Tags: gender, inequality, marketing/brands, marriage/family, media, social construction, commercial, culture, domestic labor, gender socialization, motherhood, stereotypes, unpaid work, women's work, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: In this advertisement for P&G (Proctor and Gamble) products the claim is made that a mother's job is the hardest job in the world, but also the best job. The short clip constructs a very narrow representation of motherhood throughout the world as it takes viewers through a dramatization of several Olympic athlete's upbringing. In each case, and in the various cultures, the mother is responsible for things such as: waking the child, getting the child off to school, feeding and clothing the child, dressing injuries, and taking them to extra-curricular (sporting) activities. Men are excluded from any form of domestic labor, and they are only present for the viewing of the sporting events. Throughout the dramatization, the assumption is that these are the tasks that mothers perform, and if the job is done well the child will reach success. The last few seconds of the clip show the mothers reaping the reward of their efforts while celebrating their grown child's Olympic success. This clip could would fit nicely with discussions of the social construction of familial/gender roles. This depiction is a narrow and stereotypical construction of a woman's role in the family. The media is a major socializing force in society, and they have the power to create and uphold these ideal types through the images and stories they produce. Viewing of this video could also lead to an in-depth discussion of gender inequality within the family with regard to unpaid, domestic labor. Why are women the only ones performing these duties? Do men contribute to the birth of an Olympic athlete (maybe they're saving this for Father's Day)? Furthermore, it could result in a discussion about the appropriation of holidays and other cultures to market and sell products.
Submitted By: Tracy DeHaan, University of Oregon
Tags: aging/life course, art/music, emotion/desire, marriage/family, methodology/statistics, biography, data visualization, divorce, memory, narrative, storytelling, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: In this clip "Polly", a 65 year old woman from the Midlands in the UK, recalls the time as a child when her parents sat her down and asked her which of them she wanted to be with. Her story, re-narrated by three players, represents how this traumatic event became an enduring memory throughout the various stages of her life. This video exhibits how sociologists can draw upon biography and narrative to explore any number of sociological concepts; in this particular clip, Polly's narration of her own biography can be used to explore sociological understandings of memory, emotion, family, and the life course. For example, the clip could be useful in a class on cognitive sociology, highlighting how cognitive processes, such as memory, are shaped by socio-cultural events, such as divorce. In addition to using the clip as a way to interrogate biography and narrative as sociological methods of research, the clip could also be a nice launching pad from which to introduce an assignment where students create their own videos, using their own biographical narratives as a window through which to explore larger sociological phenomena, much in the way C.W. Mills suggested. The clip's Vimeo webpage provides production details about the video, as well as a link to a paper by Kip Jones, the video's writer and producer, "The Art of Collaborative Storytelling: Arts-Based Representations of Narrative Contexts," which tells more about Polly's story and Jones' method. Kip Jones describes the clip as an "experiment in visualisation of research data."
Submitted By: Kip Jones
Tags: capitalism, historical sociology, inequality, marriage/family, race/ethnicity, racism, slavery, white privilege, 61+ mins
Access: Netflix (trailer here)
Summary: This full-length documentary follows a family's journey—headed by family member/filmmaker Katrina Browne—through the Triangle Trade between Rhode Island, West Africa, and Cuba. In doing so, family members begin to recognize how their White privilege is directly tied to enslavement of Africans by their ancestors. The film is useful for the classroom in four ways: 1) it provides a history lesson of the Triangle Trade, demonstrating how the American North was/is as culpable in the enslavement of Africans as the South, 2) it demonstrates the direct tie between New World/American capitalism and its survival to the slave trade, 3) it slowly reveals the consciousness-raising of privileged White folks as they understand how their privilege is directly tied to slavery and racism, and 4) it demonstrates the awkward yet necessary dialogues and discussions White people need to have about U.S. history and racism. I like to use this film as a companion to Tim Wise's talk "The Pathology of White Privilege." After my students watch Traces of the Trade and Wise's talk, we discuss how contemporary White privilege is directly tied to the conception of our nation, the contradictions and paradoxes of capitalism and democracy, and their own embodied and/or witnessed experiences of White privilege. The film's website includes purchasing information and teaching materials. Another great companion piece to Browne's documentary is the book Inheriting the Trade. Written by Browne's relative Thomas DeWolf, the book more deeply documents the family's physical and social psychological journey.
Submitted By: Beverly M. Pratt
Zach Wahls testifies before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee
_Tags: inequality, lgbtq, marriage/family, prejudice/discrimination, sex/sexuality, social construction, law, parenting, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: What is a family? This is the fundamental question posed by Zach Wahls' testimony given here. This testimony was given to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about House Joint Resolution 6, which proposed amending the Iowa Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. In his testimony, Wahls argues "the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other, to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones; it comes from the love that binds us." He notes that in discussions about gay marriage, the question often comes up about whether or not gay parents can successfully raise a child. Citing several of his own impressive accomplishments, he argues that clearly is not an issue. Instead, the issue around gay marriage is discrimination. Wahls states you are "voting for the first time in the history of our state to codify discrimination into our constitution"; "you are telling Iowans that some among you are second class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love." Viewers themselves can be encouraged to consider what defines family? How does the state define family, and how do these definitions have consequences for existing families? What does it mean to view family as an institution within a sociological perspective? Viewers may also consider the broader history of discrimination encoded in laws, from race and ethnicity, to gender and sexuality. This can also be put in the broader national context of the fight for marriage equality, as demonstrated in this clip, which shows a conservative defending marriage equality from common conservative critiques.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: gender, goffman, marriage/family, theory, motherhood, role expectations, role conflict, social status, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Anita Renfroe uses music and comedy to present a day in the life of a mom. “Momsense” (also called “Momisms”), set to the William Tell Overture, is her rendition of the many conversations between mothers and their children. This short clip works well as an introduction to social status, social roles, and role expectations. It also illustrates the scripts of mothers (Goffman’s dramaturgy). Before the clip is shown, ask students to identify the role expectations of mothers. After the clip, discuss which phrases (or scripts) were familiar to them and illustrated various role expectations. Here, instructors can move to a discussion about such things as: 1) role strain, or the difficulty of competing demands of motherhood; 2) role conflict, or the difficulty that mothers face in balancing work and family; and 3) status, including privileges extended to mothers because of their position in society. Another interesting discussion could focus on gender role expectations of fathers (Renfroe created a similar rendition called “Dadsense”, with the only words being “go ask your mom”). Students can explore Kimmel’s idea of multiple masculinities and a broadening idea of gender roles. An instructor might even pose the question, do students think that their generation will become more accepting of the nurturing and caregiving role of fathers?
Submitted By: Cindy Wasberg
Tags: gender, inequality, marriage/family, organizations/occupations/work, housework, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Access: no online access (transcript and still shots here)
Summary: This short scene from The Office (season 5, episode 9; 12:39-13:19) is an excellent illustration of Francine Deutsch's work on strategies men use to resist doing housework. Drawing upon observations and interviews with 150 dual-earner couples (for a total of 300 interviews), Deutsch outlines five strategies men deploy--either knowingly or not--to avoid equally participating in household chores; they are: (1) passive resistance, (2) incompetence, (3) praise, (4) different standards, and (5) denial. In this episode, Pam is grossed out by the filthy microwave in the office kitchen. She leaves an anonymous note, requesting people to clean up their mess. Some office colleagues interpret her note as obnoxious and elitist. Later in the day, her co-worker Ryan confides in her that he is "totally on [her] side with the whole microwave situation," yet he not-so-subtly hints that she should be the one to ultimately clean the mess. A transcript of their interaction illustrates how Ryan resists Pam's suggestion that he, the office temp, would be the most appropriate one to clean the microwave. Ryan demonstrates Deutsch's concept of incompetence, suggesting that he "would just make it worse" and he is "hopeless at that stuff." In addition to incompetence, students can be encouraged to come up with alternative responses Ryan might have said that would have illustrated other strategies Deutsch identifies men use to resist doing housework.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp
Tags: gender, inequality, lgbtq, marriage/family, prejudice/discrimination, sex/sexuality, social construction, coming out, gender identity, 21 to 60 mins
Access: no online access (trailer here)
Summary: “What’s different about our show is that it really celebrates what it means to be LGBT in the United States,” says Andrew Goldberg, the film’s producer and director. This film is a collection of unique and inspiring personal narratives told through the lens of the country's most prominent LGBT figures and pioneers, as well as many average, yet extraordinary, citizens from the gay community. Some examples include the story of a transexual who formerly self-identified as a lesbian; experiences with homophobia; discussion of the criminalization of homosexuality; the use of symbols within the LGBT community to communicate their sexual orientation; the term "gaydar"; and experiences of being closeted. The stories cross lines of gender, race, class, and age to tell stories of love and the experiences of people in the LGBT community. It can be used to spark discussions of gender identity; the social construction of sex and gender; the relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality, and social problems related to the LGBT community. Furthermore, the film weaves the stories of many people together, lending itself to the selection of brief segments on individual stories to accommodate shorter clips in the classroom.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Multi-racial and multi-ethnic identities are on the rise
Tags: children/youth, community, demography/population, immigration/citizenship, marriage/family, multiculturalism, nationalism, race/ethnicity, social construction, 00 to 05 mins
Access: New York Times
Summary: This video accompanies a New York Times article about mixed race students on college campuses in America. Profiling students at the University of Maryland, young adults speak out about multi-racial and multi-ethnic identities, relationships, and "racial distinctions of behavior" (as one student puts it). Driven by increasing immigration and interracial marriages, young people today represent a significant and unprecedented demographic shift in the United States. Students respond to this changing environment by raising awareness about multi-racial and multi-ethnic issues and creating a safe space for a multi-cultural community on college campuses. This clip would be useful for initiating class discussions around racial and ethnic identities, social constructions of race, as well as a critical conversation around racial and ethnic behaviors, interactions and performances (stemming from the student's remark about "racial distinctions of behavior"). Finally, students can use the clip to contemplate the future of race and ethnicity in America, and the potential for change. Do students think racism will disappear as America becomes increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic?
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp
Tags: Inequality, lgbtq, prejudice/discrimination, marriage/family, sex/sexuality, same sex marriage, marriage equality, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: This is a compilation of interview questions between Fox News host Chris Wallace and conservative lawyer, Ted Olson, who represented Bush in Bush v. Gore. He appeared on Fox News to discuss his recent victory in overturning Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage. Throughout this compilation, Olson defends marriage equality (i.e. same sex marriage) against several common conservative critiques, and stresses marriage as a right upheld by the constitution.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: class, gender, intersectionality, marriage/family, media, race/ethnicity, representation, welfare, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This is Sade’s music video for the song “Babyfather.” The video depicts Sade in what many Americans identify as the traditional homemaker role from the 1950s. On the one hand, this video can certainly be criticized as yet another sexist attempt to pair women with homemaking. On the other hand, the video's protagonist is a Black woman in a role the media almost exclusively reserves for white women. The video further challenges stereotypes by featuring this Black woman in a reasonably affluent suburb, thereby derailing easy and problematic associations of Blacks and poverty. The clip might be useful for jump starting a discussion about how the characters of visual media are so often narrowly written with a set of attributes, which are closely tied to the character's race and gender. Perhaps it's true that the re-creation of these raced and gendered archetypes are aligned with audience expectations, but one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the media was instrumental in creating those expectations in the first place. Because so few stories about Americans during the 1950s ever prominently feature Blacks as residents of the growing suburbs, this music video can be analyzed as an example of subversive media, and on that score, it works well with Beyoncé’s video "Why Don't You Love Me," (here) which similarly depicts an affluent Black woman homemaker in 1950s America.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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