GGS 379 - Sex: Gender and Popular Culture

The advent of television in 1950s America, coupled with technological advances in filmmaking popularized visual culture as a primary means of both naming and interrogating the ways in which we understand the social constructions of race, sex, gender, and sexuality. Feminist perspectives are ways ofexamining how these social constructions (and expectations) are shaped by popular culture, mainly television programming and films; and thus shape our ideas about ourselves and others as "feminine" and "masculine" and "sexual" beings. We discuss texts on and view episodes of popular television shows such as "Sex and the City," "The L Word," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and "Will and Grace." We also view several short films (as time permits). We consider a number of questions including (1) how does "entertainment" act as a substitute for the transmission of social knowledge?; (2) what are the advantages and disadvantages of popular culture in the construction of contemporary American life?; (3) how does popular culture define "racialized" bodies?; and (4) how does popular culture impact the consumption of American socio-cultural values, globally? Students will demonstrate knowledge of a broader understanding of the terms "popular culture," "entertainment," "women's television," and "mediated lives." Students who successfully complete this course should be able to articulate verbal and written alternative critiques to contemporary popular culture.