FINAL BR for the semester.  Cut-off date posting is December 9, 2013. 

READ: "War Against Boys" (by Kimmel - in Dropbox "Articles" folder)

1. Summary: Discuss what is meant by “the war on boys.” What is meant by “misguided feminism”? What are Kimmel’s counter-claims to these arguments?
2.  Regarding the following quote from the article

On college campuses, wo.men now constitute the majority of students, passing men in 1982, so that in eight years women will earn 58 percent of bachelor's degrees in U.S. colleges. Doomsayers lament that women now outnumber men in the social and behavioral sciences byabout 3 to 1, and they've "invaded" such traditionally male bastions as engineering (where they now make up 20 percent of all students) and biology and business (virtually par).

What accounts for these surges in outcomes for women in higher learning? Why might this be seen as a
threat to some interests? Also, what other academic “bastions” are considered “male” in our culture?
How are some disciplines gendered “male”?

3. Kimmel references sociologist Cynthia Fuchs who says that the gender distinctions are “deceptive.”
What does she mean by this? What is her more balanced way of looking at the issue?

 4. Math and science are for boys. English and foreign languages are for girls. Therefore, boys who like
English are “girlie,” and girls who like science are “butch.” As new scholars in academia, have you
observed anything in your experiences to support or contradict these stereotypes?

READING:  "There Is No Unmarked Woman" by Deborah Tannen(click on link or find article in the course Dropbox "Article" folder)
PictureFrom a "What to wear for an interview" website. Presumably, the "don't" doesn't include having dark hair?

1.  Briefly describe what Tannen means by "marked" and "unmarked" in terms of gender identity. 

2.  Two women. One woman is wearing flat-soled shoes.  The other is wearing pumps with a fairly substantial heel. What are disadvantages AND possible advantages of both types of shoes for the women involved? 

3.  Why would Tannen’s “merely mentioning women and men” in her work mark her as a feminist? 

5.  Speculate: What would have happen if a man took his wife’s surname?  Who would be marked/remain unmarked? Also, without using the word “tradition,” consider why women (for the most part) continue to take the husband’s surname, while only a handful of men adopt the wife’s surname. 

6.  In what ways do men in society have the “option” (in Tannen’s words) of remaining unmarked? 


PictureKerri Walsh...multi-gold medalist and maybe one-half of the greatest beach volleyball team in history. But as this ad suggests, it may not enough. Locating the sex-angle for the male (and perhaps female) gaze seems of greater importance than underscoring her athletic accomplishments.

Reading: “I Won. I'm Sorry”  by Mariah Burton Nelson (SOL – 569 - 575)

POST CUT-OFF:  NOON 11/10/2013

1.  Some sports are seen as gendered-female, meaning they are coded for women or girl athletes more than for males. What are some of these sports and why do you think they are considered “women’s sports?”  What sports could plausibly become  sports “acceptable” for  women to participate in?


 2. Discuss the connection between sexuality and women’s athletics in reference to Nelson’s comments about it on page 572.   For further reference, you may want to check out this website of images for “sexy female athletes” Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, Jenny Finch, and Gina Carano. 


3. Implicit in these discussion is the argument that sexualizing and objectifying female (and, in some cases, male) athletes for predominately male fantasies is wrong, degrading of women, misogynistic, and patronizing.  But are there other ways of looking at this issue which we haven’t considered? Is it so bad? Should we just all “lighten up?” Or is there something more serious going on?


Readings: “Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes” (SOL – 672-677)

“The Gender Blur” (SOL – 678-685)

POST CUT-OFF:  NOON 11/3/2013

- Devor’s essay implies that “gendered” qualities associated with women are construed as negative by society But presumably we (humans in a society) would not do something that wasn’t advantageous to our existence. Why might some women “get” from behaving in accord with the gender role behaviors and attitudes that Devor describes?

- Connecting these articles to the culture of consumption, what social cues do boys, girls, women, and men receive from the media which might reinforce the “hegemony” of the gender behaviors Devor describes?

- Blum discusses remote mountain villages in the Caribbean where boys are raised as “conditional girls” due to a genetic defect. Blum notes that there is a “comfort level” and a “tolerance” of these inter-gendered children and contrasts it with similar occurrences in the U.S. and Europe. How might you explain this tolerance? Why is it absent in American culture?

- In terms of the causes of male aggressiveness, which author has the more persuasive argument? Why?


Summarize comedian Louis CK's argument against cell phones.  What do you think of his point? Are his criticisms valid?  How might his argument inform a our discussion about "The Real"?

Have you ever tried "just sitting", rather than jumping on the cell phone? If you have, describe the experience and how it felt.  If you have never tried, describe the impulses that drive you to distractions offered by our smart phones.  

PictureSometimes you have to spend a lot of money to look cheap.
Please read Joan Kron's "The Semiotics of Home Decor" in Signs of Life.  Respond to the following questiions. 

According to Kron, how are our possessions representative of us?   How do possessions “provide the cue that is used in order to discover the  status of others”?  

“Our possessions give us a sense of security and stability.”  How does Kron explain this assertion?  How might we feel if our possessions are taken from us, say by theft or disaster? Is this a healthy or unhealthy way to feel?


The executive summary is a self-analysis tool that is often used in writing courses to help the writer assess his or her writing process.  

Include the following discussion points in your response.  Feel free to discuss other experiences and aspects of the assignment as well. Your responses should be of a length comparable to the Blog Responses from the SOL readings. 

By the way, the "executive" in "executive summary refers to YOU, the writer. You are the executive in charge of your process. 

·         What did  you find most challenging about this essay?  What strategies did you employ to overcome these challenges?

·         What have you learned about yourself as a writer while working on essay 1?  What skills do you think need further development?  What did you do especially well?

·         What do you plan to do differently during the Essay 2 process?  What strengths will you continue to bring to the writing?  What new skills will you be trying to develop?

PictureThe famous Pop Art instillation of Brillo Boxes by Andy Warhol
Read "What's in a Package?"  - (118-127)
How does packaging stimulate the desire to buy? in your own experience, do you find these techniques to be successful?  

Consider Hine's description of the change from glass to plastic ketchup bottles.  Why do you think it took so long for major ketchup manufacturers to shift to the obviously more efficient dispenser? 


How is shopping, in Norton's view, a "subversive" activity for women? Also, what might shopping mean for men? Girls? Boys?

I am posting two more BRs, #3, ("The Science of Shopping  pgs 97 -103) and BR #4, "The Signs of Shopping"  pgs 104 -110) The responses may be informal but they need to be complete answers that sincerely address the reading and all elements of the questions. Although I hesitate to give a length minimum, in general, responses that are 75% of a page single-spaced,hand-written notebook page tend to be more complete.

By this point I want to start having firm posting dates for responses.  I would like us to up to a through BR #4 by Wednesday, 5:00 PM (both classes). I definitely want to discuss these articles during our first meeting of the upcoming week. 

if you'd like to read the original, longer article, simply click this link. 

Briefly summarize, in your own words (with limited quotes) the following concepts utilized by
Paco Underhill in his consultancy:

  • Decompression Zone
  • “Butt-Brush” Theory
  • Invariant Right
  • Petting

Discuss the implication of Underhill’s practices, including his use of surveillance cameras. Try to
answer Gladwell’s question: “Should we be afraid of Paco Underhill?” 


    Prof. David Fulton

    I received my MA in English from CSU, Northridge and his .MFA in Creative Writing from CSU, Long Beach. I have  been teaching College English since 2004.. I am a published poet and was recently a Pushcart Prize finalist for my poem "Hubris" In addition to teaching,, I enjoy cooking, figuring out how to garden, going to the gym, researching Shakespeare, and watching MMA. 


    October 2013
    September 2013
    August 2013