January 16

ELA A10 B7 Roles of Gender in Society – Topics to Consider

You’ll be doing some research on a topic that relates to the current roles our genders hold in society. The purpose of this is to pick something of interest to your personality and that may have an impact on your own future.

These topics range from older, ongoing topics to more recent issues that have come up through mass media and other influences. The topics themselves are categorized to be more related to Female, Male, Both genders or other gender identities.

If you have an idea for another topic to use for your project, let me know and I’ll confirm it is an appropriate topic to move forward with.

The topic ideas are categorized in the following groups: 

  1. topics relating to both genders
  2. topics relating to female gender issues
  3. topics relating to male gender issues


Both Genders – Issues of Conflict:

  1. 2017 New: The #metoo movement on social media – people are coming forward sharing their experiences being the victim of sexual harassment or assault. It is mostly females protesting how males have the power or are able to be protected despite this behaviour for years.
  2. 2017 New: Also the #metoo movement focuses mostly on the female perspective, though several males have also recently come forward to disclose experiences of sexual harassment. This voice in the #metoo movement is not as loud, though. Is it not happening as often or not as much of a concern?
    #metoo is also being used by males sharing they have also been the victim of sexual harassment, including actor Terry Crew of the Old Spice Commercials.
  3. analysis of movies to look at how genders are commonly represented. Ex: Lethal Weapon tv show has mostly male cast – only 3 female characters, all secondary characters including the one detective’s wife who is a Lawyer, but mostly only represented inside her home, answering the door or in her kitchen.
  4. Snapchat – look into the controversy of its use for Sexting among teens.
  5. Analyze advertisements for similar products that are gender-specific. Ex: Men’s body wash ads versus female body wash ads.
  6. Teens are now being charged with creating and distributing child pornography for sending and sharing sexting images. Consider why these new applications of the law are necessary.
  7. Female same-sex relationships in media seem more accepted than male same-sex relationships. Why? 
  8. Compare clothing sold for kids and the disparity between the gendered items. Ex: Boys’ shorts go down to almost the knee most often, while young girls’ shorts end mid-thigh. Is there a sexualization of children’s clothing that mostly targets young girls?
  9. Compare treatment and media representations of male and female pro athletes. Ex: Bouchard pro women’s athlete asked to “spin around” after winning a major title game.
  10. Compare dress uniform expectations for male vs female workers in restaurants. Ex: Males are often fully dressed in flat-heeled shoes, while women are often asked to wear tight, low-cut, short skirts/dress outfits with high heels. Boston Pizza and Original Joes are examples of this. Complaints have been made by waitresses to Canada’s Human Rights Commission.
  11. Analyze the difference between gendered play and toys. Example: boys should play with action figures and girls should play with dolls.

Female Gender Issues of Conflict:

  1. Women’s magazines target the age group younger than their own. Ex: Women’s Mags target teens, Teen Mags target Tweens, etc.
  2. In some countries, it is now required to include Warning Labels so consumers know the images have been edited or photoshopped.
  3. Look into what “violence against Women” is; it’s not just physical, but includes many other elements.
  4. Look into the difference in typical women’s clothing sizes from the past to now. Ex: The norm used to be size 14, but now it’s size 10. There didn’t use to be such a thing as a size 0.
  5. Some stores have had PR issues after there was negative feedback about the types of items targeted to very young boys and girls. Ex: Little bralettes with sexualized phrases on them, or boy’s shirts that say “Pimp” on them.
  6. The topic of Vocal Fry, the really low, gravely voice some women use in media. It possibly is considered a negative quality by future employers.
  7. Look up the contrast of female to male CEOs of Canadian or North American Companies. The representation may be as low as 4% – 4 out of 100 CEOs might be women. Why the vast disparity?
  8. Pressure on new moms to “bounce back” after a pregnancy. Consider samples of celebrity mom bloggers who look very similar to their pre-pregnancy bodies and what pressure that puts on every day new moms. Consider what is realistic vs represented as the expectation.
  9. Trends in high schools across Canada/the US of young girls protesting school dress codes, such as a “go braless” movement.
  10. Analyze the treatment of women compared to men in a global sense – in other countries, how are women treated compared to their male counterparts. Ex: In some countries, women aren’t allowed to drive, have to be completely covered when in public, cannot be in the company of any male who is not their father or husband, can be stoned to death by a husband under suspicion of adultery, etc.
  11. Female Genital Mutilation (or Female Circumcision). Why is this done, what does it involve, and what countries/cultures participate in it. What is the expectation related to this potential practice being done in Canada – is it allowed? What’s the reaction if caught?
  12. 2018 India – response to 8-month-old raped by 28 yr old cousin. Calls for changes in women’s protections.
  13. 2018 SAG Awards – Nicole Kidman won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Mini-Series and, in her acceptance speech, championed those in the film industry who recognize women past 40 “are viable” still. Compare that to the attempts to maintain a youthful appearance by many, including Kidman, whose upper lip seemed to some frozen and unmoving during the SAG Awards evening.
    2018 Golden Globe Ambassador, Simone Garcia Johnson, daughter of “The Rock” Johnson, a 16-year-old presenter at the awards show had a noticeably frozen upper lip as well. Is botox only for the older crowd?

    Half of the searches that show up on YouTube for her relate to her mouth.










Male Gender Issues of Conflict:

  1. Comparison of the misogyny of the past to present. Example: Compare the treatment of women from entertainers like Andrew Dice Clay and Howard Stern compared to recent comments of Donald Trump regarding women.
  2. Do an analysis of the Stanford Rape Case, the young Olympic swimming hopeful who raped a girl and got a very light sentence. His father famously commented to the press that his son’s future was ruined over “20 minutes of action”.
  3. Analyze the issue of Rape Culture and represent some findings. Ex: Some Canadian University sports teams (hockey/football) have had instances of rape by team members and coaches/schools looked the other way for fear of losing funding and reputation loss.
  4. Canadian military – there is much reported recently about the high incidents of sexual assault and harassment against women in the military. Compare the rates to rates of the general public. Could compare it as well rates of reported/alleged assaults against female RCMP members.
  5. Rates of murder-suicide among men. Many incidents of this in recent years in Canada – men kill their kids, wives, and possibly others before killing themselves. What are the warning signs or what is contributing to this? Why is it predominantly men committing this?
  6. Roid Rage in young men. Many examples of pro athletes committing brutal assaults on female partners (ex: player beat up his girlfriend in an elevator & dragged her somewhere). Look into the effects of steroid use that may increase violent tendencies/inability to control emotions.
  7. Look into how some of the different cultures represented in Canada historically/culturally treat women. Ex Some cultures still believe in Honour Killings. 
  8. Compare the acceptance of female to male mental health issues. Does it seem more acceptable for women to admit mental health issues compared to young men? Is there a greater stigma attached for males? Are the rates higher or lower in comparison by gender?
  9. The “Boys Will be Boys” Excuse. There is the belief this phrase is outdated and only plays up and reinforces some of the negatives of the boy/male stereotype – like boys have to be tough, boys can’t show emotion, boys are reckless and that’s okay/to be expected.
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January 11

ELA 20 Your Future Gender Roles and Values

It has likely been mentioned in class during the last Section’s discussion that, more and more, you as students are recognizing a difference between you, between males and females. Until recently, you may not have been quite aware of different treatments or expectations placed on you because of your gender. If your class participated in the open discussion between girls and guys about dating topics, wanting an honest opinion and perspective from the opposite sex, there is your proof that you’re not in a group as one anymore – that you are two groups of males and females learning together but experiencing lives outside of school that may be quite different from each other.

The last topic explored through literature for us this year is Gender Roles in Your Society/Future.

The roles of men and women in society are often used for comedic purposes. Here are two video parodies of topics that fall under this subject.

There are more consequential examples of the differences of experiences and expectations between males and females in society today. Here are some examples:

    • Twitter Thread: The Downsides of Being a Man
      Read through the Tweets of this Twitter Event after a conversation was started about the challenges of being a man in 2018. 
    • Article – Men Reveal the Difficult Parts of Being Male: men share the difficulty they experience in being male in society.
    • June 2021 A discussion on gender was triggered when some prominent men in the carpentry/construction industry in Canada laughed after a guest on their podcast made comments about catcalling or touching women on worksites. A woman used part of the podcast and created her own video on social media, interjecting statistics of sexual assaults on women. The men of the podcast responded by triggering a 15 million dollar lawsuit against her for damages to their reputation. Others in the construction industry have spoken out and supported the woman, saying there is no room for and should be no acceptance of sexism or misogyny in their field of work.


Gender is a construction – the idea of what it is to be male or manly versus female and feminine in your culture.
This is different than the biological Sex you are born as – male or female.

Lancet-social-media-asset-sex-vs-gender - Beyond Words Studio


There are a number of older and newer documentaries that focus on gender issues for today’s society. Some of these concepts, the way males and females are viewed in society and the construction of these roles, have become established so gradually over time because of your exposure to them that they don’t seem dangerous. The dangers are there and they’re revealed by statistics: the amount of sexual assaults The Best Documentaries on Hulu Right Nowon women or murder/suicides committed by men towards their wives and children, or the amount of steroid users among male teens and high suicide rates for males.


A number of appropriate documentaries have been assembled for you. Some include mature subjects and images, but they have been developed for classroom and educational use. View what you’re comfortable viewing – skip forward if there are upsetting images. You’ll be viewing a documentary on your own, so you have control over your choice and viewing.

There are dangers in being female in our society.
There are dangers in being male in our society.


Documentaries Related to Gender:

  • Tough Guise: looks at the overwhelming evidence connecting violent crime with masculinity as displayed through media. Over 90% of violent crimes are committed by men. Film-maker states “masculinity should be designated as a health hazard” – the influence of it is bad for your health. (53 minutes long)
  • The Mask you Live in: a recent documentary looking at how media and society influence males by a harmful and narrow view of masculinity, leaving young males to navigate a maze of identity issues in order to understand how to be a “real man”. (1 hr 30 minutes)
  • The Codes of Gender: a study of how media constructs the allowable portrayals of males and females through images and representation. These “codes” create what is allowable behaviour for males or females if they want to stay within their gender roles. Through these images, it often contributes to the idea that men are powerful and women are objects. (1hr 12 minutes)
  • The Bystander Moment: studies the role of bystanders in perpetuating sexual harassment and sexual assault contributing to the normalizing of sexism and misogyny. Focusing on the shift following the #metoo movement, it aims to encourage viewers to become active bystanders to help challenge and change sexist cultural norms. (50 minutes)
  • Audrie and Daisy: a look at the trend of young teenage girls in the United States sexually assaulted by their male classmates. It considers the way the justice system responds to/minimizes reports like these and the trend of images/videos of the rapes being posted online as a type of “trophies”. (1hr 30 minutes) Notice: Suicide trigger warning.
  • Miss Representation: (Trailer only) If you have access to view this film, it looks at the media’s role in creating an expectation of women in society as valued only for their beauty, youth, and purity, instead of their roles as leaders in society and culture.
  • Killing us Softly: A look at the use of print media and magazine ads that depict and create the stereotypes of sexist and misogynistic representation of women contributing to violence, eating disorders, and sexism against women.

After you’ve watched your documentaries of choice, you’ll participate in a class group discussion, to share the focus of the documentaries you viewed and personal responses you have as a result.

You’ll soon pick a topic of Inquiry or Research related to gender – a number of topics to consider are posted on the Blog Post that follows this one on the ELA 20 page.


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