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ENG 360 Gender and Literature, Week 1 Notes

by: Gretta Michael

ENG 360 Gender and Literature, Week 1 Notes ENGL 360

Marketplace > Purdue University > English > ENGL 360 > ENG 360 Gender and Literature Week 1 Notes
Gretta Michael
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About this Document

These notes were taken both outside of class as I was doing the assigned reading and in-class as we were discussing it. It covers our discussions on Gender Stories, Simmering, and The Yellow Wallpa...
Gender and Literature
Nancy Peterson
Class Notes
english, Literature, Gender




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Gretta Michael on Monday August 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 360 at Purdue University taught by Nancy Peterson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 71 views. For similar materials see Gender and Literature in English at Purdue University.


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Date Created: 08/15/16
ENG 360—Gender and Literature August 22-26 Gender Stories—Reading notes The social construction of reality—the way in which people create reality together through communication (32) - Reality comes into existence through communication (32) - Items cannot be conceptualized as a specific something with a name until someone gives it that label; the way something is understood is governed by the categories and labels that have been created and taught for it (32) - Individuals are constantly interpreting and assigning meaning to the stimuli they encounter, whether physical objects or abstract ideas (33) - Individuals may have different labels for the same thing. Ex. a move to a new city may be a misfortune or an adventure (33) - Intersubjective—when more than one person sees reality in the same way (34) o Individual interpretations and experiences can become intersubjective through communication (Ex. a unique label for something can be passed down through families) (34) - When an institution is created by a community of people, its original creators see it as tenuous, easily changeable, and certainly not a fixed and objective reality. … Since they themselves shaped the reality, it is “fully transparent to them.” … they know that they have the capacity to redo it and to reconstruct it. (35) o Groups that have a vested interest in keeping the social order as it is so that they retain their power and status may work particularly hard to insure that what they have created is seen as invulnerable i.e. segregation (37) o A groups desire to see something it has created continue, however, may not be motivated by any malicious intent… Perhaps they are pleased with their creation and believe that it serves a good purpose. (38) The social construction of gender - The cultural norms that result from social construction help make women into different kinds of people in different cultures - Arbitrary Differences o Genitals are the essential signs of gender  If it weren’t for this, everything would be MUCH different o Only 2 categorizations o Everyone has to be one or the other o The male/female dichotomy is the natural one - Cultural Differences o Some cultures recognize three genders - Categorical Differences o Heterosexual vs. Homosexual and the change of their meanings over time o Male, female, herm, ferm, merm - Historical Differences o Women in the US were constructed as physically inferior to men based on their generally smaller bodies, the belief that they had less physical stamina than men, and the perception that they were physically incapacitated every month by menstruation (Lol) o Women during the 19 century were restricted to the private domestic sphere and were not allowed to participate in the public sphere of work and politics Changeable nature of reality - An objective reality that is true throughout time for all human beings does not exist o Groups of people create their own realities based on their own interpretations and their sharing of those interpretations through communication Gender binaries - Historical ideas of gender roles o Male – leader, decision-maker, independent, stoic, unemotional, bread-winners, care-takers o Female – follower, dependent, emotional, sensitive, “hysterical,” homemakers Simmering – Margaret Atwood - Role-reversal The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Disease vs. dis-ease - Depression - Dreaming of freedom - Wanted to prevent women from suffering the same fate


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