Faculty of Arts


Gender, Sex and Commodification


Focuses on current and controversial issues at the intersections of sex and gender and their co-construction. Issues will be approached from contemporary feminist and queer theory perspectives. Various topics are critically examined in both theoretical and practical terms, such as co-constructions of gender and sexualities in pornography and advertising, technologies and reproduction, representations of transgender bodies/identities and the selling of cybersex.

By the end of this course, students should be able to

  1. Explain different viewpoints (particularly within a feminist framework) about how gender, sex, identity and social practice are related
  2. Explain, using both theory and practical examples, how the marketing and selling of commodities are part of the social construction of gender, sexuality and gendered identities
  3. Explain how bodies and identities themselves are commodified to both reinforce and contest gender and sexual identities and relations
  4. Explain competing arguments (particularly within a feminist framework) about the meaning of different social practices and institutions like advertising, sex work and assisted reproduction that “market” sex and gender
  5. Critique these competing arguments about gender identity and commodification by assessing them in relation to each other and in relation to students’ own viewpoints

This course allows students to build on their knowledge of key gender studies concepts introduced in GENDER 100 and GENDER 208 by studying their application in greater depth in a focused area. It solidifies knowledge from previous coursework in Gender Studies and/or Sociology, while requiring more independent analysis of contemporary phenomena (e.g., cybersex, the changing representations of gender in contemporary advertising and online pornography).

The course allows students the opportunity to develop the following capabilities of the BA graduate profile:

  • Disciplinary knowledge and practice
  • An ability to display knowledge and understanding about the significance of their chosen field of study (gender studies, sociology) and to apply this knowledge through analysis of theory and practice
  • An ability to define, contextualise and address questions within these fields of study through interdisciplinary enquiry
  • Critical thinking


Availability 2021

Not offered in 2021; planned for 2022


Lecturer(s) Dr Carisa Showden


GENDER 301: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage II in Gender Studies or Sociology



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