STUDENT SAMPLE – Gender Expectations Cartoon

Cartoon by Jamie (WRTG 3020 – Spring 2011)

Rhetorical Analysis

The target audience for my cartoon is mostly other college students interested in personal accounts of gender and sexuality. Although they are the main audience, I believe personal stories, like my cartoon, are suitable and beneficial for all audiences interested in the subject or curious about other’s experiences. I hope that people are able to relate to my experiences as well as recall some events or memories that have shaped their gender or sexuality.  In relation to the theme of the Gender and Sexuality writing course, my narrative of gender policing is part of how I know what women are supposed to act like and supposed to dress. My teachers in high school made it apparent that I was not abiding to these rules.

The cartoon I have created includes some of my experience of gender policing in high school. It may seem odd but it was my teachers that made most of the comments that I recall still today. I attended a high school where all of the girls got dressed up for school everyday; they wore dresses, skirts, tank tops, and sometimes even high heels! Most of the time, I did not feel comfortable wearing these things. I remember looking forward to Fridays because everybody wore their “birdcage” t-shirt which was a school shirt worn to support the football team on their game days. All I wanted was to be comfortable while I spent eight hours of my day at school.

Sometimes the comments my teachers said to me were funny like “oh Jamie, it looks like you washed your hair today.” These I would laugh at and just brush off lightly because I was known for my good sense of humor at school. The one comment I still cannot believe a teacher said to me was when my teacher told me I looked as if my dog had died. He said this in front of the class and nobody laughed. I’m pretty sure it was because nobody could believe he said that to me. But the comments that always got me mad were when I did dress up and teachers would casually compliment my style. Looking back it was true gender policing; anytime I “looked like my dog died” I would get called out for it and every time I dressed feminine, I was complimented.