WS 201 Introduction to Women’s Studies
This exam is in two parts. Both parts are due by Friday February 23 by 5:00 pm in the D2L dropbox. Late Exams will result in lower grades.
Part I. Define Five of the following terms, being sure to reflect a variety in your selections and a depth in your answers. Your definitions should take about ½ page per answer, typed and double spaced, because you will need to explain them in a thorough but succinct manner. Each definition should be in two parts: (1). A definition in your own words; (2) an example of it from the readings or class discussions. Be sure to explain your points and examples, and to cite references to readings and class discussions. 50 pts. (10 pts each).
Patriarchy Compulsory Heterosexuality Institutionalized Racism
Internalized Oppression Institutionalized Classism Blaming the Victim
Privilege (white, class, heterosexual, cisgender—choose one) Sexism
Gender/Sex Matrix of Domination
Homophobia Prejudice Economic Class
Microaggression Systems of Oppression
Myth of Meritocracy Transphobia and cisgender privilege
Part II: Choose ONE of the following questions and write a 3-4 page response to it, typed and double-spaced. Your response should develop an argument that synthesizes material from the readings with textually specific references and quotes, and analyzes the issues involved. Be sure to attribute quoted or paraphrased material to proper sources and explain how they apply to your answer. Your short essay should reflect a coherent and cumulative understanding of course material thus far. (50 pts)
1. We have discussed how gender is not a natural “given,” but is in fact a social construction. Explain what it means to think of gender as a social construction, and what such a theory might offer our understanding of gender? How is gender socially produced, and what are some of the consequences of that? (part 1). Allan Johnson argue that Patriarchy is a system of oppression, and a system of power and privilege, around those gender constructions. Why, according to Johnson, is it important to see patriarchy as it operates on a systematic level, rather than simply through an individual? (part 2)
We’ve been discussing oppressions as interlocking systems that are shaped by intersections of race, class, sexuality, ability, and age. Drawing on at least three readings and class discussions, explain how people’s experiences of gender—and therefore of gender oppression and/or privilege—is shaped by their simultaneous experiences around race, class, sexuality, ability, and age. That is, what does it mean to see these issues as interdependent rather than separate? Use a specific example to help you explain your response. (part 1). Several of the articles we’ve read explain how the author’s social location—her complex identity along race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation—shape her experiences and her position in power dynamics. Drawing on one of those examples, explain the author’s point about social location and social power dynamics. Why would it be crucial for Women’s Studies and feminist movements to address gender in terms of these intersections, according to the authors we’ve read? (part 2)
We have discussed how economic and class-based systems in the United States are not natural or inevitable, but are, in fact, “due to structural, systematic, institutionalized economic and political power relations” (372). Define class and give some examples of class privilege as they create inequalities of access and opportunity. (part 1) Using class discussion and at least one other article we’ve read, explain how, according to the authors we’ve read, the myth of meritocracy can serve to make class inequalities seem “natural” (part 2). You can also discuss how class inequalities operate through development plans and gloablization.
Several Women’s Studies theorists argue that homophobia and cisgender normativity serve to uphold patriarchy, and that patriarchal ideas enable homophobia. How do homophobia and compulsory heterosexuality work together in US society? How do transphobia and cisgender privilege work together? In other words, how do the system of oppression and the system of privilege go hand in hand? (part 1) Drawing on at least two articles that we have read thus far, explain how homophobic and cisgender ideologies affects all people regardless of their sexual and gender preference? In other words, how do homophobia, gender normativity, and compulsory heterosexuality operate in contemporary society (part 2)?
5. We have discussed how racial formations are socially constructed categories that produce inequalities troughout society. Give some specific examples of how racial formations—and therefore the power relations between races—have historically changed in the United States (part 1). Drawing on at least two articles that we have read, explain how racial constructs have operated as systems of institutionalized oppression. In other words explain how racial inequalities were both created and sanctioned through social institutions. (part 2)