News
You will be required to find a recent news story (within the last year) that touches on an issue relevant to the broad theme of

gender. You are encouraged to look for news stories that are more local (Ontario/Canada/North America), though you may choose to do

something less local if you find a compelling story.
Requirements:
• 4-5 pages not including separate works cited page (12 pt. Times New Roman or similar font; double spaced; no cover page; no

sub-headings; MLA format)
• Include a brief summary/discussion of the main issue in the news piece
• In your analysis, indicate how this issue connects to the themes and readings in the course, and critically evaluate how

the piece talks about the gender issues
• Reference at least two (2) readings from the course text to support your analysis
• In your evaluation, consider the tone, argument, style, intended audience and content of the article and then formulate a

thesis that is supported by evidence from your analysis

 

WEEK-BY-WEEK SCHEDULE
* Note: Any changes to the syllabus will be made known in advance, and will be posted on Blackboard.
Week 1 – Introduction to the Course (January 9)
• Introduction to the course content, review of syllabus, assignments, and course expectations: Why are we here? What do we

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hope to learn?
• We will review some key concepts that will be useful for students throughout the course
Film in Class: Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada (2012)

 

Week 2 – Gender and Representation (January 16)
Questions to consider: Why does representation matter? How does the portrayal of women in the media relate to the position they

hold in society? How do the movies we watch as children shape the way we view our selves and the world in which we live?
Required Readings
• SutJhally, “Image-Based Culture: Advertising in Popular Culture” (TEXT pp. 227-35)
• Supplement 19: “Fun Facts About Sexualization and Marketing to Girls” (TEXT pp. 325-26)
• Supplement 20: “Disney’s Version of Girlhood” (TEXT pp. 336-37)
• Supplement 21: “Questions for Critical Viewing” (TEXT pp. 338)
Film in class: Miss Representation (2011)

 

Week 3 – Challenging Normativities: Whose Beauty? (January 23)
Questions to consider: What impacts do ideas about race, gender, and able-bodies have on the way we view beauty? How are ideas

about masculinity and femininity shaped by these biases? Who gets to decide what is “beautiful”? Is beauty important? Why/why not?
Required Readings:
• Carla Rice, “Exacting Beauty: Exploring Women’s Body Projects and Problems in the 21st Centuty” (TEXT pp. 390-410)
• Jennifer L. Pozner, “Ghetto Bitches, China Dolls, and Cha-Cha Divas: Race, Beauty, and the Tyranny of Tyra Banks” (TEXT pp.

339-48)
• Kathleen LeBesco, “Fat and Fabulous: Resisting Constructions of Female Body Ideals” (TEXT pp. 411-13)
Film in class: The Colour of Beauty (2010)

 

Week 4 – Racism and Stereotyping: Thinking About Difference (January 30)
Questions to consider: How are ideas about gender shaped by race? How do stereotypes and biases impact the way we interact with

people around us? How do these stereotypes and biases impact racialized people navigating different institutions? What can we do to

challenge these biases?
Required Readings:
• Stuart Hall, “Stereotyping as a Signifying Practice” (TEXT pp. 228-30)
• Uma Narayan, “Undoing the ‘Package Picture’ of Cultures” (TEXT pp. 231-33)
• Yasmin Jiwani, “Erasing Race: The Story of Reena Virk” (PDF on Blackboard, pp. 178-84)
NOTE: We will have a special guest-lecturer joining us today to discuss how these issues play out in the public school system.
Week 5 – Race and Gender: Access to Health and Reproductive Justice (February 6)
Question to consider: What is the “right to choose”? What is the difference between the right to access abortion and the concept of

reproductive justice? How do ideas about race and gender intersect to create barriers to equal access to healthcare?
Required Readings:
• Carolyn Egan and Linda Gardner, “Racism, Women’s Health, and Reproductive Freedom” (TEXT pp. 438-43)
• Loretta Ross, Rickie Solinger, et. al., “A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change” (TEXT pp. 489-93)
• Betsy Hartmann, “Sterilization and Abortion” (TEXT pp. 473-86)
• Supplement 29: “How Sexism and Racism Determine Health” (TEXT pp. 458-59)
• Supplement 30: “Large Numbers of Natives Were Sterilized By Province” (TEXT: pp. 487-88)
• Supplement 31: “Reproductive Rights Around the World” (TEXT: pp. 494-96)
Week 6 – Gender, Criminalization, and Justice (February 13)
Some questions to consider: How do ideas about race and gender intersect to criminalize certain bodies? How does Canada’s colonial

history impact our justice system? How do we define “justice”?
Required Readings:
• Kim Anderson, “The Construction of a Negative Identity” (TEXT pp. 269-279)
• Lisa Jackson, “When It Comes to Indigenous People, Canadian Justice is Not Blind” http://www.cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/blog/when-

it-comes-to-indigenous-people-canadian-justice-is-not-blind
• Scot Wortley and AkwasiOwusu-Bempah, “The Usual Suspects: Police Stop and Search Practices in Canada” in Policing and

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Society vol. 21.4, pp. 395-407
Film in Class: Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier (2017)

FEBRUARY 19-23 – READING BREAK – NO CLASSES!
Week 7 – MIDTERM TEST – IN CLASS
Test will be taking place during class (2:10-4:30pm). If you need to make alternate writing arrangements, please do so well in

advance through Student Accessibility Services.

 

Week 8 – Gender and Violence
Some questions to consider: How do ideas about race and gender impact the way some bodies are valued more than others? In cases of

sexual assault, who is considered a “worthy” victim? How can we shift our culture to end gender-based violence?
Required Readings:
• Jane Doe, “The Ultimate Rape Victim” (TEXT pp. 497-502)
• Marika Morris and CRIAW, “Fact Sheet: Violence Against Women and Girls” (TEXT pp. 503-14)
• Dana Culhane “Their Spirits Live Within Us: Aboriginal Women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver Emerging into Visibility” (TEXT

pp. 515-522)
• Supplement 32: “10 Things Men Can Do to Prevent Gender Violence” (TEXT pp. 523-26)
** ACADEMIC SKILLS CENTRE WORKSHOP IN CLASS: At the beginning of class there will be a workshop facilitated by the Academic Skills

Centre to help prepare for your media analysis essay.
*** 2/4 Discussion Posts are due by this date.
Week 9 – Women and Globalization
Some questions to consider: What does gender inequality look like on a global scale? What is the negative side of globalization?

What is neo-liberal globalization?
Required Readings:
• Shawn Meghan Burn, “Women and Globalization” (TEXT pp. 529-46)
• STITCH and the Maquila Solidarity Network, “Women Behind the Labels: Worker Testimonies from Central America” (TEXT pp.

551-58)
• Supplement 33: “What Is Neo-Liberal Globalization?” (TEXT pp. 527-28)
• Supplement 34: “The IMF: Violating Women Since 1945” (TEXT pp. 547-50)
• Supplement 35: “Structural Adjustment Programs Work for Elites and Impoverish the Rest” (TEXT pp. 559-60)
Film in Class: Migrant Dreams (2016)

 

Week 10 – Gender and Poverty (March 20
gender continue to foster inequalities? How do we account for the gendered nature of poverty in Canada? How is motherhood impacted

by poverty?
Required Readings:
• Margaret Hillyard Little, “The Leaner, Meaner, Welfare Machine: The Ontario Conservative Government’s Ideological and

Material Attack on Single Mothers” (TEXT 617-29)
• Street Health and Sistering, “Research Bulletin no. 2: Women and Homelessness” (TEXT pp. 632-44)
• QulliitNunuvut Status of Women Council, “The Little Voices of Nunavut: A Study of Women’s Homelessness North of 60” (TEXT

pp. 646-53)
• Supplement 28: “Understanding the Social Determinants of Health” (TEXT 456-57)
• Supplement 36: “Hidden Homelessness” (TEXT pp. 630-31)
• Supplement 37: “Rural Women and Poverty” (TEXT pp. 645)
Week 11 – Gender and Work in the “New” Economy
Some questions to consider: How can we classify the position of women in the workplace in the 21st Century? What barriers to wage

equality remain? How does a precarious job market impact men and women? How has unpaid work impacted equality in the workplace?
Required Readings:
• Marilyn Waring, “Unpaid Workers: The Absence of Rights” (TEXT: pp. 90-98)
• Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel-and-Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America” (TEXT pp. 577-87)
• Sheila Neysmithet. al., “Provisioning: Thinking About All of Women’s Work” (TEXT pp. 597-605)
• Supplement 5: “Race and Income Inequality in Canada: A Troubling Trend” (TEXT pp. 85-87)
• Supplement 6: “Unpaid Work: A Global View” (TEXT pp. 88-89)
Film in class: Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics (1995)
** Your essay will be due today!

 

Week 12 – Summary and Review (
LAST DAY OF CLASS
Today we will review for the exam, so please come prepared with a list of key terms you think will be useful to review.