Social constructions of gender and power

Social Theory: Concept Memo #2

Use the memo format required for Memo Concept #1. The memo must be between 1.5 and 2 single-sided pages. Use 1-inch margins and single space the text. Cite the required sources stated in the memo instructions below; use this easy technique to cite the sources: State the author(s) of the source and the page number(s) of the information you discuss in parentheses at the end of the sentences where you reference this material. Use quotation marks around info you quote verbatim; don’t quote long passages. Note: Do NOT use or reference any other sources beyond the assigned readings for this memo.

The first sentence in the first paragraph of the memo’s text must be a clearly stated thesis statement; here’s a good structure to follow: “In this memo I will apply [state the key theoretical ideas under study] through an examination of [state the assignment’s activity].” This first paragraph can also include a few sentences on the concepts or theoretical ideas you will examine in detail after this “intro” section. Create separate paragraphs focused on distinct theoretical themes or specific memo questions. Dig deeply into the analytical and theoretical ideas under study. Be sure to cite explicit ideas or key features of concepts, and elaborate on these points with detailed discussion.

Topic for Memo #2: Gender in everyday life.

Instructions: Read and analyze the “Super Bowl reading” as a piece of data that you have collected for a research project. Support your analysis using points from these sources: the textbook chapter on feminist theories and the posted “Doing Gender” reading. Of course, feel free to actively reference the newspaper article in your answers when making your points. Use the questions below to guide your analysis, or to get you started. You are not required to address all of these questions or themes; feel free to mix and match question themes, too. As always, you are free to use the sources to frame your own questions as well.

1. According to the newspaper article’s author, who held the power during the halftime show? Where does the empowerment come from? Consider whether any key ideas in the “Doing Gender” reading or the points on “doing gender” in the textbook help to frame a response? On a related note, what does power or empowerment really mean in this specific context? What is power more broadly from a feminist perspective? Are features of oppression at work here?
2. Adam Levine performed topless during the 2019 halftime Super Bowl show. Does this fact mean that there’s no difference in whether men or women make their bodies a significant feature of their performances? Is the cultural baggage/cultural meaning the same for men’s and women’s bodies? Who is more likely to be the “subject” of action versus the “object” of action? Why?
3. The newspaper columnist highlights Shakira’s dancing as a “tribute to her culture,” and indicates later in the article that fans expect these types of performances. Why isn’t belly dancing routinely performed by men? Why don’t fans expect male performers to reveal more of their bodies more of the time?
4. Read the “text box” on page 223 in the textbook. Do any of these theoretical ideas serve to counter or support the views expressed by the newspaper columnist?


Contemporary sociological theory and its classical roots (4th ed).

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