course title Topics,

NB: In the following schedule of assignments, WRWC refers to the class text (Hunter College Women's Studies Collective. Women's Realities, Women's Choices: An Introduction to Women's Studies. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). Readings are due on the date indicated for the topic. Notes are linked to the relevant topics. The following links will take you to major gateway sites that include information about many web pages relevant to our subject; look under individual topics for more specific links. Click on the link to see an e-mail challenge posted to students in two different classes this semester.


January 26: Introduction to the course

January 28: Theoretical concepts and definitions: Women's Studies and feminism; types of power; transgendered moments

lenses of gender

February 2: Concepts of sex and gender; lenses of gender

Reaction Paper (due February 2): Describe your initial reaction to the Bem and Keller readings. Do you think Bem’s concept of “the lenses of gender” is a useful way of examining human ideas and behavior? Why or why not? Give one concrete example of the operation of what Bem calls “the androcentric lens.” What are the similarities between Bem’s and Keller’s understanding of gender?


beauty myth

February 4: woman defined through biology

February 8: the “beauty myth” and body image

February 11: ideas about woman's “nature”

February 16-18: imagery and symbolism; use the e-mail discussion list to respond to this challenge

Reaction Paper (due February 18): From a popular magazine or newspaper, find an advertisement whose imagery reinforces traditional gender constructions. Xerox the ad (or cut it out if the magazine is your own) and explain how you would change the imagery of the ad to undermine these gender constructions.

February 23: psychology, socialization, and “femininity”

diversity among womendiversity among women

February 25-March 2: commonality and differences among women: race, class, age, etc.

Reaction Paper (due March 2): Please send me this paper by e-mail if at all possible. I would like to post some of these papers anonymously and use them as the basis for further class discussion. Click here for some sample responses: African American Persona, Asian Persona, Native American Persona, White Persona.
Take the perspective of a racial or ethnic group to which you do not belong; briefly describe the imaginative personality you have adopted and write a response to the readings for this unit from within this personality. Looking through the eyes of this other person, describe what you see as the most difficult obstacles for feminism caused by differences among women and suggest some ways of overcoming these obstacles.


March 9-11: gendered modes of communication


March 23: the construction of sexuality; marriage

March 25: domestic violence—special presentation by alumna Bushra Rehman and Sakhi, an organization based in New York City and committed to ending violence against women of South Asian origin

March 30: parenting; topic statement for critical paper due March 30

April 1: alternatives

April 6-8: team presentations of Gender in Cyberspace projects; working bibliography for critical paper due April 8


April 13-15: education; article summary and plan for critical paper due April 15

April 20-22: religion

April 27-29: employment

May 4-6: law and politics; final version of critical paper due May 4


May 11-13: strategies for the future

May 20 by 5:00 pm: final project due

revised May, 1999
Barbara F. McManus
WMS 048 Syllabus