Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cover Letter/ Portfolio

Leticia Arellano

English 114B


                                                                      ‘My First Year At CSUN’

            The past following year has been a year full of achievement. I started my freshman year of college and now I’m ending it. I have learned so much over this past year, I also had to adjust living away from my home in a completely different environment away from my family. I also had to adjust to university courses, which are nothing like high school classes, but everyone knows that, and now that I look back, my high school spent so much trying to prepare me for this that they generally failed at this. In my opinion I think they just babied us and when it was time to go to college I think we were probably all shocked more than prepared. None the less I think that this year has been a year of many lessons learned. Ass the year started and carried on I learned so many things especially in this English class. We covered topics on a deep level; I was aware of these topics but never really broke them down and carefully analyzed these topics. I also feel like I became a far better writer as when I started the year.

            In the beginning of the year we learned more about how to write papers how to put our thoughts together. We also touched up on how to cite our work and we learned how to incorporate Ethos, Pathos, and Logos into our work to make our reader relate and understand the point of view that we have. After the first semester I felt like I had gotten better at writing. Writing has never been my best subject since I could remember so leaving first semester like I accomplished something like this was really amazing. When we got to the second semester some of the topics we discussed were identity, gender roles, Nature v Nurture and a couple more. We read novels like ‘The Surrogates’, ‘Persepolis’ and ‘As Nature Made Him’ and watched movies like ‘Gamer’ that introduced us on these topics.

            In the first essay of the semester we touched upon the topic of gender roles and how it’s present in our lives every day and every moment. I related it to the novel ‘The Surrogates’ and the film ‘Gamer’. I talked about how society has a major impact on gender roles because of the things that are put out there. There is the media who is constantly putting out magazines, television shows and many other things to tell the public how you’re supposed to dress, look and act on the depending on the gender that you fall into. We see it in the novel ‘the Surrogates’ with Victoria creating a male CEO so she can actually be successful because she feels she wouldn’t be with a female surrogate. We also saw it in the movie ‘Gamer’ in the two games ‘Slayers’ and ‘Society’. These games were created with the image of what a man should look like and what woman is perceived to look like and act.

            In the second essay we see the topic of nature versus nurture and the many ongoing arguments of this debatable topic. My main point in this essay is how many people agree that Nature plays a huge role in shaping a person’s identity but on the other hand many people think that Nurture is the main piece of the shaping of someone identity. I also based it off of the novel “As Nature Made Him” because the story of David presents this ongoing debate of Nature versus Nurture, on whether he could be nurtured as a girl because of his accident or can nature trump nurture and overrule his upbringing as a child. My essay ends with my own opinion of the debate and state that Nature is the one that trumps Nurture because one can’t simply nurture a child into a gender, when we are conceived we are assigned a gender.

            This year at CSUN has been fun, crazy and whole different experience and I probably wouldn’t change it for anything. Like I mentioned before I learned so much this year especially in my English class I can now say that I am a better writer than when I started my year here.

Essay #1/ Portfolio

Leticia Arellano

English 114B


                               ‘Gender Roles In Our Everyday Lives’

Every day in the real world we see gender roles take place we can be anywhere and we can notice it. Society in the world of today puts pressure on individuals to look a certain way because there a girl or they have to look and dress ‘this way’ because there a guy. If you’re a girl you should be dressing in skirts, cute shirts or wearing makeup, dressing in pink and purple because those are the colors ‘Girls’ wear. If you’re a guy well you’re supposed to wear boy clothes and colors like blue and black. They also imply that they have to act a certain way because of the gender that they are. It can be okay if a girl cries because girls are classified as overly ‘sensitive’. Although if you’re a boy you’re supposed to act tough and do manly stuff because that’s what a boy does. Were taught since a very young age that this is how were supposed to act not only by our parents but by our society. Although with our world progressing much faster now a days we are starting to accept people who choose to be different. We see gender roles taking place in the real world we can also see them come up in video games, movies, television shows, the media, and even some toys factories come out with now days. In the following movie “Gamer” and the novel “The Surrogates” we can see gender roles being a big part.

 In the movie “Gamer” we see how gender roles are present in the movie and the video games that come out in the movie. In the movie we are introduced to a video game called “Slayers” where we see muscular guys running around caring a gun and shooting other men in order to survive. Except these are not avatars one can create these are actual humans, these are prisoners who are given the chance of being an “avatar” in this video game and if they survive 30 battles they are promised to be set free. The way a player can control his/her “avatar” is they are inserted with a chip on their brain and linked to the person who buys there link. Watching this made me think of the actual video games that are out there in real life with characters like this basically brainwashing little boys and teens that they need to look this why because that’s how a real man should look like. Or they should be tough like these characters in these video games because that how a real man should act like. On the other hand in the movie we also see another video game that is popular in that world which is called “Society” this works exactly like “Slayers” except the ones who play an avatar is an actual person whom volunteers to be an avatar. “Society” is like “Sims” in our real world, you create an avatar and you make it live this life you want it to. In the video game “Society” we see these people randomly partying and doing stuff a regular person would do. Except I noticed that there style of clothing is different we see the women dressing more provocative and men chasing after them. This brings us back to gender roles were a game like “Society” can teach girls that it is okay if we dress in little clothing and have men chase after us because a video game makes it seem like it’s a normal thing. It is basically degrading woman when they are portrayed in such a way.

            In the novel “The Surrogates” witch is revolved around what the world can look like in the year the future when ‘robots’ are invented to take over our lives. We start off and see that there are hardly real people in the real world there mostly surrogates that are controlled by regular people at home. Regular people can have a career through there surrogates they can be a police officer or a firefighter anything they want. A person who is 18 years or older are only allowed to buy and own a surrogate, because of an incident that happened when teens used there surrogates to beat up and eventually kill a homeless man. On the other hand some people are against having surrogates because they think it’s taken over society and peoples’ lives. In the story we see a female having a male surrogate and goes under the name Victor when in reality it’s a woman named Victoria controlling the Surrogate. When the detectives find out Victor is actually a girl they question her why she chose to have a male surrogate. Her statement was that more people will actually feel safe investing with male more than a female. In the novel she states “The Board of directors feels more secure having a male CEO. Investors like that sort of thing” (Venditti and Weldele 141). None the less people have more respect for a male in an industry more than a female will ever have. If she would to have a woman as a surrogate in the industry she works in they probably wouldn’t accept her or acknowledge her. So it was best to choose a guy surrogate and work the industry with him and it seemed to be very successful. Gender role is also present here were a woman feels like she wouldn’t be paid attention in the business world because our society is always portraying a man to be the ideal business person. They are portrayed as the ones who can close a good deal or can be trustworthy and for many years it has been like that. Even as our world is progressing it still never seems to change, a man in society’s eyes will always be the go to guy to close a business deal or trust with when making a deal. In the following article ‘Here Are The 12 female CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies’ Lipman states “In 1996 there was only one woman CEO in the Fortune 500 companies. As of 2010, 15 companies on the Fortune 500 were run by women, and by 2011 that number dropped to 12” (Lipman). Which brings us back to the male being the better sales person and negotiator, this article clearly showed how women were making a great improvement but suddenly the number of Woman CEO’s dropped. This clearly is sending out a message to people that men will always dominate the world of buisness.

            Genders roles are basically everywhere not only in movies like “Gamer” or in novels like “The surrogates”, they are also found in the media like I mentioned before. Let’s take a look at celebrities. Magazines are always putting good looking people (celebrities) on their covers; we are constantly looking at their definition of beautiful people. This includes a woman mostly professional models or famous actresses with perfect or almost perfect features and a body like no other, whom by the way is slim and always dresses to impress and wears make up every day, and who men think they are the perfect woman to be with. Let’s take The Kardashian’s as an example, they are attractive ladies who happen to be on almost every magazine the most famous at the moment they have their own television show and they are constantly being talked about on the news, the internet etc. On the men’s side we see famous actors like Taylor Lautner, Ryan Gosling, and Zac Efron who are cut, muscular looking men (like the ones in “Gamer”) and perfect face features that women fantasize of all the time, not to mention they are the hottest actors at the moment. Of course if you see someone that good looking you are bound to want to look like them. When society puts things types of things out and accepts them then that’s when girls and guys will want start to look like that person on the cover of the magazine and eventually do damage on themselves. People will go to a far extent to get that ideal body or look that they see in a magazine. There are so many disorders we hear about in the news that girls and guys obtain because society’s ideal image of a woman is slim and pretty and men’s ideal image is a muscular body type. Girls think that the only way to obtain such a body is to starve themselves and exercise a lot which can cause severe damage. On the guys side they become obsessed with getting this muscular body because that’s the only way a girl will ever notice them and in my guess makes them feel manlier. The media puts these magazines out for the public to see and our society accepts but what they don’t know is it can damage some people deeply.

            Media isn’t the only ones who are defining what a man or a woman should be looking like or stereotyping woman and men in certain ways. We also have toys that tend to separate girls and guys. If you’re a girl the toy you’re supposed to be playing with is either a baby doll or a Barbie. For boys you have your usual car toys, your G.I Joe action figure, and other action figures. These are the toys that society and our parents have raised us to play with. This brings us to gender roles you can basically be defined by the toys that you play with. Also brings us to image G.I Joe is portrayed as a muscular type of looking guy like the one you see in “Gamer” while Barbie is a beautiful slim looking girl that you can also see in “Society” were most of the girls looked slim and beautiful. Kids can pick up these images and try to portray them on themselves later on when there older.

            Moreover gender roles can be seen everywhere whether it’s in video games, movies, toys and the media. Our parents and society raise us to have these portrayals of what a woman should look like or what a man should look like and push it upon is. Shows, movies, video games, etc., are also constantly pushing these images down on us. Not only that but a video game or a movie like “Gamer” can degrade woman, and make it seem acceptable. As time passes this can do long term harm and damage to some people. Although this is how we were brought up it doesn’t mean we have to follow it as our world is progressing, and it is subject to change.                         

Works Cited

Lipman, Becca. "Buisness Insider." Here Are The 12 female CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies’ . N.p., 09 July,2009. Web. 13 May 2012.

Venditti, Robert, and Brett Weldele. The Surrogates. Ed. Chris Staros. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2006. Print.

Essay #2/Portfolio

Leticia Arellano

English 114B

April 29, 2012

                                          ‘Is Nature Enough To Trump Nurture?’        

             For many years Nature v. Nurture has been a topic well-spoken about. People bring up the subject when dealing on the upbringing of a child. When having a child whether it’s a girl or boy, one automatically gets into a state of mind that if they have a girl they have raise it like as a girl and if they have a boy they have to raise it as a boy. Parents from the very moment they have a child they incline themselves to raise their child as the gender they were born in. In the following novel “As Nature Made Him” we see this as the main topic. It’s brought up when the Reimers twin baby boy suffered an accident. The accident caused lot of problems for the family; they had to decide whether or not to raise their child as a boy, who will never be a normal functioning male. Then they came across Dr. Money who brought up the idea of raising their twin boy as a girl and if they nurtured him as a girl he would live a normal and healthy life as a woman.  Many people debate that Nature may play a huge role in someone’s life but the nurturing of a child as they grow up plays a bigger role in shaping their identity.  Parents and society have a tremendous impact on the upbringing of a child, which can certainly be enough to trump nature, but nature has the overruling of genetics.

             David Reimer was a naturally born identical twin boy. He and his brother Brian went in one day for a minor circumcision but something went wrong and the doctor performing the procedure accidently burned David’s penis completely off. His parents Janet and Ron were in complete shock and lost in what to do with their son. They were afraid that if they raised him as a boy with no penis or a reconstructed penis he would be teased and not live a completely normal life. Then one night Janet came across Dr. Money who has had performed procedures where he has turned a naturally born male into a woman, but keep in mind that these people were heterosexual. He also performed these procedures on babies who were born with both genitals of a boy and girl he would pick the best gender that the baby can have a normal life in. Janet was in complete awe that she gave him a call they met with him and he finally one day convinced them that changing their son’s gender from male to female was the best solution to their problem. On their first meeting with Dr. Money Janet recalls, “I looked up to him as a God” says Janet “I accepted whatever he said” (Colapinto 50). Clearly we see that Dr. Money made everything he said sound so convincing and reassuring to the Reimers that they were convinced this ‘procedure’ was indeed going to work. What they didn’t know that for Dr. Money this was an experiment because he had done these procedures on hermaphrodites and heterosexuals not a naturally baby born with an assigned gender. He made Janet and Ron believe that if they nurtured him as a girl that it he would believe he was a girl. Janet and Ron didn’t until later catch on that the procedure performed on their son was merely an experiment.

            With so much going on in society it’s really no wonder that Dr. Money and the Reimers really and genuinely thought that raising their baby boy as a girl after his traumatic accident would actually work. Dr. Money gave the Reimers strict rules on how to raise their new daughter. He specifically told them to dress him into girl clothes, buy him girl toys and teach him how to act like a girl, basically nurture her into this new identity and gender. From early on David showed signs that he was never interested in any of that stuff. He just wanted to play with his brother stuff and acted more like a boy than a girl. This gradually frustrated Dr. Money and as David got older he tried to basically brainwash him into thinking that he was a girl and was born that way. Dr. Money would take notes on this and one day published his experiment that women and men are ‘equal’ in every way and there upbringing is what determines their gender identity and stated that his experiment actually had worked. As a surprise many people believed him, they praised him for his success, but there was one discovery that changed the view of Dr. Money’s claim that a naturally born baby boy cannot be raised as a girl. In the following documentary “Sex: Unknown” Roger Gorksey’s intern student makes a discovery that the male and female are similar but there is one part of the brain that defines if you’re a male or female. After they made this discovery they generally stated that male and female brains are similar in many ways but there is that one specific part of your brain that determines our gender not how we were brought up. Although some might disagree, now and then you might hear about that one person who is born a specific gender and raised as that specific gender but from an early start they feel wrong. Like if they were born into a different gender then supposed to. In the following television show “Private Practice” a medical show, one of their episodes was based on gender identity. It was about a little girl who is 10 years old and comes out to her parents that she is a boy. Her parents on the other hand don’t believe her, because genetically she is a girl but mentally she feels like a boy. In the end the doctors finally convince her parents that she has “gender identity disorder” which is when a male or female feels like they should be the opposite sex of what they were born into. Her parents would also have to help her cope and get through with this gender identity crisis. Situations like this, is what makes you question nature.

            Society has had for many years much influence when it comes to gender identity. Society itself puts out so many things that continue to separate females and males. For instance with toys, clothes, career, even the way you act. If you’re a girl/female you are supposed to dress a certain way and act a certain, or have a certain job. In the following article ‘Gender Roles in Society’ the author states, “A female is usually expected, obliged to do, or interested in household work, child care and education, leaving professional and social roles more for the males”(Magar 1). You can see so much of this in television shows, toys for girls, magazines and so much more. On the other hand if you’re a boy/male you get the image that you have to be tough, only where a certain colors and you are the person who is most likely to support the family. In ‘Gender roles in Society’ there definition of a male is, “For instance, males are more interested in or perform physically tough activities like, working in heavy industries, and defense services while females perform tasks like raising children, cooking, embroidery and so on” (Magar). Again stating that females should be the stay at home mother while the male is the tough and successful person in the family.

            In the world that we are living in today society has so much influence, they put so much out there, they somewhat have some influence on your gender identity. This would probably be one reason why now a day parents are choosing to raise their child gender neutral. Gender neutral is basically raising a child who doesn’t really know about genders or what gender he/she is. Their parents choose a neutral name that can be for a girl or a boy. They let the child choose the clothes they want to wear and toys they want to play with. In the following article “Couple raise child as 'gender neutral' to avoid stereotyping” talks about a couple who chose to raise their child gender neutral to avoid stereotyping for five years but had to reveal their child’s gender because soon the child was to start school. The couple only revealed their child sex to people close to them and everyone else had to refer to the child as ‘the infant’. The mother stated, “Gender affects what children wear and what they can play with, and that shape the kind of person they become” (Alleyne). She is clearly stating that society has so much influence they put so much out there on gender identity and state well if you’re a girl your inclined to wear a dress and wear makeup and if you’re a boy their inclined to wear pants and like sports. Society shapes who we are, so this couple decided that if they raise their child gender neutral the child will not feel pressured to play the role of the gender they were born into. Although the couple wanted to avoid stereotype for their child they still received it because in our society today we yet have to accept this type of upbringing of a child.

            Lastly the argument of Nature v. Nurture is that although nature has a big influence on gender identity genuinely the nurturing of the child and the influence around him/her is what most likely to determine that persons gender identity. In the following article, ‘Gender identity: Family as the most important influence’ it states, “It is important to understand the difference between gender and sex. Sex is biologically determined by one reproductive organs. Gender, however, is socially constructed” (Mason-Brown). That’s where the nature v nurture argument comes in, this author is stating that you may be born genetically a specific gender but the way you socialize and are raised is what determines your gender. Family of course has the biggest impact because they are the ones who raise you, and teach you the fundamentals of your gender.

            Therefore, although nurture may genuinely have a huge impact on the outcome of a person’s gender identity, I personally think nature trumps nurture. We saw it in David’s story clearly, he was born as a male and raised as a female, yet he felt nothing like a female because genetically he was a male and that’s how he felt. Everyone around him tried to help him and make him believe he was a female, but it was no help because again he was born a male. We also saw it in the documentary Sex: Unknown the people who researched a male and female brain discovered that male and female brains are so similar but there is one part of the brain that specifically separates you as a female and male. Other people may argue and say nurture is the main key to gender identity and it’s understandable because of the society we are raised in today has a huge influence on us; society teaches us how to dress, act and so much more. Family also has a part in our gender identity because they are the ones who raise you. Lastly everyone has their own opinion about Nature v. Nurture and it is going to continue to be a debate mostly argued about, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


Works Cited

Alleyne, Richard. "Couple Raise Child 'Gender Neutral' to Avoid Stereotyping." The Telegraph. N.p., 20 Jan 2012. Web. 29 Apr 2012.

Andrew Cohen, and Stephen Sweigart. Sex:Unknown. N.d. Video. YoutubeWeb. 20 Apr 2012.

Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000. 50. Print.

Magar, Prashant. "Gender Roles In Society." N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr 2012.

Mason-Brown, Sapphire. "Gender Identity: Family as the most important influence." N.p., 24 May 2007. Web. 29 Apr 2012.

"True Colors." Private Practice. ABC: 5/1/12. Television.