Sophomore Seminars

Gender and Media

FEMGEN 106Q
Prerequisites: 
Completion of PWR 1 or other WR 1 course.

From childhood, individuals are presented with texts and images about what it means to be female, what it means to be male, but rarely what it means to question that binary. These images and texts also present what it means to be in relationship with one another, and what it means to reject established gender roles. In this course, students will examine and research how lessons learned from popular culture impact the treatment and expectations of people individually as well as in relationship with each other. Specifically, we will analyze the ways in which news articles, movie clips, magazine advertisements, and television commercials, as well as other texts present gender identities as binary as well as gender roles of those binary structures. How are the roles and bodies of all genders presented as objects open to scrutiny, critique, exploitation, abuse, and awe? After examining rhetorical strategies and devices, we’ll read excerpts from texts by social critics such as Susan Bordo who analyze culture and its presentation of bodies. Through case studies of films and campaign ads, visits to spaces on campus that construct gender binaries, and field trips to off-campus sites, we will explore how representations of gender challenge or reinforce messages in popular media.

This course fulfills the second-level Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WRITE 2) and will emphasize oral and written presentations.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Patti Hanlon-Baker

"I began teaching at Stanford in 2005. My first eight years were spent teaching in the Program in Writing & Rhetoric, and my next five have been spent serving as associate director and instructor in the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My research interests center on how feminist critiques reveal the ways in which various discourses influence perceptions and expectations of people’s bodies and experiences, specifically how popular descriptions of pregnant bodies influence perceptions of "fit bodies." My other research and teaching interests include teaching gender issues in Greek life, how athletics drives and challenges gender structures, and feminist and LGBTQ social and political movements. I am also a Resident Fellow with my husband, two children, and two dogs in Larkin House. We’ve lived with frosh for 11 years and find ourselves learning new things each year."