Paper #2: Analyzing a Visual Text for Messages about Gender

Write a paper in which you engage in a close textual analysis of a visual text such as a TV series, film, music video, political ad or series of ads, commercial advertisement, artistic piece, etc. The purpose of your close textual analysis is to develop a paper that thoroughly answers this question: What messages or ideas about gender are embedded within this text beyond the most obvious stated, intended messages?

For the purposes of this assignment we are referring to these visual media as “visual texts” so as to emphasize that it is necessary to “read into” them in order to develop an intelligent, original analysis. Quite often, when a writer/producer/artist/etc. creates something, they embed ideas within it beyond the most obvious elements of the text. These ideas are sometimes intentionally placed so as to add more complex or nuanced meaning.
•In some cases, these messages/ideas are intentionally placed so as to provoke thought by the viewer.
•In some situations, the creator did not necessarily intend for an implied message/idea to be displayed, but they unconsciously included something that reflects messages/ideas they take for granted or those that are held by many within the society.

To engage in a true close textual analysis, you must be able to find these sub-textual messages within the visual text chosen. In other words, you are looking for meaning that is not directly stated. It may be somewhat “hidden” or might be only implied.

To help you get started in your analysis, look for details within the plot, the portrayal of characters, dialogue, sound and visual cues, and/or even framing preferences that might send messages about gender.

For this assignment, YOU MAY NOT DO ANY RESEARCH beyond viewing your chosen visual text itself. Instead, you must develop your paper based on your own ideas. Therefore, you should choose a visual text about which you feel you can develop an intelligent analysis. As mentioned with the previous paper, there are two primary reasons for this “no research” requirement: I haven’t yet taught you how to properly credit other people’s ideas (so you’ll end up committing plagiarism if you use research information at this point), plus I really want to see you develop an original analysis rather than repeat what others have already said.

Key Requirements:
•This paper must be typed, double spaced, font= times new roman 12 or arial 10.
•This paper must be at least 5 paragraphs in length AND must be at least 1000 words long. This generally equals to at least 3 complete pages. Do not exceed 6 pages. If you do not meet the minimum length requirement, you will not earn a passing grade on the paper

Any plagiarism on this paper or any of the steps in the writing process will lead to immediate failure of this course, so please do not make that mistake.

The Writing Process
1.Submit your Paper Topic Paragraph in the Assignments section of the course. In this you will explain what visual text (tv show, movie, commercial, etc) you intend to write about AND what initial ideas you see in terms of the messages it is sending about gender. I will reply with feedback on your topic as well as guidance as to issues to consider so that you can develop a complex argument.
2.Submit the Outline Worksheet in the Assignments section of the course. This worksheet can be found in the Assignments tool and the Learning Unit #3 folder as a Microsoft Word document that you can download. It asks you to develop your thesis statement as well as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. After you submit this completed worksheet, I will reply to you with feedback on your thesis & topic sentences and specific suggestions as to how these might be revised to more successfully craft a quality paper.
3.OPTIONAL: Submit a 1st draft in the Assignments section of the course. This draft should be your best attempt at the completed paper, not a “sloppy copy” or an incomplete paper. Instead, seek to develop your very best version of the paper at that point, complete with proper proofreading and editing. I will then provide my feedback as to how you can improve the paper for the final version.
4.Submit the final draft of Paper #2 in the Assignments section of the course.

How is this paper graded?

I will grade your paper based on the following elements:
•Proper essay structure, including a detailed, quality thesis statement.
•Proper grammar, spelling, syntax, and sentence mechanics.
•Proper academic tone.
•A clear, thoughtful, sophisticated, intelligent, and well-supported analysis.

This paper is not asking for a review of your chosen text (i.e. whether you like it or not). Instead, stay focused on the analysis in terms of the messages it sends about gender. Beyond the introductory paragraph, do not spend time summarizing the visual text you’ve chosen. Focus instead on making a clear set of points regarding the messages about gender being sent within your chosen text.

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