In her essay, Judith Butler writes about a “gender norm.” In Brenda’s case, the question was whether she fit into the “feminine” norm when she was living outwardly as a girl (752). Butler does not believe, however, that these norms are “natural”; rather, she believes they are “implemented” (we might say “taught” or “forced on us”) by society.
Germaine Greer has a similar point of view. She claims that masculinity and femininity are cultural constructs which we are taught—in sometimes subtle ways—from early childhood. She, however, is more specific about the differences between the masculine and feminine “constructs” or “norms” which we are taught; for example, she writes that men are taught to be “expressionless” while women, we can assume, are taught the opposite. For this assignment, look through a popular magazine such as Vanity Fair, Surfer, or Maxim (or you can go online) for an advertisement that depicts a man and a woman and write an essay in which you explain how the models in the ad do or do not adhere to Greer’s and/or Butler’s claims about how we are taught to look and behave. There may be other people in the ad, but focus your comparison on just one man and one woman. Because she is more specific about the differences, Greer is most important to this assignment, but use Butler IF you think she is relevant to your advertisement. Some aspects of the ad you MIGHT want to consider are the models’ postures, expressions, styles of dress, etc. You will need at least two quotes from Greer and/or Butler and a “Works Cited” page. Also, IF POSSIBLE, include a copy of the advertisement with your essay (having the ad will make the essay easier for me to grade, but if you don’t have an easy way to send it to me, don’t worry about it).
Finally, a word about organization. Sometimes writers are tempted to organize this type of paper by writing about one model in the first half and the other in the second half of the essay. I wouldn’t do that. Instead, focus your paragraphs on features—such their expressions, how they are dressed, etc.
Really finally—be very specific and detailed when you are describing the models. What EXACTLY do their expressions (for example) say, and why?