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GSOC 110 Sociology

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GSOC 110 Sociology

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Course Code: GSOC 110
University: Humber College

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Country: Canada

Question
Learning Outcome Assessed in the Assignment:

“Describe and apply key characteristics of sociological inquiry as an investigative practice.”
“Discuss social issues and everyday social life at both an interactional and institutional level using basic sociological concepts.”

Objectives:

Identify a visual content and analyze the contents from a sociological perspective.
Explain how visual contents shape our perceptions and behaviours of everyday social life.
Apply and relate sociological concepts and theories to the visual representation of social world.
Demonstrate the mastery of sociological imagination, sociological concepts, and theories in critically analyzing the visual contents.

Answer
Introduction
We all visualize social processes differently, and hence we can hardly form similar interpretations of everyday life. A single visual material is subject to varied sociological interpretations based on individual thoughts and perceptions (Doucet, 2018). This paper presents a photo analysis drawing closely from visual sociology. The paper is based on a single photo, and the analysis is based on the portrayal of women in the 21st century. Ideally, the issue of gender roles has always been sharply contested on. The gender debate seems to have similar magnitudes of compliance and resistance. I chose to analyze the photo because it touches on a major social issue which is universal to all communities. The female gender has seen massive empowerment in the past few decades and has risen to take roles that were predominantly preserved for the male gender. The 21st-century societies are characterized by a constant call for gender equality which has yielded major reforms and improved the standing of women in the society.
                                         
                                                         Source: https://visualsociology.org/wp-content/uploads/DSC05462.jpg
The photo is a caption of five people (3 women and two men) seemingly discussing an important matter. The people are seated around a table with the women occupying the front seats. The woman at the middle is explaining something to her colleagues. This could be easily concluded from her posture. Her hand are raised in a position typical to the body movements one would assume when explaining an important aspect. The two other women and the man created close to them appear to be following the explanation keenly. However, a man at the back seat appears bored or not even part of the discussion. He seems to be in deep thoughts unrelated to the discussion in progress. Although one man may not be following the conversation, it is quite evident from the photo that the men accord some respect to the women. They have sat in the same panel, a practice which was not encouraged in the past. The fact that one man exhibits the required facial expression in the discussions sends a message that he respects the ideas being put forth by the woman.
Traditionally, gender roles were distinctive and clearly dictated at the societal roles. Women were not expected to take the roles which were presumed to be authoritative (Harper, 2016). As a result, all the matters requiring serious decision-making were left for men. Men would never sit down and listen to women talk. Instead, women practiced submissiveness and did all that was told to them by their male counterparts without raising a grudge. In contemporary societies, women have been empowered to perform the roles that were solely left for men formerly. Women can, therefore, get similar employment positions as men as long as they have the required qualifications. The two genders can now coexist peacefully in a single environment without the male gender oppressing the female gender. This is the aspect witnessed in the picture. Even though one man does not show much interest, he sits still and waits for the woman to finish speaking.
The aspect of the disintegration of gender roles as witnessed in the photo could be well explained by structural functionalism. Before industrialization, gender roles were well established (Harper, Visual Sociology: Expanding Sociological Vision, 2011). Men took the roles outside the homestead while the women performed household chores. The changes in both the economic and climatic dimensions forced for a reshuffling consequently leading to many women assuming the roles of breadwinners in the family. The men had gone to war, and the women were left to cater for all the roles initially performed by men. After the adoption of the traditionally masculine roles, women have retained them up to date. This explains why the men in the visual material take the role of listening as a woman speaks. According to the interactionist theory, both sex and gender are constructed aspects. Initially, gender roles were constructed based on symbols of interaction. The society has evolved to construct different symbols which have led to less recognition of the gender roles (Caulfield, 2012). The changes in the construction of symbols explain the current interactions between men and women. The visual material is an ideal example of the reconstruction of symbols. The modern societies have deconstructed the initial view of gender based on the given roles. Hence, women can perform most of the tasks hat men perform.
Conclusion
Conclusively, the photo is an ideal model of the modern women empowerment. It sends a clear message to any viewer that womanhood has evolved to equal manhood especially in the aspects of role sharing. The gradual changes in the social structures result in limited gender disparities. However, although the women are aggressive in taking male roles, men are too reluctant to perform duties initially associated with womanhood.
References
Caulfield, J. (2012). Visual Sociology and Sociological Vision, Revisited. The American Sociologist, 27(3), 56-68.
Doucet, A. (2018). Introduction: Canadian Visual Methodologies and Visual Sociology. Canadian Review of Sociology, 55(2), 1-2.
Harper, D. (2011). Visual Sociology: Expanding Sociological Vision. The American Sociologist, 19(1), 54-70.
Harper, D. (2016). The Development of Visual Sociology: A view from the inside. Societàmutamentopolitica, 7(14), 237-250.         

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