WGSST 110: Gender, Sex, and Power
University Hall 147 Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:55am – 1:35pm Summer 2012
Instructor: Nicole Engel Email: email@example.com
Office: 337B University Hall Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:00am-10:55am
ACCOMMODATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:
We all have varying abilities. Students who have verification from Disability Services are
responsible for contacting the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary arrangements.
The Office for Disability Services verifies the need for accommodations and assists in the
development of accommodation strategies. Please let me know early on in the quarter what we
can do to maximize your learning potential, participation, and general access in this course. The
Office for Disability Services is located at 150 Pomerene Hall,
1760 Neil Ave, (614) 292-3307, TDD (614) 292-0901.
This course is an introduction to the field of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and to feminist scholarship. It
is designed to give students from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines a basic understanding of the
terminology, perspectives, and debates that constitute this field. We will examine the history of feminist political
activism in the United States and we will learn some of the most significant concepts and frameworks feminists
have developed. Although we will pay particular attention to the ways in which gender impacts our everyday lives,
we will also examine the ways in which race, sexuality, class, physical ability, and age also impact our lives and
inform public policies and institutions in the U.S. This course is a pre-requisite for both the major and minor in
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Understand feminist concepts and frameworks; i.e. privilege, social construction, intersectionality,
the male gaze, etc.
Identify manifestations of privilege and oppression in society.
Develop and apply critical reading, writing, and thinking skills to issues of gender, race, class, sexuality,
Reading Women's Lives for Nicole Engel/WGSST 110/Summer 2012 available at SBX.
Additional readings can be found on CARMEN (these readings will be marked with an * on your syllabus)
Carmen (OSU's online learning system) will be used in this course. To access Carmen, log on at
http://carmen.osu.edu and select this course from the list of Summer 2012 Classes.
I will use Carmen to post various class materials, changes to the syllabus, and any readings that are not
included in Reading Women's Lives. You are expected to print the readings from Carmen and bring them
to class with you on the day they are discussed. If you cannot bring the actual readings to class with you,
then I expect you to bring notes on the readings to class with you. This last part is no joke. Showing up
without the tools means you can't do the work.
Participation: 15 %
There are 2 components to your participation grade:
1. Attendance: Attendance will be taken every day. You are permitted 2 unexcused absences, no questions
asked. After 2 absences, your absences will have a dramatic effect on your participation grade – after all,
if you are not in class, you are not participating.
a. Tardyness: Arriving more than 15 minutes late, or leaving more than 15 minutes early, will count
as an absence.
2. Discussion: This course is a dialogue intensive course. Both prepared discussions and spontaneous
conversations will be essential elements in this course. Class discussion is designed to help you become
engaged with, and think critically about, the materials presented in the essays, films, and lectures we
encounter. It is mandatory that you complete all of the reading in order to participate meaningfully in
a. We will be discussing some controversial issues in this class. I ask that you be open to exploring
the world through a feminist lens. Respect and sensitivity toward others is required. Our critical
thinking will be deployed to analyze ideas and arguments - personal attacks are not permitted.
We will be exploring issues of personal and cultural relevance to us all, and will question the
values and assumptions apparent in a wide variety of texts. You are not being asked to change
your beliefs, but we all must contribute to an environment where everyone feels welcome to
b. *Note* In order to facilitate class discussion, turn off your computers and cell phones, refrain
from talking while others are speaking, and do not pack up or leave early. Failure to do so will
result in a lowered participation grade.
Reading Check-ins: 15 %
Check-ins are meant to ensure that you are completing and comprehending your reading assignments. 4 check-ins
will be given over the course of the quarter. The lowest grade will be dropped. Check-ins are given at the beginning
of class and CANNOT be made up unless you have an excused absence for that day.
Class Blog: 25%
A full 25% of your course grade is dependent upon your thoughtful use of the course blog. You must post at least
once a week throughout the quarter (that means a minimum of 7 posts, including the introductory class survey).
The week begins on Sunday at 8am and ends Saturday at midnight. A blog posted after midnight Saturday night
will be considered late and no credit will be given. You will be graded on the quality of your blog posts. Are they
clear? Are they thoughtful? Do they show that you are completing the course reading assignments and attempting
to apply what we are learning to the world around us? Postings should do one of the following:
Discuss an aspect of the author’s argument that you found difficult to understand.
Discuss an aspect of the author’s argument that you found compelling or that you disagreed with.
Highlight a connection between a reading and a media artifact – news, blogs, film, television, etc.
Engage another student’s posting.
Out of a total of 6 posts (not counting the introductory class survey), at least 3 of your 6 posts must be original
posts started by you; in other words, no more than 3 of your 6 posts can be responses to another classmate’s
Although I hope this classroom will become a space where you feel confident sharing your thoughts and insights, I
also know that sometimes it takes time to think through what we want to say. If you’re feeling quiet, additional
postings to the blog throughout the quarter will greatly help your participation grade.
a. Our class blog will not be made public – only students in this course will be able to
see/read/comment on it.
b. Our blog address: http://wgsst110summer2012.blogspot.com/
Current Media Analysis: 20%
Much of what we read and discuss in class has implications for the world outside of the classroom. As
a way of
exploring these connections, you will be required to write one (1) 500 – 750 word (2-3 page) blog post that
connects a feminist concept we discuss in class to the US media (newspapers, news programs, websites, music,
music videos, television shows, films, books, magazines, advertisements, etc.). You must demonstrate that you are
able to apply concepts from class to the “real world” by using terminology and concepts from class texts. (You may
not use a media example that has already been discussed in class.) These blog posts will be graded as formal
papers, so please treat them as such. This means that you must give your post a title, use a thesis statement to
focus your post, use proper spelling and grammar, cite your sources using MLA citation style, and provide a works
cited section at the end of the post.
*I highly recommend you write the post as a Word document, then copy and paste it onto the class blog. Save a
copy of the post in Word so that you have a backup document in the case of technical difficulties.
For this analysis you must:
1. Directly engage with ONE classroom text and ONE media text.
2. Accurately and briefly describe the media example (no more than 250 words, one page). If it is at all
possible, link us to the media piece in your post.
3. Thoroughly and thoughtfully analyze how the media text you have chosen relates to ONE
class (this concept must be properly defined).
4. Properly cite your sources (both the media text and classroom text) using MLA.
5. Carefully and thoroughly proofread your post for spelling and grammatical errors.
*In addition, you are required to read and respond to a minimum of 2 Current Media Analyses that are not your
own. These responses will count towards your overall participation grade.
Final Project: 25 %
Final Project Options:
(You are required to submit a brief project plan by EMAIL by July 5 at 10:55am, and no late projects will
1. Write a 6-8 page analysis of a film, television show, or other pop culture product that applies theories and
concepts from at least three (3) sources used in class. You must use correct citations and attach a
2. Write and illustrate a children’s book that explains a theme from class, such as: feminism, gender
socialization, the history of the women’s movement, etc. The project should showcase critical thought
and creative effort. You must include a 3-4 page artist statement that explains the choices you made in
your project and draws on at least three (3) sources used in class. Correct citations and a bibliography are
3. Create a piece of artwork or write three thoughtful poems that address personal experiences relating to
course material. You must include a 3-4 page artist statement that explains the choices you made in your
project and draws on at least three (3) sources used in class to relate your art to course themes. Correct
citations and a bibliography are a must.
4. Write a 5-6 page nonfiction book review. Begin your review with a brief summary of the main points (1-2
pages), and conclude with a 4 page critical analysis of the text that addresses the strengths and
weaknesses of the book, its intended audience, how the book fits into the field of Women’s Studies,
discussions we’ve had in class, etc. Please cite three (3) related course materials in your analysis.
Please see me for a list of possible books.
5. Plan your own project. Examples: plan an action - such as a letter-writing campaign or a demonstration -
in which five members of the class can take part; create a public service announcement or short video
about a class theme; write a research paper about a topic that interests you, and demonstrate how it
relates to feminist thought, etc. Any project that is not a traditional research paper will require the
addition of a 3-4 page project description and analysis that requires that you incorporate at least three (3)
Additional Course Policies
Extra Credit: Extra credit may be earned by attending one campus or city event that relates to themes and topics
discussed in class. A 1-2 page description of the event and how it relates to course concepts is due in my email
inbox no later than one week after the event takes place.
Late/Make-Up Work: Assignments are due on the day and time listed on the syllabus. No exceptions. I will reduce
an assignment’s grade by one half grade for every day it is late (A A- B+, etc.).
Do not assume that you will be granted an extension for anything until you have spoken with me.
Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism
As defined in University Rule #3335-31-02, plagiarism is “the representation of another’s works or their ideas as
one’s own; it includes the unacknowledged word for word use and/or paraphrasing of another person’s work,
and/or the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas.” Plagiarism is one of the most serious
offenses that can be committed in an academic community; as such, it is the obligation of this department and its
instructors to report ALL cases of suspected plagiarism to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. After the
report is filed, a hearing takes place and if the student is found guilty, the possible punishment ranges from failing
the course to suspension or expulsion from the university. Although the existence of the Internet makes it
relatively easy to plagiarize, it also makes it even easier for instructors to find evidence of plagiarism. It is obvious
to most teachers when a student turns in work that is not his or her own; plagiarism search engines make
documenting the offense very simple.
Always cite your sources (your TA or instructor can help you with this)
Always ask questions before you turn in your assignment if you are uncertain about what
Always see your TA or instructor if you are having difficulty with an assignment
To preserve the integrity of OSU as an institution of higher learning, to maintain your own integrity, and to avoid
jeopardizing your future, DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!
This course counts for the following GE requirements:
CULTURE & IDEAS
Goals: Students evaluate significant cultural phenomena and ideas in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and
historical response and judgment; and interpretation and evaluation.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Students analyze and interpret major forms of human thought, culture, and expression.
Students evaluate how ideas influence the character of human beliefs, the perception of reality, and the norms
which guide human behavior.
DIVERSITY: SOCIAL DIVERSITY IN THE US
Goals: Students understand the pluralistic nature of institutions, society, and culture in the United States and
across the world in order to become educated, productive, and principled citizens.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Students describe and evaluate the roles of such categories as race, gender and sexuality, disability, class,
ethnicity, and religion in the pluralistic institutions and cultures of the United States.
Students recognize the role of social diversity in shaping their own attitudes and values regarding appreciation,
tolerance, and equality of others.
SOCIAL SCIENCE: INDIVIDUALS & GROUPS
Goals: Students understand the systematic study of human behavior and cognition; the structure of human
societies, cultures, and institutions; and the processes by which individuals, groups, and societies interact,
communicate, and use human, natural, and economic resources.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Students understand the theories and methods of social scientific inquiry as they apply to the study of individuals
Students understand the behavior of individuals, differences and similarities in social and cultural contexts of
human existence, and the processes by which groups function.
Students comprehend and assess individual and group values and their importance in social problem solving and
Grade Breakdown A = 93-100 Excellent!
Participation: 15% A- = 90-92
Reading Check-ins: 15% B+ = 87-89
Class Blog: 25% B = 83-86 Above Average
Media Analysis: 20% B- = 80-82
Final Project: 25% C+ = 77-79
Total: 100 % C = 73-76 Average/Meets expectations
C- = 70-72
D+ = 67-69
D = 63-66 Below Average
D- = 60-62
Unit 1: What is Women’s Studies? What is Feminism?
concepts: women’s studies, interdisciplinary, activism, academy, feminism, 1 st wave feminism,
2nd wave feminism, 3rd wave feminism, suffrage, backlash, social constructivism,
WEEK DATE TOPIC READINGS
Week 1 6/19 TUE Introduction to Course
* Penny Weiss. “I’m not a Feminist, but…” (1-16)
6/21 THU The F-Word: A History of US
Feminism * Seneca Falls. “Declaration of Sentiments and
Film: Iron Jawed Angels
* Sojourner Truth. “Ain’t I A Woman?”
-- Susan Faludi. “Introduction: Blame it on
Unit 2: The Social Construction of Gender
concepts: sex, gender, gender role, gender identity, socialization, masculinity, femininity,
gender norms, social construction, transgender, sexuality, intersexuality, homophobia
Week 2 6/26 TUE Gender Socialization:
Learning Gender -- Judith Lorber. “Night to his Day: The Social
Construction of Gender” (17-32)
Film: Tough Guise
*Sarah. “My Son is Gay.”
*Susan Witt. “Parental Influence on Children’s
6/28 THU Challenges to the Sex/Gender
System *Myrhe. “One Bad Hair Day Too Many.”
Film: Trained in the Ways of *Julia Serano. Chapters 1 and 2 from Whipping
Unit 3: The Institutionalization of Inequality
concepts: oppression, privilege, power, social inequality, patriarchy, social institutions,
Week 3 7/3 TUE CLASS CANCELLED Enjoy the July 4 Holiday!
7/5 THU Understanding Privilege and
Oppression -- Marilyn Frye. “Oppression” (33-48)
Guest Lecturer: Andrea Breau -- Peggy McIntosh. “White Privilege: Unpacking
the Invisible Backpack” (83-90)
DUE: Final Project Proposal
Email by 10:55am -- Judith Katz. “Heterosexual Privilege: Owning
My Advantage, Uncovering My Collusion” (91-94)
Week 4 7/10 TUE Difference and Inequality
-- Audre Lorde. “Age, Race, Class, and Sex:
Women Redefining Difference” (101-112)
-- Suzanne Pharr. “Homophobia: A Weapon of
Unit 4: Body Politics
concepts: the beauty myth, the male gaze, beauty norms, the myth of the vaginal orgasm,
the orgasm gap
7/12 THU The Beauty Myth
-- Naomi Wolf. “Excerpt from The Beauty Myth”
Film: Killing Us Softly (123-136)
-- Stephen Hall. “The Bully in the Mirror” (137-
*T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting. “I See the Same
Ho: Video Vixens, Beauty Culture, and Diasporic
Week 5 7/17 TUE Sexuality and Pleasure
*Anne Koedt. “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm”
Film: Orgasm, Inc.
*Heather Corinna. “An Immodest Proposal”
*Seligson. “The Orgasm Gap”
Unit 5: Gender-Based Violence
concepts: dominance, subordination, sexual violence, domestic violence, media
7/19 THU Gender-Based Violence
*Russ Funk. “The Culture of Rape.”
Film: Dreamworlds 3
*Whitney Walker. “Why I Fight Back”
Week 6 7/24 TUE Global Violence Against Women
*Fontes and McClosky. “Cultural Issues in
Film: TBD Violence Against Women.”
*Momigliano. “Honor Killing By Any Other
Unit 6: Family and Work Arrangements
concepts: marriage, the mommy track, mommy wars, the wage gap, the invisible ceiling
7/26 THU Marriage and Parenting
-- Judy Brady. “I Want a Wife” (157-160)
-- Susan Douglas & Meredith Michaels. “The
Mommy Wars: How the Media turned
Motherhood into a Catfight” (161-)
*Drexler. “Lesbian Mothers Making Men.”
Week 7 7/31 TUE Money and Work
*Eagly and Carli. “Women and the Labyrinth of
Film: Mad Men or Roseanne Leadership”
*Bernard and Leiber. “High Price of Being a Gay
*Borowski. “The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap”
8/2 THU Class Wrap-Up
Margins: 1 inch margins all around Font: 12 pt Times New Roman
Spacing: Double-spaced Reference Page: You must include a Works Cited
page or Bibliography.
Style: MLA Style
-- This is a great website that I use all the time to find out how to cite things in MLA style:
-- How to cite our course text – MLA style:
Last name, First name. “Title of Essay.” Reading Women’s Lives. Ed. Nicole Engel. New York:
Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. Pg x – x.