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The sex/gender distinction is a central analytic distinction of feminist thought. In general, ‘sex’ is defined as a biological category and ‘gender’ as a social, cultural category. The latter refers to one’s self-understanding (i.e., identity), social and/or sexual roles, or social and historical norms supported by institutions, ideologies, and social-political processes. Despite its origins in sex research, the sex/gender distinction is often identified with feminist thought. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, qualifies the modern meaning of gender as “esp. feminist.” The distinction is a fundamental organizing principle of much feminist writing (academic and broad reach) and its dissemination in Women’s, Gender, and Feminist Studies classrooms around the world. However, it has also been rigorously criticized, endlessly reformulated, and sometimes rejected wholesale – not only in conservative circles, but by feminists themselves. The history and meaning of the distinction is not a simple one. Drawing on course materials from modules 2-10, explain the sex/gender distinction, being sure to account for its critical history and the diversity of feminist approaches to the distinction.


Essays should formally presented and organized with a thesis and clear organizational plan. Essays should be 1,750-2,500 words or 5-7 pages, typed, double spaced (truly double spaced without enlarging the standard default measurements), with one-inch margins in a font no larger than 12 pt. unless using a larger font like Courier or Ariel, in which case the font should be no larger than 11 pt. Essays should utilize consistently a single format (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).



The midterm essay specifically measures your research, organizational, and writing/argumentation skills at a higher level than your discussion board “essays.” Can you think through and develop a focused, well-researched feminist essay? Can you do so in an organized, on-topic, and grammatically sound manner? Does your writing show evidence of an original, thought-provoking argument that is well supported by specific evidence and thorough research?

Your individual essay grades will be designated as follows:

A = These essays excel in addressing the topic and demonstrate a sophistication of thought. It develops a central, well-formulated thesis, defends it well through argumentation and appropriately chosen resources, and understands and critically evaluates the course. The essay is well-organized, includes transitional sentences that demonstrate the development of the overall thesis and connections among ideas, and guides the reader easily through the progression of ideas. The essay is also written with an eye toward clarity with words carefully chosen, sentences carefully focused and formulated for the audience, and entirely free of mistakes.

B = These essays are solid and address the assigned topic appropriately. They have a stated thesis, but they may have minor lapses in the development of the thesis. The essay demonstrates understanding of the course, but may not evaluate critically. Each idea relates to the overall thesis, but the transition and connections among ideas may be lacking in development. Sentences may be clear, but too general or they may be focused but awkward. Understanding is not impeded by grammatical mistakes.

C = These essays are adequate. They respond well to the assigned topic, but are less effective and do not develop a central, well-formulated thesis. The central ideas are presented in general terms and often make use of clichés, depends on dictionary definitions (rather than the philosophical understandings presented in class), and lapses in understanding. The organization is unclear and undeveloped, and the connection among ideas is unclear. These essays provide evidence to support their arguments and attempt to be critical, but they tend to offer overgeneralizations. Words chosen are vague and general, and sentences may be wordy, fragmented, or underdeveloped.

D = These essays do not have a central thesis (or the thesis is to vague to be obvious) and do not respond appropriately to the assigned topic. The evidence and resources provided are skimpy and generally misunderstood. The organization appears random and incoherent. These essays may also rely on personal narrative, rather than formal presentation. Words are vague and abstract, and sentences are simple, monotonous, or underdeveloped.

F = These essays do not respond to the assigned topic, lack a thesis, and neglect or do not cite any sources or evidence. There is no real organization, the details of the essay are irrelevant, and/or the essay is unduly brief. Words chosen and sentences are awkward or inappropriate.


Grading Scale:

The essay is worth 100 points and will be assessed according to the following scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; Failing = Below 60. Kennesaw does not have a +/- system.

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