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CRN 21350


									Women’s Studies 300N: Beauty and Body Images
Section 01, CRN 22214, 3 Credits, Spring 2007 Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:15 PM; Arts 220

Professor Linda Pershing Office and Office Hours: Craven Hall 6218, Tuesdays 2:30-3:30 PM, Thursdays 2:30-4:30 PM—and other times by appointment, (760) 750-8008, Email: Other helpful resources The Women’s Center: Lissa Lim, Operations Coordinator,, Administrative Coordinator for Women’s Studies: Bryana Ramos, Women’s Studies Student Association, Nancy Martinez-Molano, President, Triota—The Women’s Studies Honor’s Society, Karen Perez, President, Women’s History Month Coordinator, Morgan Hoodenpyle, COURSE DESCRIPTION This course will examine cultural representations and understandings of the human body and ideals of beauty. Although we will be focusing largely on contemporary U.S. society, our investigation will also include information about beauty standards in diverse cultures around the world and in varying historical periods. We will be learning about cross-cultural and historical interpretations in order to demonstrate the wide variance of beauty standards in different societies and time periods. We will examine how women and men have thought about human bodies and standards of beauty, the role of the media and advertising in promoting particular images of the body, the political and gendered aspects of beauty standards, the diet and fashion industries, and feminist theories about the body and beauty. We will explore not only gender issues related to beauty standards but also the connection with other socially constructed aspects of identity, such as race, class, culture, ethnicity, sexual identity, age, and ability/disability. You are encouraged to draw on your own personal experiences with beauty and body image as we work through the course material. The emphasis in this course will be placed

2 on critical thinking, creativity, exploration, and the development of effective written and oral communication skills in sharing the knowledge we gain. Unusual Features of This Course This course is a seminar. The structure of the course emphasizes active, participatory, and empowering education. I will be encouraging you to articulate your ideas and experiences and to work collaboratively with others through classroom exercises and projects. Coursework will be varied, interactive, and engaging, including a journal of reflections and reading responses, leading seminar discussions about the readings, a global or historical report, a group performance for Women’s History Month, and a Media Analysis Project. This will not be a course in which you listen to lectures and repeat the content of the lectures or readings back on exams. Instead, the course is designed to emphasize the importance of collaborative learning, writing and critical thinking skills, active participation, and the open exchange of ideas. My role in the course, as the professor, will be to guide, inform, encourage the learning process, and assess your work. Peer learning, student participation, and linking cultural analysis with life experience are three central features of the course. Student involvement will include active participation in class discussions and exercises, making individual and group presentations, and reading and giving feedback on one another’s work. Peer learning is a process that involves students sharing information, insights, and expertise, based on your readings and prior knowledge. This approach relies on active—rather than passive or disengaged—learning and students taking responsibility for their education. Readings: The readings are the core of the course content. You are expected to complete a series of readings for each class session. It is essential that you do the reading each week. These will form the foundation for our class discussions. Come to class prepared to discuss the readings and the central concepts they contain. The readings will provide you with important background information and analytical frameworks for thinking about beauty and body images. There won’t be enough time in class for us to discuss all of the readings, but you are expected to read the ones we don’t discuss to supplement our classroom sessions. If you don't do the reading, you will not succeed in this course. Weekly quizzes on the reading and a journal comprise significant components of your grade for the course. The following books are required reading for all students in the course. They are available for purchase at the campus bookstore. Bordo, Susan. 10th edition. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. University of Calif. Press. (UW)

3 Edut, Ophira, ed. 2003, 2nd edition. Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image. Seal Press. (Outlaws) Cooke, Kaz. 1996 or latest edition. Real Gorgeous: The Truth about Body and Beauty. W.W. Norton. (RG) In addition, there may be other, short readings assigned in class. There will be available online or in the library. ASSIGNMENTS There will be a variety of different types of assignments in this course, including those that involve reading, writing, speaking, observing, analyzing, and working in groups and individually. Please note: all written assignments—including journals--must be doublespaced and typed or printed on a computer printer, using either Times or Times Roman 12point font (not a larger font that takes more space), with 1-inch margins. Assignments will be collected in class. I will not accept written assignments via email. Always keep a back-up copy of each assignment on your computer or a disk. Use a standard style for notes and bibliographies, which should be included in your written projects-either the humanities (MLA-Modern Language Association) or social sciences (APAAmerican Psychological Association) citation style guides. Course Requirements and Grading Seven different components comprise your semester grade: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Semester Journal In-class Quizzes Co-leading Seminar Discussion on Readings Women’s History Month Performance Project Global/Historical Research Report Media Analysis Project and Presentation Participation and Attendance Total 20 points 20 points 10 points 20 points 6 points 14 points 10 points 100 points

4 Due Dates for the Semester—Please Mark Your Calendar Weekly journal responses and quizzes on the reading Co-leading discussion on the readings—sign-ups throughout semester Global/Historical Research Report— sign-ups throughout semester Feb. 6: One paragraph summary of Global/Historical Research Report topic March 6: Women’s History Month performance, dress rehearsal March 13: Women’s History Month performance April 24: Media Analysis Project and Presentation 1. Semester Journal (20 points, will be collected throughout the semester, 2 pages each week): Semester journals provide you with the chance to digest and summarize the course material. They also give you an opportunity to express your personal responses, reactions, and insights. You are required to write a 2-page (double spaced) journal entry each week (2 points a week). Please type your name and the date the assignment is due on each journal entry. The pages should be separate and kept in a folder, rather than in a bound notebook. Number your pages and staple them together each week. Journal entries are due each class session but will only be collected periodically. No email or late assignments will be accepted without prior permission from the instructor. Entries should be dated and typed and double-spaced on sheets of plain typing paper, and kept chronologically in a folder. Bring your complete journal to date with you to each class session. I will be collecting journals now and then throughout the semester at unannounced times—so keep them up to date each week. No credit for late work without an excused absence. There are two parts to each journal entry: Part One: One page (double spaced) of each journal entry should include your personal responses to and insights regarding the class discussion from the previous week. What new or important ideas did you encounter in the last class session? What were your reactions? Did you agree or disagree, and why? Did the discussion make you think about the topic in new ways? How so? Did the discussion help to broaden or deepen the ways you see your own body or think about beauty issues? You will need to take careful notes during each class session so you can refer back to these in the coming week in order to write your reactions to the class. Part Two: One page (double spaced) each week connecting course material to the world around us. Watch for examples in everyday life that relate to the readings and class discussion. This might include images of bodies and beauty in the media, conversations or comments you hear about beauty and bodies, observational notes on your own behavior and actions relating to beauty and body image, music videos you see or lyrics you hear, comic strips you read, ideas you encounter in movies, DVDs, videos, or books for other

5 courses, notes on shopping trips you make for clothing, make-up, or exercise equipment, magazine, newspaper or online articles you read, or any other occurrence, event, or media example you encounter during the week that relate to this course. Feel free to include pictures, cutouts from magazines, drawings, or other creative expression, along with your analysis. The object of this assignment is to start connecting what you are learning in the class to what you experience everyday in the world around you. This assignment is designed to help you start noticing – messages about body image and beauty are all around us. Use this part of your journal to help raise your awareness and document the specific ways in which we are bombarded with cultural messages about our appearance. Include one example each week. 2. In-class Quizzes (20 points): There will be pop quizzes on the reading. Quizzes will consist of a short answer that covers a main point in the reading. I strongly suggest that you take notes as you read, so you are familiar with material each week and can answer basic questions about reading content. You may use your notes in class for the quizzes. If you miss class, make-up assignments may only be taken if you have an excused absence (illness, religious holiday, death of a loved one—all need to be documented). It is your responsibility to arrange for a make-up assignment when you return to class. 3. Co-leading Seminar Discussion on the Readings (10 points, scheduled throughout the semester, including a handout for the class): This assignment is an exercise in developing your speaking and leadership skills, as well as contributing to the learning process of the seminar. At the beginning of the semester, I will be asking you to sign-up to co-lead a presentation about the readings. Your responsibility will be to read all the essays or chapters for that week, identify the main concepts they contain, and develop an engaging way to share these ideas with the rest of the class. Your group will lead a one-hour discussion about some specific readings. If you were a student in a classroom, learning about these concepts, how would you like the class session to go? What would intrigue you and get you thinking? What would get you involved in active learning and participation? It’s important to start early in the semester and to work with your group well before your presentation date. You can do much of your organizational work via email, but you will need to meet together outside of class at least once or twice, in order to work out the details.

It is essential that each member of the group do all of the readings for that week. Otherwise, you will have no way of understanding the interrelationship between the readings—which is an important part of the presentation. After you
have done all the reading, ask yourself: what are the significant concepts, ideas, and arguments presented in those chapters? You may want to identify a few main themes or ideas in the reading, or spend time discussing particular chapters.


In preparing to lead the discussion, ask yourself: after the semester is over, what do you want students to remember about the reading? What were the most important insights about beauty and body images? There won’t be time to talk about everything, so pick out the most important and useful ideas and themes in the reading. Use these to structure your session. Lead this part of the class session in a way you would like to have the material discussed if you were just a student in the class. In developing your presentation, feel free to be creative and to experiment with different formats! You may want to use visual or audio media that will interest your classmates and help to get them energized. Do not use Power Point simply to display an outline or text, and then just read it aloud. The idea is to find interesting ways to think and talk about the issues raised in the reading, and this can take many varied forms. Try to involve the seminar in participatory exercises, debates, games, skits, role-playing, or other types of discussions that will bring the topic to life. Apply feminist and empowering teaching methods to the discussion you are leading. The idea is to find interactive methods to think and talk about the issues raised in the readings, and this can take many varied forms. Think about your public speaking skills as you talk, and try to involve the class in a way that will bring the topic to life. Each member of your group should do some speaking during the presentation. At the beginning, your group should provide a typed handout, which outlines the most significant ideas in the reading, to the class. Please collate the handouts before class and staple them together in the order they will be presented. Bring at least 25 copies of the handout to class. Include the following elements in your handout:  On the top of the first page, present your names, the date, and the chapter titles of the essays assigned for the week. Think of a theme that flows through the readings and ties your discussion together. Next, outline the significant concepts you will be covering and any classroom exercises you will be conducting. When you lead the discussion, include one or two examples of how a main idea from the text applies to your own experiences or to the world around you. On the subsequent pages, provide an outline that summarizes each chapter individually. Don’t just use quotes from the book—summarize in your own words; include the page numbers on which the ideas appear, for easy reference. Identify terminology and vocabulary that are significant with brief definitions. Punch 3 holes in the handouts so that students can keep them in their semester notebooks.




4. Women’s History Month Performance (20 points, due March 13, including a

7 one-page handout): This assignment is an exercise in ―finding your voice‖ and connecting course material to your own experience with your body and self-image. The assignment is designed to encourage creativity, experimentation with expressive and artistic forms, and a chance to express how the beauty standard has limited and shaped our lives. At the beginning of the semester, I will be asking you to sign-up in small groups to create a performance piece or presentation about beauty standards and their effects. Each group will work together through the semester to develop a short (10-15 minute) performance piece, skit, musical or dance performance, visual arts show, or some other creative presentation on March 13 for Women’s History Month. Performances will be scheduled during our class time and will be open to the public. Use the course materials and your journal responses to generate ideas for your group performance. What issues grabbed you or touched you personally? What kinds of questions have you been asking about beauty and body image during the course? What has bothered you or made you angry about cultural expectations? What are some artistic ways you can share these ideas with other students? In developing your performance, feel free to be creative and to experiment with different formats! You may want to use costumes, and visual or audio media as a part of your performance. Do not use Power Point simply to display an outline or text, and then just read it aloud. The idea is to find interesting and artistic ways to communicate your ideas and concerns, and this can take many varied forms. Each member of your group should participate actively during the presentation. Your group will have a total of 10-15 minutes for your performance. Be sure to practice it in advance and limit your time accordingly. You should also prepare a one-page handout (make 50 copies) for the audience, offering information, statistics, and insights about your topic. Be sure to include your names on the handout. 5. Global/Historical Research Report (6 points, topic due February 6, presentations scheduled throughout the semester): Do some library or online research to identify beauty standards in either: 1) a country group outside of your own; or 2) an historical period in which ideas about beauty and body image were different than they are today. If you choose a country, be sure you specify the time period (today or in the past?). If you choose an historical period, specify the location and culture on which your research focuses. Due February 6: type a one-paragraph description of your topic and turn it in. Be prepared to sign up for a presentation on a specific class meeting date. Do extensive research about the your topic in preparation for the presentation. Use at least 3 different sources of information (no encyclopedias, please) and include full citations of these sources in a complete bibliography. Use the MLA or APA guidelines for bibliographies. If you use web sources, be sure to check the information against other

8 reliable sources to ensure that the content is accurate. This means that not all of your sources should be web sources. Remember that it is easy for anyone to post information of any kind on the web without verifying its accuracy. Prepare a 5-minute presentation to share the main points with the class. Speak from your outline—do not read from written text—you will bore your audience and will lose points for your presentation. Try to include some visual images as a part of your presentation. Also, bring in a large map to show the class the geographic location of the country (you could enlarge a photocopy, show an image on Power Point, or print and display it on an overhead transparency). You will be strictly limited to 5 minutes, so practice your presentation in advance and time yourself. Turn in your outline on the day you give your oral presentation. Students are expected to give their presentations at the beginning of the class on the day they are due. Your outline & presentation are due on the date you are assigned on the sign-up sheet—no make-ups or late presentations without an excused absence. 6. Media Analysis Project and Presentation (14 points, due April 24, 6 pages plus bibliography): During the last part of the semester, we will be reading the theoretical analysis of Susan Bordo. Using what you have learned from the course material, select a specific media example to analyze. You might want to focus on a specific type of ad, portrayals of the body in a television series or a movie, in the work of a musical artist or music group, in radio broadcasting, or some other specific example from the mass media. Think about the material you have selected with a critical eye, using analytical perspectives you have developed during the course. In particular, select two key ideas from Susan Bordo’s Unbearable Weight and use these to analyze the material you have selected. Think about the theory Bordo provides to help us understand ideas of beauty and body image. Which of her theoretical concepts offer a lens through which we can interpret the material you selected? If we think about theory as a ―web of meaning‖ or ―patterns of behavior or thought that help us make sense of the world,‖ which of Bordo’s theoretical insights are especially useful in understanding the material from a feminist perspective? Write a 6-page (double-spaced) analytical paper on this topic. Your paper should focus more on issues of meaning and cultural/feminist interpretation than on description. Using Bordo’s frames of analysis, what is being communicated through the material? How are these messages conveyed? Can you identify the intended audience? What are the power dynamics involved? What specific aspects of Bordo’s work help you better understand the material from a feminist perspective? Remember to include aspects of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and ability/disability in your analysis. Cite your sources and use MLA or APA style for notes and bibliography. Bring 2 copies of your project to class (one for Professor Pershing and one for another student to read).

9 For our class on April 24, prepare a 5-minute presentation to share your project with the class. Your presentation will also involve your own body—so, costumes, movement, and other embodied expressions will help you communicate your message. What will be an effective way to use your body as part of your presentation? Be creative, and have fun with it! 7. Participation and Attendance (10 points): You are expected to attend each class session, arrive on time, and stay for the entire class period. Students who participate will get much more out of the course. Just attending class isn't enough; you need to be actively involved in order to learn. This course is most effective if everyone participates and is willing to share her or his ideas and insights, rather than allowing class discussion to revolve around the thoughts of a small group of students who speak up regularly. For students who are comfortable about speaking in class and have a tendency to dominate group discussions, cooperative participation also means consciously deciding to speak less often so that there is an opportunity to hear from others. If you tend to be quiet in class or are accustomed to courses in which the professor does all the talking, you'll need to push yourself to contribute your ideas and become active in the class discussions. Students who attend class regularly but don't say anything lose a significant percent of their semester grade as a result of lack of participation in classroom activities. This includes your contribution to class discussion, involvement in classroom activities, and taking a leadership role in small groups. Coming to class late or leaving early is disruptive to others. Please take a seat in the classroom before class begins and plan to stay for the entire session. Do not enter late or leave early and interrupt the class session, unless you have made some prior arrangement with me. Attendance sheets will be circulated at the beginning of class. If you are not in class when the attendance sheet is passed around, your attendance will not be counted. Do not sign-in for other students; signing the attendance sheet for another student constitutes academic dishonesty and grounds for failing the course. Excused absences include missing class due to a religious observance, a death in the family, or documented illness. Absences will be excused and make-up work will be assigned if you bring in written verification. Please use the restroom before class or during the break. It is disruptive when students leave class to use the restroom, to answer cell phones, or for any other matter. If you have to take an emergency phone call, notify me before class. Working on Assignments for Another Course During Class Do not engage in work for other courses during this class. If you do so, you will be asked to leave class, and you will be counted as absent for that day. Disabilities and Special Assistance Please let me know early in the semester if you require academic accommodations based on a disability. I will be happy to assist you.

10 Assistance with Writing Skills The Writing Center is located in Kellogg Library Room 1103 and offers one-on-one tutoring at all stages of the writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing. While the Writing Center will assist with the rules of grammar and punctuation, it is not an editing service; rather, it seeks to work with students in developing and improving problem-solving strategies and analytic abilities. Trained, peer tutors staff the Writing Center. The Writing Center also includes a computer lab where students can work on their projects, and a resource room with books and other materials on writing. The services offered by the Writing Center are free of charge. For information about the Writing Center or to make an appointment, call (760) 750-4168 or look at their website: A Note about Due Dates and Academic Honesty Academic life places all of us under demanding time constraints. Please mark your calendar with due dates for the assignments and begin working on these projects early in the semester. Due dates are firm. You will not get credit for assignments that are turned in late. Late assignments will not be accepted unless your work was delayed due to an excused absence. Excused absences include a documented illness, the death of a loved one, or a religious observance. I will request written verification for an excused absence. ALL arrangements to make up assignments and exams MUST be made PRIOR to the due date of the assignment. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period—do not come into class late to turn in an assignment. I do not accept assignments via email. If you find that you must be absent, try to turn in the assignment before the due date. If you need to turn in assignments late due to any circumstances, please contact me as soon as you recognize there is a problem, and we can try to work out a mutually satisfying solution. Remember that it is your responsibility to notify me and make arrangements to complete work that you miss due to an absence. I expect students to do their own work and to act with integrity. I take cheating very seriously and follow the university's policies on academic honesty, cheating, fabrication, helping others to cheat, or plagiarism (presenting the work of others as if it were your own, including material you find on the Internet). Any of these offenses will result in receiving a failing grade in the course and in being reported to the university authorities (students may be expelled, suspended, put on probation, or given disciplinary sanction). Please read the section on ―Academic Honesty‖ in Academic Regulations and CSUSM Policies (found in your catalog or student handbook) and see me if you have any questions concerning what constitutes plagiarism or cheating. Note that, on written assignments, exact quotes must be placed in quotation marks, and the source of the quote must be cited in full. In addition, all ideas that come from another source—other than your own thoughts--must be cited in full. These include any ideas your have paraphrased or rephrased, but which originated in someone else’s writing or expression. Course Schedule

11 (Assignments should be completed by the date under which they are listed unless otherwise indicated) Special Note: The faculty union is in the midst of contract negotiations, and there is a possibility of a work interruption. Updates on this situation will be provided throughout the semester. Jan. 23/25: Jan. 30/Feb. 1: Introduction and Orientation Coming to Terms with Our Bodies, Ideas about the Body

Reading: Real Gorgeous (RG), Chapter 1; Body Outlaws (Outlaws), pp. iii-37 (read Notes and Forward at front) Class presentation: Bodies in Conflict, the Iraq War Assignments due: 1) go to the library reserves website ( -- Pershing WMST 300N, password is “beauty”) and print out the full syllabus. Bring it to class on Jan. 30; 2) as you do the reading, write down any terms or vocabulary words that are new to you. Look up their definition in the dictionary and include both the word and the definition in your journal. Do this each week as you read; 3) start your semester journal this week. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the journal, and write at least one journal entry each week. At times, special writing assignments will be announced for your journal entries. For this week, complete the Personal Inventory Worksheet--What Do You Do in a Day to Make Yourself Attractive?; 4) start researching ideas of beauty in a different society (outside the U.S.) or another historical period. Be ready to sign-up on Tuesday, Feb. 6 for a specific topic and a date to present your research. Feb. 6/8: Weights, Sizes, and Shapes Reading: RG, Chapter 2; Outlaws, pp. 38-61 Activities: 1) Presentation on the U.S. Diet and Health Issues; 2) Sign-ups for Women’s History Month performance on March 13 -- 15 minutes of class time to meet in groups and start planning; (3) Sign-up for classroom presentations on beauty standards in diverse cultures and historical periods.


Assignment due: Be ready to sign-up on Feb. 6 for a specific topic and a date to present your research for the Global/Historical Research Report. Type a one-paragraph description of your topic and turn it in on Feb. 6. Oral presentations and a one-page outline will be due throughout the semester, based on sign-ups. Feb. 13/15: Social Norms, Dieting Reading: RG, Chapter 3; Outlaws, pp. 62-103 Heads Up! Be working on an assignment: Women’s History Month Performances on March 13 – use 15 minutes of class time today to meet in groups and start planning.

13 Feb. 20/22: The Fashion and Beauty Industries Reading: RG, Chapter 4; Outlaws, pp. 104-143 Heads Up! Be working on an assignment: Women’s History Month Performances on March 13 – use some class time to meet in groups. Feb. 27-Mar. 1: Advertising

Reading: RG, Chapter 5; Outlaws, pp. 144-187 Start an Assignment: Begin browsing through Unbearable Weight and thinking about a topic for your Media Analysis Project, due April 24. Read the project guidelines, watch for media examples, and be thinking about how you can apply Bordo’s analysis to specific media examples. Remember that your presentation also involves your own body—costumes, movement, and other bodily expressions will help you communicate your message. Both the written project and preparing for your oral/bodily presentation will take some time to prepare, so be sure to start early and work on these throughout the semester. Heads Up! Be working on an assignment: Women’s History Month presentation on March 13 -- 30 minutes of class time today to meet in groups and work on your project. Next week is a dress rehearsal. Mar. 6/8: Getting Comfortable with Our Bodies Reading: RG, Chapters 6-7; Outlaws, pp. 188-249 Heads Up!: Women’s History Month dress rehearsal on March 6.

14 Mar. 13/15: Reshaping Bodies and the Ways We See Them & Women’s History Month Performance Reading: Outlaws, pp. 250-320 Assignment Due March 13: Women’s History Month Performance Mar. 20/22: Theoretical Bodies, Embodied Theories Reading: Unbearable Weight (UW), Foreward, In the Empire of Images, and Introduction Apr. 3/5: Apr. 10/12: Review Session – start the reading for next week (there’s a lot) Discourses and Conceptions of the Body & The Slender Body and Other Cultural Forms Reading: UW, All of Parts One and Two Be working on an assignment: Be sure to keep up with your journal. It will be collected soon. Also, as you read through Unbearable Weight, keep thinking about a topic for your Media Analysis Project, due April 24. Read the project guidelines, watch for media examples, and be thinking about how you can apply Bordo’s analysis to specific media material. Remember that your presentation also involves your own body—costumes, movement, and other bodily expressions will help you communicate your message. Apr. 17/19: Postmodern Bodies Reading: UW, All of Part Three Heads Up!: Media Analysis Project due next week, April 24. Bring 2 copies (one for Professor Pershing and one for another student to read). Sign up today to present your project next week.

15 Apr. 24/26: Embodied Knowledge as a Source of Power Attendance counts double on Tuesday and Thursday Assignment due: Media Analysis Project and 5-Minute Class Presentation of the Project due April 24. Bring 2 copies of your paper (one for Professor Pershing and one for another student to read). May 1/3: End of the Year Celebration—bring food or drinks to share on May 1! Attendance counts double this week

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