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Midterm Papers

Prompt 2: Describe how a diversity approach could create a third space and what limitations this might have.

A huge aspect of how American culture functions today is based on dichotomies. Diversity approach allows individuals to have different ways of approaching issues and this results in dichotomies within our society. Diversity approach supports that everyone has different competencies and different attitudes towards issues (Dennison 1.9.2018). Individuals are constantly being grouped into categories due to the dichotomies that are present in our society. Having the diversity approach towards these issues creates a way of thinking or place that rejects the dichotomies, these are called third spaces (Dennison 1.9.2018). The third space allows people to think in a different way about the dichotomies and to challenge them to lessen the inequality within our society.

An expressive culture that explores this concept is the “The Hidden History of Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language”. Martha’s Vineyard is a place in which deafness was not considered a form of suffering or disability (Dennison 1.9.2018). The people who lived in this place accepted the people who were deaf. Instead of viewing deafness as a disability, they created a way of thinking or place that does not isolate anyone from the community (Dennison 1.9.2018). This community did not have a normal versus abnormal or an ability versus disability dichotomy. Because the use of sign language was socially accepted both for the people who were deaf and people not deaf. The sign language that was used in this community fully presents the diversity approach in creating third spaces, so that deaf people do not get isolated from the community.

A meaningful quote from the reading, “Comics Perfectly Illustrate the BS People with Disabilities Put Up With”, states that “There’s no right or wrong way to be disabled” (Wanshel 2016). This comic shows that everyone has different ways of approaching in society. Everyone copes with a disability differently. Instead of thinking that this person is different and that there is a clear distinction between what is normal and what is considered abnormal. People should reject dichotomies and challenge the status quo (Dennison 1.9.2018) to make sure that these people with disabilities are also considered a part of the community and not being constantly excluded.

            However, having a diversity approach in creating third spaces can also create limitations. There are many cultures around the world and the ideas that circulate from generation to generation are constantly changing. A person in a community might have different views on how to approach an issue since everyone is associated with different cultures. What is considered “abnormal” in one culture might be considered “normal” in another. In addition, what might be considered “normal” in this generation might be considered different in the next generation. By having diversity approach produces dichotomies. One group of the dichotomy is usually more powerfully privileged than the other (Dennison 1.9.2018). By having power in society and a broad spectrum of ideas, might influence more people to reject third spaces and limit the ways in which we move away from dichotomies.

Prompt 3: What are some of the ways that stereotype threat can play out in gender codes?

A group that is socially categorized as different from the norm in society are often negatively viewed differently and face harsh treatment. Stereotypes are introduced to society at a young age, even before someone is born such ashen parents are expecting a male or a female at birth. In society, we all have a “shared set of languages or rules” (Dennison 1.16.2018). This creates a system called gender codes in which the gender binaries are enhanced. In which we are expected to look, act, and behave a certain way in society. However, when someone disrupts the binary between what it means to be a male or female, the risk of being viewed as an “imposter” and being more prone to stereotypes becomes more prevalent (Dennison 1.16.2018).

Children are being exposed to the different norms of society at a young age. For example, in the article, “Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls”, Yang focuses on the idea that there are different ways that parents are communicating with their sons compared to their daughters. In the article fathers “are more focused on achievement” (Yang 2017) for their sons compared to daughters who are treated with a focus on the loving care and emotions (Yang 2017). This enhances the stereotypes that are set upon our society. This shows that it is more culturally acceptable for males to focus on the “masculinity” aspect of their personality rather than “femininity”. Parents are raising their children, based on what is socially and culturally acceptable to society.

An expressive culture example from the class that showcases how stereotype threats play a role in gender codes is bathrooms. Bathrooms are a type of infrastructure in which gender binaries are presented on the door (Dennison 1.16.2018). This is often a place of violence due to reasons that if your identity does not fit the sign on the door, it will probably a place of harassment and violence (Dennison 1.16.2018). Bathrooms are only enhancing the stereotypes that enhance the gender codes that are used in society. It is supporting the idea that there is a clear difference between how society views a male and a female.

Magazine Covers are often used as a type of media to distribute stereotypes about gender. Magazine covers create the norm about how a male and a female should act. However, for the individuals who challenge and disrupt gender codes, this leads to stereotype threats. When people begin to disrupt the binary norms or in general begin showing qualities of the other gender. Such as the author of this comic strip described his younger self-having hobbies that, “were perceived as feminine-like cooking, dancing, singing” (Humphris 2017). He would become embarrassed about his interest and often stopped doing those hobbies. Due to the ostracizing nature of society which often leads to stereotyping threats and people being viewed as “imposters” that do not “fit” in society (Dennison 1.16.2018). There are a set of expectations in society, and people are afraid of living up to that negative expectation. Overall, people should be able to decide the type of person they want to be and other people’s gender expectations should not affect that decision. Society and people in power create these stereotype threats and creates these gender binaries.

Prompt 4: What are some similarities and differences between ableism and heteronormativity?

Ableism and heteronormativity are explored in the dichotomies between ability/disability and straight/gay respectively. Although, they are two different set of dichotomies both share common approaches in how society is structured. There is a saying that an individual can freely express his or her interest, rights and privileges. However, everyone has their own opinion to these different dichotomies, which often leads to problems for certain groups in society.

Ableism is the discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It is a structure of power due to the dominant views that devalue and limit access to disabled individuals (Dennison 1.9.2018). The piece of expressive culture that was intertwined with ableism is, “The Curb”. Able-bodied individuals often disregard a disabled individual’s needs such as incorporating ramps and curbs for disabled people to get and from places safely. Abled-bodied individuals may unintentionally make a disabled individual feel left out. This leads to the idea of, “The Curb” being “a source of social exclusion” (Dennison 1.9.2018). Which prohibits the access of disabled bodies to cross the street safely. According to the Seattle Times Article, “Seattle may have to spend millions making sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities”, the curb ramp issue took a while for it to become approved as a case because the claims that were argued were constantly denied (Gutman 2017). The more powered-able-bodied individuals socially exclude people with disability because able-bodied individuals do not really think about the need for curb ramps and who needs them. Due to the idea that disabled individuals are lacking and underdeveloped.

Ableism is defined by how people in power view people who are disabled versus someone who is not disabled. In contrast, heteronormativity is about the relationship between a male and a female that is considered the norm in society due to the social codes that are accepted in society (Dennison 1.23.2018). According to the article called, “Why Heteronormativity is a Bad Thing” by Cochrane explains the reasons why we should reject ideas of heteronormativity. In this short article, the author explains how, “If you’re not heteronormative, you’re forced to explain yourself, while cisgender and heterosexual people don’t have to” (Cochrane 2016). Cochrane convinces the reader to not assume that if a person does not “come out”, it does not mean they identify as straight by default (Cochrane 2016). A person might be afraid of living up to a negatively viewed image due to the oppression and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community.

Both terms relate to the term, “Majoritarianism”. As heteronormativity is the norm in society it is the viewpoint of the majority (Dennison 1.23.2018). The government tends to reinforce ideas of the majority, due to many people who are in power are part of the majority and disregard the well-being of minorities. In this case, the minorities are the disabled bodies and individuals who challenge the heteronormativity norm. In our society, there have been multiple supreme court cases in which, the bans on same-sex marriage has been struck down (Boso 2016). Even though the court members have decided to favor same-sex marriage the discrimination and stereotype threats towards the LGBTQ community experiences are becoming worse. There are groupings in society and not being a part of the majority or the norm puts you in the minority or abnormal category. Whether it is being disabled or being straight or gay there is social exclusion. I think that individuals should be aware and to respect, an individual’s interest, needs, who they want to be attracted to, and how that individual identifies him/her self should be regardless of the situation.

Prompt 5: Describe how sexuality codes work to create rape culture and what kinds of codes could challenge this culture?

The ideas of sexuality codes and rape culture revolve around sexual assaults that are happening around the world. Sexuality codes are how we legalize sexuality through religion, laws, science, and media (Dennison 1.23.2018). Sexuality codes are dictating the roles of a man and a woman to show what they can and cannot do. These codes help shape and create rape culture, which is how society normalizes sexual assaults (Dennison 1.23.2018). There are many ways rape culture is normalized, such as “blaming the victim, trivializing sexual assault to maintain male privilege” (Dennison 1.31.2018). There always seems to a clear difference between the role of a man and a role of the woman in society.

Sexuality Codes are explored through the expressive culture of “No Homo” by Jay Smooth. In the short video, being a man is associated with being masculine and to view woman as sexual objects (Smooth 2008). A male saying, “no homo” after saying a phrase that might be perceived as feminine, is due to the fear of society possibly viewing that person as being feminine (Smooth 2008). This creates rape culture because society is constantly showing that there is a difference between the roles of a man and a role of a woman. A man in society will try to live up to that masculine image and to normalize sexual assaults because that is how the male role is perceived as.

However, there are ways that people are using sexuality codes to challenge rape culture. One of the ways that sexuality codes are challenging rape culture is a piece of expressive culture called the #METOO. The #METOO movement was to empower a woman especially vulnerable young black woman, to think critically about sexual assaults and harassment and how it has an impact on our culture (Dennison 1.23.2018). Woman are coming together to challenge rape culture and realize that they can make a change about this issue. Another way that sexuality codes have challenged rape culture is through the article called “We asked readers how they learned about consent — here’s what 250 of them said” by Paige Cornwell. The article thoroughly analyzes and persuades individuals who have been through sexual assaults to explain their experiences about this issue. Cornwell describes how she interviewed multiple women and concludes that they do not know about consent until they were adults. She emphasizes how important it is to teach young children about consent to stop the perpetuation of rape culture (Cornwell 2018). An individual should be able to say “no” and be respected for their decision, to lessen sexual assaults around the world and to challenge rape culture because sexual assaults can have long-lasting effects on a person. 

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