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San Diego State University Social Construction of Gender Research Paper

San Diego State University Social Construction of Gender Research Paper

Question Description

As a way of reviewing and synthesizing the main course themes, you will complete 5 synthesis think pieces, one at the end of each unit. Remember that these are the culminating assignments for each unit, which means that they are our way of assessing whether you have read, understood, and processed all of the material from the unit. They are like a mini-midterm or final for each unit. Due dates are listed in the syllabus and on Canvas. Choose a tweet (or series of tweets, no longer than 3); instagram post, OR meme that explains/reflects/synthesizes at least 2 of the keywords for the unit. Write a 2-3 sentence analysis of the tweet, instagram post, or meme that unpacks its meaning in relation to the unit themes and keywords. Include parenthetical references to the course readings that relate. Late submissions will be docked one full later grade for every day they are late.


1 2 Tweet/meme/instagram post chosen for analysis is relevant to course unit.

1 2 Think piece successfully engages at least 2 keywords from relevant course unit.

1 2 Demonstrates understanding of course readings from the relevant unit by specifically referencing at least 2, at least one of which must be connected to a keyword and a class prep (a pdf, not an online article).

1 2 Shows an integrated understanding of the unit’s main themes.


STP meme example.png

The social construction of gender is a concept that refers to the way that social norms collectively shape the meaning of gender; they do so by creating a shared set of “meanings and symbols” enforced by the “rules, privileges, and punishments” associated with either upholding or transgressing these meanings and symbols (Wilchins 25). This meme makes the common mistake of assuming that “social construction” means that something is not real. On the contrary: the social construction of gender and sex as binary are such powerful social realities that, as Cheryl Chase says, to fall outside of these binaries is “humanly possible, but socially unthinkable” (207).

Unit five is focused on seizing the medium to shift the message – in other words, it is interested in thinking about how to change the “system failure” we talked about in the last unit and shift toward more liberatory possibilities.

In unit 5, our keywords were reclaim (we talked about this in relation to Chicanx feminist zines — “femzines” — and their potential to foster healing and reclaiming our womxn’s bodies from patriarchal violence), possibility (we particularly talked about this in relation to the idea of turning trauma into possibility and imagining new futures through relationality and collectivity rather than individualism), sample (we talked about this in relation to building on and transforming what has come before, as in Palestinian hip hop artists who sample beats or loops from a US Black political hip hop tradition), subversive (we talked about this in relation to the web comic Qahera, and Deena Mohamed’s critique of FEMEN in it), and visualize (we talked about this in terms of making visible people who have been overlooked and made invisible and also in terms of thinking about how to imagine and create a new vision).

As you look back over the readings and what we talked about, you might want to ask yourself: what kinds of resistance do the readings from this unit pose for how to address the types of “system failure” that we discussed in the last unit? Make sure you explain the 2 keywords you choose in relation to the question of how they relate to seizing the medium to shift the message.

General tips: The more specific your meme/tweet/Insta post is, the easier it will be for you to analyze it in relation to at least two keywords from this unit. Also, the two keywords you choose should represent the overall themes of the unit as a whole.

Video for the keyword subversive

Video for the keyword visualizing

video for the keyword relational politics

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