CMN 3104 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Feminist Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Cultivation Theory
SchoolUniversity of Ottawa
Course CodeCMN 3104
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Define Annihilation as per chapter 1 of your reading and give three
ways the media execute this process in their operations as described
in My Feminism.
•!The concept is rooted in 2 assumptions:
•!The media content offers a form of symbolic representation of
society rather than any literal portrayal of society
•!To be presented in the media is in itself a form of power
•!Social groups that are powerless can be easily ignored, allowing the
media to focus on the social groups that really matter.
•!Gaye Tuchman focused on the symbolic annihilation of women, but
the concept is applicable in any socially constructed group, whether
based on gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.
•!Tuchman argued that through absence, condemnation, and
trivialization, the media reflect a social world in which women are
•!If the media consistently present an image of a social world that is
(in numbers) dominated by men, Tuchman argued, the media have
symbolically annihilated women.
•!But women are not completely absent from media content.
•!Symbolic annihilation also looks for evidence of condemnation or
•!Perhaps women are reduced to incompetent childlike beings
needing protection from men.
•!Perhaps they’re only valued when they’re attractive, young, thin;
when they’re sexual rather than smart.
•!Perhaps they only function well in the home, getting into all sorts of
trouble – some comic, some tragic – when they dare leave the
confines of the traditionally acceptable roles of wife and mother.
•!Even when women enact their “appropriate” roles (e.g. housewife),
however, women’s contributions may be seen as less valuable than
those made by the men of the house.
Explain the notion that gender is a social construction. How does
feminist philosophy challenge or criticize traditional philosophy
Chapter 1 and Lecture 3
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•!Social construction: theories that emphasize the socially created
nature of social life which means that society is actively and
creatively produced by human beings.
o!Society decides gender roles they’re not natural
•!Social Construction of Reality
o!Identities are negotiated within a social context.
o!Sometimes identities are forced upon or denied to people.
o!Sometimes identities are rejected.
o!But most often we understand and accept what it means in
our culture to be lower class or middle class, male or female,
black or white, etc.
o!We do this because we learn what it means to be a member
of a certain social group through our interactions with others.
o!By consistently being treated in a certain way, we begin to
expect to be treated in that way.
o!This is exemplified in the process of engenderment, by which
a biological female becomes a socially constructed feminine
being and a biological male becomes a socially constructed
o!A similar process is also at work in constructing our ideas
about people of various racial and ethnic groups and different
o!The importance of race and gender in our society has nothing
to do with the physical attributes of race and gender and
everything to do with society’s interpretation of what it means
to be a member of a particular gender or racial/ethnic group.
!!what we think it means.
•!Feminist philosophy: refuses to identify the human experience
with the male experience because it is hegemonic.
•!Feminist philosophers challenge many areas of traditional
philosophy on the grounds that they fail
•!1) To take seriously women’s interests, identities, and issues.
•!2) To recognize women’s ways of being, thinking, and doing as
valuable as those of men.
•!Because Western culture has associated rationality with
“masculinity” and emotionality with “femininity”, traditionalists have
concluded that women are less human than men.
•!These philosophies also fail to get rid of the inequality.
•!For this reason, feminist philosophers argue that reason and
emotion are symbiotically related, coequal sources of knowledge.
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