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Cultural Artifact Analysis

Psychology of Women

A cultural artifact is an everyday item that constructs gender (and race, sexuality, class) in interesting, surprising, or predictable ways. A cultural artifact could be a greeting card, Quinceañera invitation, tampon box, hairbrush, coloring book, anything that you can discuss and analyze according to gender.


You will collect one artifact (or two if you want to make a comparison) and write a 3-4 page (double-spaced) analysis. Your discussion should address most of the following questions and any additional comments and analysis of the object you can provide:


  • What lessons does the object teach us about gender?
  • In what ways/how does it teach the lessons?
  • What stereotypes about women or men are perpetuated with the object? How are the stereotypes conveyed?
  • Is there a hidden meaning (subtext) that differs from the overt message or meaning?
  • What section in our text relates to the artifact and how does the reading help you understand the artifact? (this question is required)



(Read these carefully before you begin, as you work on your paper, and again before you turn in your paper):

  • Explain where you got the artifact—if it’s from a magazine, state the source, if it’s from a store, name it. Please do not choose a meme or gif. Find an actual object.
  • Your analysis should be specific and detailed and will utilize class materials such as our readings or films to help with your analysis.
  • Use only material from our class. Do not use any outside sources. Because of this, you do not need a references list or bibliography page.
  • When you use a class reading to help with your analysis, include the relevant page numbers in parentheses after you make a point. For instance, if you summarize a point made on page 60 in Lips you will end your statement with this: (Liss, p.60). Alternatively, you could begin the sentence with: On page 60, Liss describes . . . You do not need to use direct quotations, just put statements in your own words and cite the source in the text of your answer.
  • Please write your paper using double-space, a 12-point font, and one-inch margins.
  • Be sure to include a picture of your artifact with your submission.
  • This is not an APA-formatted paper. You are simply writing an essay/analysis.
  • You are also strongly encouraged to bring a draft (online, of course) to the UHD Writing Center for help with your draft. They are in-person and online and are available Monday–Thursday 9am-7pm, and Friday-Saturday 9am-3pm. Their help is free. Make an appointment here:
  • Check out example papers on our Blackboard site.
  • Some additional writing tips:

° Your paper should be organized with logically ordered paragraphs including an introductory paragraph and short conclusion paragraph. The order of your paragraphs and the order of sentences within each paragraph should have a logical flow.

° The most common comments Dr. Anderson writes on papers are, “What about this artifact conveys this?” or “What is your evidence of this?” So, for example, if you write, “This toy teaches girls to be weak,” you need to detail the specific ways in which the toy conveys weakness for girls. Do not assume the reader will understand your point without elaboration.

° Avoid using contractions: Say do not, not don’t.


Your paper will be evaluated on:

(1) writing quality (structure and grammar)

(2) how well you address the above-mentioned questions

(3) how well you utilize/integrate our class materials


This paper is due to Turnitin by the end of the day on Wednesday, April 27. For late submissions, one letter-grade will be reduced from your paper grade for each late day. Dr. Anderson will read a rough draft or outline of your paper if you can email it to her couple of days before the due date