This assignment, Project 3, addresses course outcomes 3 and 6. This assignment will require you to think about gender, sexuality and social institutions. You will apply a social theory to discuss how sexism and heterosexism are embedded in social institutions. You will evaluate how inequality is created and maintained by social institutions. You will be asked to think carefully about current policies in place to prevent discrimination and bias against women and against members of marginalized sexual and gender orientations. You will be asked to make suggestions on how these policies could be improved.

For this activity, you will identify one area where sexism or heterosexism is evident in one of the social institutions. You will find a current event article from a local, national or international news source that details an institutional act of sexism or heterosexism. This might include laws that allow women or the LGBTQA community to be treated unfairly, reports on differences in pay or hiring practices, publicized violations of Title IX, or any other act that appears biased that is committed by an institution. For example, several years ago, the Boy Scouts of America (an institutionalized group) came under fire for refusing to allow gay men to serve as troop leaders. This is an example of heterosexist bias. Recently, the Pope made a statement that women were allowed to nurse their infants in any Catholic church during Mass due to some parishes banning public nursing. Banning public nursing is an act of gender bias. Be sure that you are discussing an institutional act and not an individual act of bias. You will describe the event that you have chosen. You will then apply key sociological concepts and theories to your discussion of this event. You will apply a social theory to explain why this institutional practice exists. The theory you pick will be the one that best fits your world view (structural functionalism, Conflict, Symbolic Interaction, Feminist or Queer Theory). You will discuss the positive (social stability) and negative (social dysfunction) consequences of this practice. Your discussion will focus on the structure of society and not on the individual. You will support your arguments with appropriate outside sources as needed.

Before beginning this project, please be sure you have thoroughly read and reviewed all of the content in modules 4 and 5. Pay special attention to the terms and concepts from your reading material that help you understand the way that sociologists look at and make sense of gender and institutional development in society.

Next, select a current event from a local or national news source that discusses a sexist or heterosexist act.

Then, please write a 500 – 750 word essay (at least 2 to 3 pages of double-spaced, 12-point font of text) addressing the following question prompts. A references list should make up an additional page.

  1. Briefly summarize the article that you have selected. Provide the specifics of the act and which social institution is engaged in the act.
  2. Provide a theoretical explanation for why the act occurred. This must be a structural explanation that focuses on the institution. Use the theory that best fits your understanding of the act.
  3. Discuss how this act was managed. For example, if it was illegal, what were the legal sanctions against the institution? If not illegal, what was the public response?
  4. Suggest policy changes that would prevent future occurrences of this act.

Your essay will be evaluated in terms of how thoroughly you: answer the questions above; use resources to document your main points; and properly cite referenced work. Your essay should address all of the questions above and should consist of 500-750 words (at least 2 to 3 pages of double-spaced, 12-point font of text). Citations and a references list will likely make up an additional page.

To successfully complete Project 3, you will need to organize your responses to the questions and then craft a formatted essay that includes each of the following:

  1. A title page;
  2. Well-developed introductory paragraph explaining the purpose of the essay and briefly referencing some of the main points/contentions offered in the essay;
  3. The body of the essay should consist of your effort to best answer the primary questions from the assignment prompt and should consist of 500-750 words (at least 2 to 3 pages of double-spaced, 12-point font of text). Though the method by which this is done is largely up to you, it is essential that the responses to the questions in the prompt be based upon scholarly readings and should remain at all times defensible (in an academic sense). You have a great deal of information to draw from in creating your essay, including the assigned readings and hyperlinked sources in the module notes. As is the case with every assignment in SOC101, presenting any unsubstantiated, illogical, or indefensible position will have an adverse effect on the final grade. Please direct any questions regarding these expectations to the instructor;
  4. A concise concluding paragraph that briefly restates both the purpose of the essay as well as some of the primary argument offered by you, the essay’s author. Be sure the concluding paragraph does not introduce new information;
  5. A list of all sources consulted the preparation of the essay. The essay should be formatted according to APA-style documentation. This includes the format of the list of references.
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