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Shopping Assignment

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					                          THE SHOPPING ASSIGNMENT


Due: Thursday (10/28) Please note: I moved the due date (listed on the syllabus)
from 10/26 to 10/28.

Take a shopping trip to a mall, a neighborhood drug store, or a major discount store such
as Target. You are not required to buy anything on this trip but look for the following
items:

   -       Barbie and Ken Dolls
   -       Bratz Dolls

NOTE: If for some reason you cannot go to a store see me for an alternative
     assignment.

Be sure to note the following when you are making your observations:

   1. Pay attention to the following:


       Jot down a description of the neighborhood the store was in. Jot down a
       description of the type of customer the store attracts.

BARBIE:

       Did you find Latina, Asian, or Black Barbie dolls?

       Were they the same (e.g., dress, occupation, special collection status) as White
       Barbie dolls?

       How are Barbie dolls of color positioned on the shelves in relationship to White
       Barbie dolls?

       Did you find Asian, Latino, or Black Ken or other male counterparts for Barbie?

       Were they the same as White Ken or other male dolls?

       How is Ken or other male dolls displayed in relationship to Barbie?

       What kind of jobs does Barbie hold? How about Ken?

       What message does Barbie convey about beauty?

       What message does Barbie convey about social difference?
     What message does Barbie convey about women’s roles?
BRATZ:

       How is race represented among Bratz dolls?

       Are there male Bratz dolls? How are the dolls positioned in relationship to one
       another?

       What message do Bratz dolls convey about social difference?

       What message do Bratz dolls convey about beauty?

       What message do Bratz dolls convey about women’s roles?


INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR WRITE UP:

Write a brief (two to two-and-one-half page, typed, double spaced) analysis of your
findings. The analysis should include the following:

       1.     Briefly summarize your observations. Use a short paragraph to describe
              your observations (e.g., the number of dolls by race; the positioning of the
              dolls; the neighborhood the store was in)

       2.     Now analyze your findings in relationship to the course readings. Feel
              free to draw on any of the readings, but you must cite Andersen Ch. 3 and
              revisit McIntosh, “White Privilege….” Hill Collins, “Mammies,
              Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images” would also be a very useful
              lens through which to analyze your findings.

               Identify if, and how, your findings link to our readings and class
              discussions on gender (e.g., the social construction of gender, gender and
              popular culture, and gender and race). For instance, can you apply the
              concepts “center and margin” and "privilege and invisibility" in the
              McIntosh reading to your observations of Barbie and Ken. What role does
              Barbie play in gender socialization. For instance, what message does
              Barbie send to little girls? What is Ken’s role? Do Bratz dolls differ from
              Barbie? Do they send a different message about gender? Do they send a
              different message about racial diversity and beauty? In your opinion, do
              the Bratz dolls represent a more “progressive” view of gender and of
              gender and social difference?


       2.     Conclude your essay with a brief discussion of your personal reaction to
              the assignment. As a woman, how did this assignment make you feel? As
              a man, how did this assignment make you feel? As a white person, how
did this assignment make you feel? As a person of color, how did this
assignment make you feel? As a gay man or lesbian woman, how did this
assignment make you feel? As a heterosexual, how did this assignment
make you feel? Did this assignment help to highlight the course readings?
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO DISCUSS YOUR PERSONAL
REACTION IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE DOING SO. I will not
grade down if you choose to skip this part.

				
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