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A Report on ​Investigating Gender

Throughout ​Investigating Gender​, Martha Thompson and Michael Armato use personal anecdotes,
compelling data, and historical examples to convey the idea that gender as we understand it is a construct
of our society that not only affects everyone differently, but is itself affected by many different other
aspects of society.

The first thing that Thompson and Armato want the reader to know is that gener is complicated. It
is not merely aspects of one’s body as stated here,“That is, what constitutes manhood or womanhood
changes dramatically across place and time, undermining the simplistic assertion that universal biological
sex traits create gender.” (Thompson and Armato 35) The co-authors of this textbook posit that gender
has been entangled in nearly every aspect of the reader’s life, for example “almost everything one wants
to say about sex - however sex is understood - already has in it a claim about gender.” (Thompson and
Armato 37) The reader may not be immediately trusting of the co-authors, which is why Thompson and
Armato put a great deal of effort into establishing their credibility. Not only are they sociology professors,
but the beginning of every chapter has an excerpt from one of their lives about the chapter’s topic. For
example, the fifth chapter, (entitled Work) starts with an anecdote by Thompson describing her
experiences in the workforce from high school to the current time, as well as her struggles to break out of
her family’s expectation of a more feminine career path. These personal anecdotes help not only to build
common ground with the audience, but also to establish credibility as people who have been through the
struggles they write about. As an added bonus, the book has both a male and female author, to help ensure
that all perspectives would be explored throughout the text.

Not only do Thompson and Armato use ethos to help support that they know what they are writing
about, they also use quotes, graphs, and outside data to strengthen their points. For example, in the
chapter on families, the authors use a graph displaying the amount of hours that men and women in
various kinds of relationships spend on household chores. This is used to demonstrate their point that no
matter the situation, women almost always do more housework because that is what society is told is
expected of them. Thompson and Armato also use quotes and data from trustworthy sources like the
“Bureau of Labor Statistics” and the “Institute of International Education.” These uses of outside sources
show that the authors have done their research. However, they also make it obvious that because of how
many different topics gender comes into contact with, the authors needed to reach out to experts in many
other fields to be truly comprehensive.

Finally, to further prove that gender is acted upon by external forces in the culture, Thompson and
Armato use instances from history. In their chapter on politics, the authors use two examples from history,
the 2008 presidential election and the women's suffrage movement. Both are used to show that despite
women getting the right to vote, or women gaining more important places in the political arena, politics
are still largely shaped by historical male dominance and the way that this dominance has impacted
international relations and the economy. Perhaps the greatest example of their use of historical events is
the exploration of the AIDS crisis in the health chapter. Thompson and Armato use the AIDS crisis not
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only to show how differently the sickness was view for different people groups, but how treatment and
response was affected by pre-existing notions about sexuality and disease. This approach is best displayed
here “Our aim in constructing this table is to present the data in a way that is conducive to an
intersectional approach analysis.” (Thompson and Armato 183)

In conclusion, Thompson and Armato are preaching an intersectional view of gender throughout
Investigating Gender.​ They show that gender is an aspect of nearly every part of people’s lives, and the
way that the society as a whole acts shapes how gender is viewed. Through the use of personal events,
historical events, and outside information, the authors present this idea to their audience.