For your GENDER HERO, select someone who has significantly impacted the way we think about gender in the U.S. today and who is especially important to you.  Stated differently, you are to write about someone who has had an impact on your own understanding of what it means to be male, female, transgendered, androgynous, or however you define your own gender.  Examples could include the author of your textbook, Michael Kimmel, as well as people like Gloria Steinem (writer, activist, publisher), Margaret Cho (comedian and astute commentator), Maya Angelou (writer, poet, performer), and many others, male, female, transgendered, or gender fluid.  Fictional characters are acceptable (you will have to come up with some type of portrait or depiction of that person); authors are acceptable; use your imagination.

You will need to write about somebody for whom outside source material is available.  Part of the point of this assignment is for you to gain experience at assessing the accuracy of material found on the internet.  Because many of the gender heroes students write about will not be covered in academic sources, you will need to use popular sources, which make it important for you to think carefully about how accurate they may be.

  1. Using at least two reputable sources beyond your textbook, prepare a 1 page paper about this person which includes 1 or 2 visual images.  Cite your sources within your paper and in a Works Cited page according to APA style.  You should also use and cite your textbook if it covers information about your gender hero
  2. At a point in the paper where you can logically comment, discuss the sources of information you used to learn about your gender hero and assess their accuracy and usefulness.  Did you find that your sources agreed on the main points about your hero’s life?  Is the information they gave believable?  If not, what do you question, and why?
  3. Be sure to give a fairly detailed background on the person you chose.  Who is this person?  Where did s/he come from?  How was s/he in a position to do the work you admire?
  4. Using your own words, explain how this individual has affected the way we look at gender and why you think this is important.
  5. Describe what you admire about the person you chose, and what puzzles or disappoints you about him/her/them.
  6. If you were able to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with your person, what is a question you would really like to ask her/him/them?
  7. Place your person in context – given what we’ve covered in the class so far, where does he, they or she fit in?  (Use your imagination to answer this question – there is no obvious answer.)

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