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Discussion of Gender and Society Themes in Films

“The Power of Categories”: the episode on Paige’s story

Summary

Gender is a socially constructed concept that guides interactions within society. The “Power of Categories” describes several instances of categorization and links them to gender. From the choosing of either puppies or kittens to describing a child as either male or female, the podcast shows how categories influence people’s lives. Paige, a transgender individual highlighted in the story reveals how it is to be trapped between two categories.

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What does this episode teach us about gender and society?

Paige’s story illustrates the concept of gender and society in a unique way focusing on Paige’s story, a woman who found herself trapped between male and female categories. The episode begins by defining the different ways categories affect people’s lives and behavior. It highlights that categories are formed right from the moment a child is born. When a child is identified as either male or female, they are expected to obey the respective gender rules constructed by society. However, Paige’s story demonstrates a situation whereby one finds themselves trapped within two categories, a condition that is not easy to navigate through society.

What information is presented?

The information presented in this episode ranges across different categories: dogs, children, gender. The speaker aims to show how people orientate towards one category. In essence, when people were asked whether they like puppies or kittens, they chose one side. Similarly, when a child is born, people will come and ask the parents whether the child is a boy or girl. This implies that at birth, a child is identified by one of the socially recognized genders; male and female. However, as people go through life, they tend to form different opinions that later guide their behavior and self-identity.

What is the perspective of the hosts or storytellers?

The hosts’ perspective is that gender is socially rather than biologically constructed. How people feel about one gender or the other is determined by their experiences in society. Paige mentions that sometimes she would wake up feeling a male at which point all the psychological, mental, and emotional aspects reflect those of the male gender. Other times, she feels and acts like a lady.

In what ways is the episode a commentary on gender and society? Does the narrative have some historical and/or cultural significance?

This podcast is culturally and historically significant because it shows how culture shapes people’s opinions of themselves. For instance, in the past, people believed that if one was born a woman, they had to abide by the social rules concerning women. However, Paige’s story shows a gender revolution whereby people can choose to be of any gender they feel most comfortable in. Lastly, the podcast also indicates how gender shapes social relations. Paige shifts from introvert to talkative and sociable when shifting from male to female moods.

“How to Survive a Plague”: film reflection

What is the overall point/purpose/perspective/lesson of the film?

The film “how to survive a plague” features the efforts and activism of two groups, ACT UP and Treatment Action group TAG. These coalitions rose at a time when HIV/AIDS had just broken out a global epidemic. The film’s main point is that when people rise and act for justice, they can achieve a lot of good. Their efforts led to the establishment of the International Aids Conference.

What are all of the ways that it is relevant to the study of gender and society?

This film touches on gender and society by showing that for justice and equality to be achieved, both men and women have to come together. In the film, ACT UP and TAG fought for equality and justice regardless of gender. This implies that society needs to embrace efforts from both genders. In society, justice begins with appreciating human life and eliminating bias through combined effort.

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What are the three most important things that you learned while watching the film?

There are three key lessons from the film that have a significant impact on society. First, human life is important and should be guarded at all times. This is the reason why young men and women took up the fight to help save lives. Second, unity of purpose is very important when seeking to make any significant step. Third, one does not necessarily need to be educated to fight for justice.

What kind of impact/influence do you think this film has on its viewers? (Include the impact it had on you).

This film motivates people to stand up and fight for justice at whatever level. The two groups were made up of young men, most of whom were infected and without any medical training. These young men moved the American government to adopt a treatment plan for HIV/AIDS patients. Eventually, HIV/AIDS turned from being a death sentence to a manageable health condition. This teaches viewers that everyone can take a stand and save others.

To what extent do you agree/disagree with the perspective/content/message?

I agree with the film’s message that justice can be achieved when people recognize the error and move to correct it. Although the cost may be high, fighting for justice always leads to significant gains in society. I conquer with the message that regardless of gender, everyone has a part to lay in making the world a better place. Unity, determination, and purpose are crucial elements for success.

“Intersexion”: film reflection

What is the overall point/purpose/perspective/lesson of the film?

The film’s main lesson is that gender does not have to be either male or female. For many years people have been accustomed to describing someone as either male or female. Doctors have tried hard to fix intersex births so that they fit into either male or female categories. The film teaches that it is time to accept intersex as a different type of gender identity.

What are all of the ways that it is relevant to the study of gender and society?

This film adds to the discussion on gender and society by highlighting the plight of intersex individuals. It shows that intersex persons have faced numerous challenges in society as they are expected to identify themselves as either male or female. Society has not fully accepted that intersex persons exist and changing their physical appearance does not completely change their gender. It is an appeal to society to have a new perspective on gender.

What are the three most important things that you learned while watching the film?

The first lesson from the film is that society’s view of gender affects socialization and interactions. The film shows how different individuals have had difficulties interacting with others due to their gender. The second point noted is that someone’s personal views and feelings about gender are important. Lastly, gender has to do with mental and emotional aspects, and therefore changing the body does not completely make one a male or female.

What kind of impact/influence do you think this film has on its viewers? (Include the impact it had on you).

The film positively impacts the viewers by giving them a new perspective on gender and society. It has made me realize that intersex individuals exist and they need to be loved and respected. Although intersex cases have been hidden for many years, it is time to accept them as part of society. This calls for the viewers to develop a positive attitude towards intersex individuals.

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To what extent do you agree/disagree with the perspective/content/message?

I completely agree with the author’s perspective on intersex individuals. The authors show that these individuals have a difficult time explaining their situations. I agree that doctors should stop changing intersex body features to conform them to male/female genders. This is because gender is psychological and that cannot be changed. I concur with the message that society needs to change its perspective in relation to gender.

“The Edge Of Gender”: the episode on nature vs. nurture

Summary

The “Edge of Gender” podcast touches on the issue of gender by discussing the issues affecting men/women’s activities in society. The author gives examples of situations whereby companies have been struggling to bridge the gender gap. Some people, according to the podcast, argue that biology explains why there are fewer women than men in technology fields. However, the author shows that gender is not just biological but also socially constructed.

What does this episode teach us about gender and society?

The episode shows how gender influences people’s social, cultural, and economic aspects. The film raises the question of whether gender s biologically constructed on developed through upbringing. In most of the examples shown in the film, different people tend to ascribe to different genders other than the ones they were born with. Besides, the involvement of women in technology has been cited as a social rather than biological attribute. Therefore, the episode teaches that society needs to approach the issue of gender from a multi-dimensional perspective.

In what ways is the episode a commentary on gender and society?

Does the narrative have some historical and/or cultural significance?

As described in the podcast, society has placed some roles on women and men that have shaped human interactions for many decades. For this reason, when a person does not identify as either male or female, they are bound to encounter some challenges. This episode is both historically and culturally relevant. The first man to identify as binary in the podcast argues that he was brought up as a man but he felt that it did not fully reflect his gender. Recently, such people have come up and it is time society changed its culture to accommodate them.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Discussion of Gender and Society Themes in Films'. 23 August.

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