St.Sex/Gender: (Ms.)Representations (XL WS 483)

In this
course we will study second wave feminism as a political and socio-cultural
phase of feminism’s history rendered highly visible in the media vehicle Ms. Magazine.  The significance Ms. Magazine in, as the course title suggests, both representing
and misrepresenting the movement will be considered in context of other pivotal
texts of feminism’s second wave.  In
tracing the “morph-ing” of Gloria Steinem’s iconic magazine.,which became more a media phenomenon than a political forum over
time, we will focus on the internal fracturing of second wave feminism occurring
in the same decade, as controversies over feminism and ethnicity,
gender-identification and sexual preference suggested how the uni-vocalism and
unilateral trajectory of Ms.-style feminism
undermined the impact of its high visibility. Finally we will interrogate how
the representations and misrepresentations of Ms. influenced the direction of feminism, including possibly
inviting the backlashes and seeming fragmentation of feminism characteristic of
the post-Ms. generation.

(All but Course Reader available at Revolution Books)

  • Germaine
    Greer’s The Female Eunuch
  • Erica
    Jong’s Fear of Flying
  • Alice
    Walker’s The Color Purple
  • Margaret
    Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Course Reader with
    excerpts from the Ms.archives and second-wave
    feminist texts, and selected short literature/poetry (e.g., Sylvia Plath, Toni
    Morrison, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, etc.). 
    (Where to purchase Course Readerannounced
    at 1st class.)


  • 2
    five-page essays
  • 1
    ten-page research paper
  • 1 Small
    Group Oral Report featuring media research and “reports from the field” on
    current feminisms
  • ½ pg.
    postings (weekly) to class site at Laulima, and occasional brief quizzes in
  • Participation
    and Attendance