Every one should be a feminist

Borough of Manhattan Community College / Fall 2020 / Professor Noveno

ESSAY THREE (The Research Essay): Gender Roles and Feminism

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Objectives: In the essays you’ve read on feminism, gender roles, and gender inequality, both writers offer compelling observations on gender roles and gender inequality in the context of their personal experiences and particular cultural and family histories. Referring to a mix of sources from the assigned readings, TED Talk, and sources from your own research for a total of three sources minimum, you will write a research essay in response to one of the following questions (choose one):


1. Chimamanda Adichie defines a feminist as “a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” She argues that everyone should be feminists. Do you agree? Explain.


2. To what extent do gender roles inhibit and/or liberate individuals?

Process: Be sure to include a mix of sources from the assigned readings and TED Talk and your own research for a minimum of three sources to support your argument (and/or refute your counterargument). For example, explain how gender roles can form a person’s identity from what you’ve learned from Adichie’s TED Talk and essay (excerpt), Sanders’ essay, and another source (or sources) from your research. Then, describe, explain, and analyze the impact of gender roles on these individuals, their communities and/or in the larger world to support your claim of how gender roles inhibit and liberate individuals.

Your thesis will be your response to ONE of the questions above.

YOU MUST ALSO REFER to at least ONE outside source from your research to support your claim or refute the counterargument.

Be sure to cite the writer’s full name and the title of the essay, article, or piece. (You can use/cite more than one outside source.)

A source can also be an interview with an “expert” on the topic.

For example, you can interview different generations of women and/or men in your family to identify and explain their views on gender roles to illuminate a point you are making in your paper. Note that if you use an interview in your research essay, you must still include another outside print source from a book, essay, article, etc.

Works Cited: Carefully avoid plagiarism; either use quotation marks or paraphrase in your own words.

Sample quotes:

In her essay “We Should All Be Feminists,” Chimamanda Adichie writes, “We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”

Scott Russell Sanders considers the affects of class on gender roles and identity. In “The Men We Carry in Our Minds,” he states, “I realize now how ancient these identities are, how deep the tug they exert on men, the undertow of a thousand generations. The miseries I saw…. in the lives of nearly all the men I continue to see in the lives of many—the body-breaking toil, the tedium, the call to be tough, the humiliating powerlessness, the battle for a living and for territory” (142).

Here is an example of a block quote, which is the format for quoting something that is more than four lines long:

In her TED Talk, “We Should All Be Feminists,” Chimamanda Adichie observes:

“There’s slightly more women than men in the world, about 52 percent of the world’s population is female. But most of the positions of power and prestige are occupied by men. The late Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate, Wangari Maathai, put it simply and well when she said: ‘The higher you go, the fewer women there are.’ In the recent US elections we kept hearing of the Lilly Ledbetter law, and if we go beyond the nicely alliterative name of that law, it was really about a man and a woman doing the same job, being equally qualified, and the man being paid more because he’s a man.”

(Note in this block quote format, the period stays within the quotation marks. If there is a page number, then place it in parenthesis after the quote, but no period follows. Again the period stays inside the quotation marks.)

Follow the format below for your “Bibliography” page (this is just a sample):

[List works alphabetically starting w/author name, essay title, & publication info]



Adichie, Chimamanda. “We Should All Be Feminists.” TED. December 2012.

Adichie, Chimamanda. Feminist.com. 2014. www.feminist.com/resources/artspeech/


Sanders, Scott Russell. “The Men We Carry in Our Mind.” 40 Model Essays: A Portable

Anthology. Ed. Jane E. Aaron. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2005. pp. 138-142.

Shehan, Constance L. Gender Roles in American Life : a Documentary History of Political,

Social, and Economic Changes. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2018. Print.

Wadas, James. Personal Interview. 4 November 2020.

Wadas, Tamara. Personal Interview. 4 November 2020.



Last Steps: Consider visiting the Writing Center at BMCC online. Tighten wordy sentences, eliminate passive verbs when appropriate, and carefully scrutinize punctuation. The essay should be 4 – 6 pages (about 1000-1500 words), typed, double-spaced, 12 font (Arial or Times New Roman).

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