The interview topic is masculinity and femininity..

Interview Project Guidelines

Step by Step Quick Guide

  1. Decide your specific focus- masculinity or femininity, and your particular research area (media, family, consequences for norm violation, etc)
  2. Write your 5 or so discussion question prompts
  3. Ask the questions to an assembled group of 5 or so people you know- this should take about an hour
  4. Write down the results and conclusions of the group (2 pages +)
  5. Write your analysis (3 pages +)


For this project, the interview topic is masculinity and femininity. Specifically, I want you to focus your interview group on the following questions: What makes someone masculine or feminine? Who decides? How can we tell? While these are general questions to include, be sure to come up with several additional questions as well. For example, you can tailor your questions to fit the group itself. Perhaps you’re speaking with women from your sports team or men from your religious congregation- how does the socialization you’ve received from that community/social institution play a part? Consider crafting your questions based on the readings, films, and class discussions as they relate to your specific discussion group. One idea is to pick a particular focus of the masculinity and femininity discussion- perhaps you could examine how we learn masculinity and femininity as children, or how one particular social institution shapes our idea of gender. You should have at least 5 discussion prompts- all open ended questions, designed to spark in depth discussions, not just yes and no answers. Some examples based on the films and class discussions might include a discussion of which ideal is more prominent in American culture, or a discussion of how our ideals of masculinity and femininity are based very much on the hegemonic ideals of our culture- that is, white, straight, and middle class. You can also examine the varying strictness of consequences for violating what it means to be masculine or feminine. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to address BOTH masculinity and femininity, you can focus on one or the other if you wish.


Gather a group of five or so of your peers together for an hour long discussion- you should mention it is for a class project, but that it will still be interesting! Try to select individuals that have something in common, or are part of some sort of formal or informal organization and are part of the same primary or secondary group. Examples include: co-workers, family, friendship group, racial minority interest groups, religious clubs, etc.

Once you have your group together, explain a bit about the class, and then introduce the topic. Tell your participants about the class materials we’ve studied. Briefly describe the films (or show them via the library’s website if you’d like!) Talk about where the distinctions between sex and gender come from in our culture.

Go from question to question, letting conversion flow. Try to encourage everyone to participate and discuss, rather than just asking questions in a row. The goal is to get the group to engage in an active dialogue. One way to go about this is to think of the structure of our class discussions- you’ll be playing the role of instructor as you lead the interview! However, remember that you may need to challenge participants- sometimes people rely on simply saying “I think we can do whatever we want, and it doesn’t matter”. Ask for examples! Work on getting follow up. Don’t worry about taking loads of notes- however many you feel you need to remember the information discussed is fine.


After you’ve completed the interview group, thank your participants. Then, write 5 or so pages of results. Please describe who your interviewed (no need to mention names, simply say something like “I interviewed six members of my club rugby team, all white women ages 18-23, or I interview my three cousins, aunt, and mom, who ranged in age from 15-54”).

Your results should include how the group as a whole answered the questions, what ideas came up repeatedly, and the overall responses of the group to the questions posed. Also include any disagreements your interviewees had when pondering topics, and your own reactions to the results. Were they what you expected? Why or why not?

Most importantly, be analytical! When you are describing your results, you need to be sure to incorporate sociological concepts, class materials, ideas from lecture and the films, and other examples.

Review your paper and make sure that you have addressed IN-DEPTH the following issues:

  1. Sociological terms and content: are you discussing how social institutions and social structure play into your respondents’ views? What concepts of gender role socialization are they using? How are the concepts of gender and sex distinguished? These are just starting points, but you must apply concepts and terms from class.
  2. Class materials serving as prompt for your analysis. Integrate the films, your readings, and the content of lecture into your questions, and most importantly your write up. You must write from an analytical perspective, discussing the WHY and HOW of the connections you draw between the materials, questions and your respondents’ answers. For example, if your discussion group feels masculinity is more heavily policed, how does this fit with what we saw and discussed in class? Does it illustrate panopticism, or concern over sexuality? Show, don’t tell!
  3. Finally, use examples! Quote your discussion group, or if everyone discusses one particular advertisement or film, describe it. Use specifics to bolster your points.

Final Notes

Your paper will be five pages, typed, double spaced, standard margins. It is due online via Canvas. You can find a grading rubric on Canvas under the tab for this assignment.

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