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Popular Culture: Resources

This guide is intended to be used for English 160 and English 161 with the topical theme of gender and popular culture.

Topics of Interest

General Topics

  • Sports and gender issues
  • Stereotypes in film 
  • Gender stereotypes and hip- hop (or other musical genres)
  • Third genders in different cultures​


  • How are products marketed or advertised to different genders? Is the language or imagery different depending on the gender? Do marketing techniques impact if a product is purchased?

  • Some cultures recognize a third gender, identify a specific culture and examine how they are treated or perceived within that particular culture?

  • Do gender roles in contemporary television shows reflect the current Western culture?  Or do they still adhere to dated practices and stereotypes?

  • The film Battle of the Sexes portrays the real life events of two notable tennis players in the 1970’s. How has gender roles changed or evolved within major sports in the last 40-50 years?


Search Term Tips

Phrase Searches- Search for phrases by placing quotation marks around the phrase. Words with quotes will appear together in all search results. Example: “popular culture”

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All documentaries can be found in the database Kanopy (see above).

Mixed Messages: An experimental video collage that incorporates found footage, performance, interviews with young girls, documentary, animation, images from advertising and television, and a dream narrative in a work that examines gender-stereotyping in popular culture, concluding with a post-modern version of the Pandora myth.

The Codes of Gender: Communication scholar Sut Jhally applies the late sociologist Erving Goffman's groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape in this provocative new film about gender as a ritualized cultural performance. Uncovering a remarkable pattern of gender-specific poses, Jhally explores Goffman's central claim that the way the body is displayed in advertising communicates normative ideas about masculinity and femininity.

The film looks beyond advertising as a medium that simply sells products, and beyond analyses of gender that focus on biological difference or issues of surface objectification and beauty, taking us into the two-tiered terrain of identity and power relations. With its sustained focus on the fundamental importance of gender, power, and how our perceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman get reproduced and reinforced on the level of culture in our everyday lives, The Codes of Gender is certain to inspire discussion and debate across a range of disciplines.

White Scripts And Black Supermen: A valuable and colorful examination of 40 years of changing representations of Black masculinity in a significant area of popular culture -- comic books.

Twenty years ago, Marlon Riggs produced an essential documentary critique of the images of African Americans in US television in his award-winning Color Adjustment. Now, comes a documentary on representations of Black masculinity in comic books; a popular culture genre which existed before television and whose reach extends into other areas of cultural production such as movies and animated TV series. In a serious, lively and humorous manner, White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books analyzes the subject for the first time and looks at it over a 40 year period.


Your Librarian

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Jennifer M. Jackson
Richard J. Daley Library
University of Illinois at Chicago
(312) 413-3495