This past week we have been focusing on gender. Gender is a fundamental
social division. All around us we see differences between men and women
(and girls and boys). The way they dress. The activities they engage in.
What they say. What they want out of life. We see gender differences in
the college classroom -- who tends to major in what subjects? We see
gender differences at the workplace -- who tends to hold positions of
power and authority? We see gender differences in the home -- who tends
to do the majority of housework? These social arrangements, which create
and sustain gender differences, end up having powerful effects on the
lifestyles and life chances of individuals.
Are we ever not doing gender? From the moment we wake up until we go to
bed, it seems like we are constantly doing gender. For this essay, I
want you to walk me through a small segment of your day (when you wake
up, when you walk to class, when you eat lunch, when you shop, when you
drive or ride the bus, when you go out on a date, when you attend
religious ceremonies, when you watch movies with friends, etc). Do not
describe your whole day, but rather, choose some small segment (a strip)
of your life to describe. During that small segment of your day, in what
ways are you doing gender? How are you displaying your gendered
identity? Given the situation you find yourself in, how are you
conforming -- or not -- to gendered expectations of behavior? As you
write up your response, please reference and integrate into your essay
the reading by West and Zimmerman "Doing Gender" and/or Judith Lorber's
"Night to His Day"