Codes of gender | English homework help


Watch Codes of Gender. It is available through the library (you will need to be signed into your library account).

Jhally, S., Killoy, Andrew, Vega, Aaron, & Media Education Foundation. production company, publisher. (2009). The codes of gender : Identity performance in pop culture. Northampton, Mass.: Media Education Foundation. (Links to an external site.)


We have been examining how meaning is made. Meanings are constructed through our coding practices. This film uses the research of Erving Goffman to examine how codes have been used in advertising.  For this film complete the following: 

Part A

On your paper type out each of the phrases listed below.  Underneath each heading explain in two or three sentences what is meant by the term (you must as described).

  • The Feminine Touch
  • The Ritualization of Subordination
  • Licensed Withdrawal
  • Infantilization
  • Codes of Masculinity

Part B

This film was produced in 2009, Erving Goffman published The Presentation of the Self in 1956. Your textbook points out that codes of meaning can shift and change over time.  Be clear, neither communication theory generally, nor your textbook  specifically, suggests that the codes get better nor do they say they get worse – all they say is that they can change. 

  • Search online and find one advertisement or other image that you think still uses at least one of Goffman’s codes today. Include it in your document and explain clearly which of the code(s) of gender are still being used and what is the overall impact of the advertisement.
  • Secondly, find an advertisement or other image that you think in some way contrasts with Goffman’s codes. Which code(s) does it challenge and in what way does it challenge it/them. What do you think it tells us about how gender is viewed today?

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