HLT1CSS: Assignment one
Representations of sexuality: Reflective critique on a contemporary issue or debate related to sexuality
Individual reflection piece (750 words)
Due: Wednesday August 28 2019 @ 11:59pm (worth 30%)
Intended learning outcomes
Recognise a range of cultural and historical perspectives, values and discourses through which sexuality is usually understood.
Analyse and critique current debates in relation to: sexual politics; sexual health and wellbeing; and sexual representation.
Use ICT platforms to enhance literacy, research and communications skills in Critical Sexuality Studies
Identify a contemporary issue, public debate or controversy related to gender, sexuality, sex or bodies. This might include issues that have received a lot of recent media commentary (such as marriage equality, sex education in schools, 'sexting' and young people, dick pics) or broader issues relating to gender, sex or sexuality that reach the media on occasion (such as the use of sexual imagery in advertising, gendered toys for children, gender neutral bathrooms, 'labiaplasty' or breast enhancement for women, young people's access to pornography, decriminalisation of sex work and so forth).
If you are unsure about your issue, check with the subject co-ordinator.
Identify key online publications or materials relating to this debate (minimum of three, maximum of 10). This may include newspaper articles, images, online blogs or discussion pieces, advertisement, youtube clips and so forth. You should cite these in your text using standard academic citation methods.
Write a 750 word critical reflection on this issue using the following subheadings:
Describe the issue or topic. Think about the following in your description:
• What is going on?
• Is this an international or local issue?
• Who is involved? Who are the key stakeholders? Who is most affected?
• Has this issue generated controversy? If so, why is the issue considered controversial?
• What are the main arguments or debates relating to the issue?.
Nature of public discourse on the issue or topic
Discuss the nature of public debate on this issue. Think about issues such as:
• What arguments, issues or people received attention in the news media, online commentary or discussion?
• What imagery was used in media reporting or online blogs etc relating to the debate? (You can include images in your assignment, but make sure you discuss the significance of the image in your reflective piece, don't just put it there to look pretty).
• What issues, concerns, peoples or images received less attention in public debate or discourse?
What does the public /media/online debate and discussion about this issue or topic tell us about the ways in which gender, sex or sexuality are understood in society.
Example Issue: Decriminalisation of sex work Resources
• Online discussion piece, Hiscock, Rebecca (2015) Celebrity activists get it wrong on Amnesty International's sex work policy, The Conversation, http://theconversation.com/celebrity-activists-get-it-wrong-on-amnesty-internationals-sex-work-policy-45863
• Online opinion piece, Taub, Annabelle (2015). The Lena Dunham Twitter fight over legalizing sex work, explained, The Vox, https://www.vox.com/2015/8/11/9130329/Iena-dunham-sex-work-decriminalization
• Bazelon, Emily (2016). Should Prostitution Be a Crime? New York Times Magazine, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/magazine/should-prostitution-be-a-crime.html
The issue of decriminalisation of sex work received a lot of attention when Hollywood celebrities came out against an Amnesty international campaign to decriminalise sex work. The introduction would consider:
When, why and how this debate arose
- Whether it has been an issue before
- How the debate played out in public discourse
Nature of public discourse on decriminalisation of sex work.
In your piece, you could discuss issues such as:
• whether this issue would have received this attention without celebrity involvement
• which celebrities were involved and why these celebrities were seen as legitimate spokespeople on the issue
• what line of argument the celebrities supported, who disagreed with them
• what images were used in media articles and online (eg, the different ways sex workers and sex work were portrayed in imagery compared to the images of celebrities used)
• whether sex workers themselves were consulted in media and online articles
• what implicit messages about sex workers or sex work were presented throughout
Some points that could be considered in the conclusion:
- The public debate on the decriminalisation of sex work might reveal the ways in which sex is often portrayed as personal, private or 'sacred' act rather than something that should be commodified.
- The debate showed the different ways in which women's bodies are subject to public scrutiny and regulation (Why do we consider it controversial to allow women the right to use their bodies for sex in exchange for money?).
- This debate revealed the ways in which commodification of sex can make women more vulnerable to violence and exploitation. (Is criminalisation of sex work the best way to protect women from this?)
The introduction clearly describes the issue or topic in appropriate detail using clear
language and examples where relevant (7 marks).
Discussion on the nature of public discourse or debate about the issue or topic is a critical
reflection and analysis of the issue or topic rather than just a description (10 marks).
The conclusion involves critical reflection on the nature of social attitudes toward, and public
representation of, gender, sex or sexuality (8 marks).
The piece is clearly written, well edited and between 700 and 800 words (5 marks).
Sample Reflective Pieces
The Conversation is a great source to see how good reflective pieces are written among other spaces. Most pieces range between 700 and 1000 words. We recommend that you explore some pieces, such as the ones below as well as others, to assist you with this task.
• Power, J. (2019). https://theconversation.com/in-debates-about-druq-use-fun-is-important-110696
• Waling, A. (2018). https://theconversation.com/our-relationship-with-dick-pics-its-complicated-103444