Resource 

Greeting Card Analysis: Gendered Constructions of Love and Parenthood

Abstract:

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This class activity uses greeting cards to illustrate how our understandings of both love and parenthood are shaped by gender, in particular dominant ideas about masculinity and femininity. To address constructions of love, students are asked to bring Valentine’s Day cards to class. To address parenthood, they bring in Mother’s and/or Father’s Day cards. Working in small groups in class, students analyze the cards for gender norms conveyed in the text and images, focusing on themes like social roles and emotional expression. The activity could be expanded into a more systematic data collection and analysis project, giving students experience with social research methods.

Details:

Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
Author(s):
Summer McWilliams, Florida State University
Anne Barrett, Florida State University 
Date Published:
4/11/2013 
Subject Area:
Family 
Class Level:
any 
Class Size:
Any 
Language:
English 


Usage Notes:

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Several days prior, students are asked to bring cards (paper version or e-copies) on the day of the activity (either Valentine’s Day or Mother’s/Father’s Day, depending on instructor’s choice). The in-class activities will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, depending on length of small group and class discussions. In larger...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Identify and critically examine dominant ideas about masculinity and femininity in our gendered social relationships, as reflected in greeting cards.
Assessment 1:
Students will describe various dimensions or types of masculinity and femininity reflected in the cards, including making observations about their relative frequencies. Students will also develop sociological explanations for the observed patterns.
Goal 2:
Identify and critically examine norms about the expression of emotion in gendered social relationships, as reflected in greeting cards.
Assessment 2:
Students will describe gendered norms regarding emotional expression in relationships reflected in the cards, including making observations about variation in these norms. Students also will develop sociological explanations for the observed patterns.
Goal 3:
Identify and critically examine heteronormative biases, as reflected in greeting cards
Assessment 3:
Students will describe the extent to which heteronormativity is reflected in the cards. Students will also develop sociological explanations for the observed patterns.

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