Summary: This humorous clip comes from a series called “Tales of Mere Existence” by Lev Yilmaz and seems to depict Yilmaz's experience in middle school. In a monotone voice, Yilmaz explains that he was never able to carry his books "correctly," or at least in a way that satisfied the boys who bullied him. I see this clip as being useful in a class on the sociology of gender or sexuality in a couple of different ways. First, one could certainly use the clip to open a discussion about West and Zimmerman's notion of "doing" gender. The clip is rather effective at demonstrating that gender is not simply ascribed, nor is it only achieved through overt presentations; rather, it is embodied in seemingly mundane acts like carrying books. Second, at about two minutes into the clip, Yilmaz explains that he began carrying his books against his chest by wrapping both arms around them. He soon learned that "there seems to be an unwritten but nonetheless common knowledge that this is the way that girls carry their books," but then in the very next sentence Yilmaz explains that this made him "the least heterosexual person of all time." Students can be directed to reflect on the ease with which Yilmaz moves from what is ostensibly a reflection about his gender presentation to one about his sexuality. I would argue that this easy slip from talking about gender to sexuality highlights the way in which these socially constructed categories are tightly intertwined, and it reveals the way that gender actually organizes one's sexual identity.
Thanks to Sociological Images for suggesting this clip.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist