Composition Reading Bank: Identity

An Open Educational Resource for Composition Courses

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Baron, Dennis. "Facebook Multiplies Genders but Offers Users the Same Three Tired Pronouns"  infoIn this blog post from 2014, Baron contrasts the multiple gender identifiers Facebook provides for its users with the limited number of gendered pronouns available. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Persuasive; Blog)

"Be a Lady They Said" [Vimeo Video]. Warning: Explicit Content  infoCynthia Nixon narrates this short video which highlights the hidden pressures, contradictions, and hypocrisies in expressions (and all the assumptions hidden in phrases like this) such as "Be a Lady." The video depicts graphically many of the contradictions women face and the ways in which they are unable to ever satisfy what others expect from them while showing the extreme lengths they go to in order to try. (Third-Person Perspective; Persuasive; Performance)

Biss, Eula. "Relations"  infoBiss explores race, identity, and family in America by weaving together discussion of a 1999 IVF-related court case, personal experiences, the famous doll studies of Mamie and Kenneth Clark, and pop culture artifacts that include Barbie, the Topsy-Turvey doll, and TV shows and films that shed light on the ways we form our racial identities. (First-Person Perspective; Memoir; Analysis; Definition; Exploration)

Cunningham, Amy. "Why Women Smile"  infoCunningham considers many different approaches to the question of why women smile and are expected to smile more than men. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Persuasive)

Dua, Tanya. "Trans and Non-binary Representation is Going Mainstream in Advertising, with Brands Like e.l.f. Beauty, Mastercard, and Starbucks On Board"  infoDua explores identity and representation from the perspective of advertising and marketing for major brands. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Analysis)

Franklin, Joey. "The Stigma of Fast Food Work (Working at Wendy's)"  infoFranklin offers a character study of his coworkers at Wendy's and highlights how work and gender roles are subject to stereotypes and stigma. Note to users: Be sure to click on the “Continue Reading” button before entering Reader View mode. (First-Person Perspective; Narrative; Descriptive)

Gay, Roxane. "A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories"  infoGay explores the popular obsession with the sexuality of public figures and what that means for LGBT people and the coming out process. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Persuasive)

Hughes, Hailey. "Against Inspiration"  infoHughes describes her experience living with a disability and participating in the disability rights movement. (First-Person Perspective; Narrative; Descriptive; Expository)

Hughes, Langston. "Salvation"  infoHughes narrates a time when, as a young boy, he was asked to participate in a church revival and felt conflicted about the experience. (First-Person Perspective; Narrative; Descriptive)

Hunt, Elle. "Faking It: How Selfie Dysmorphia is Driving People to Seek Surgery"  infoHunt provides current examples and academic research regarding impacts of the “selfie” and snap chat filters, including excessive and early elective plastic surgery. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository)

Mitchell, Koritha. "How Reading Queer Authors Improved My Relationships"  infoMitchell reviews several texts by queer authors and reflects on lessons learned from reading about the depth and diversity of queer relationships. She considers ideals of relationships and monogamy, prejudices against being single, and her own ways of relating to her partner and her friends through the lens suggested by queer authors. (First-Person Perspective; Literacy Narrative; Persuasive)

Montgomery, Sidra. "The Emotion Work of 'Thank You For Your Service'"  infoBased on data collected for her dissertation, Montgomery explores how hearing "Thank you for your service" affects veterans, and provides suggestions on how to truly show support for those who have served. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Primary Research Study)

Morrison, Sara. "Covering the Transgender Community: How Newsrooms are Moving Beyond the 'Coming Out' Story to Report Crucial Transgender issues"  infoMorrison focuses on the way news articles cover topics regarding transgender issues and stories, as well as how that coverage both reflects and shapes the transgender community. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository)

Obama, Michelle. "Note to Self"  infoAs part of the CBS series "Note to Self," Michelle Obama penned a letter to her former college self. (Second-Person Perspective; Letter)

Pandya, Sameer. "The Picture for Men: Superhero or Slacker"  infoBased on research on the success of men and women throughout the recession, Pandya claims men face worsening options in terms of employment and definitions of masculinity. Pandya argues that media is redefining traditional masculinity, giving men only two options—to be superheroes or slackers—and explores how this impacts the future of young boys in the context of school and employment. (Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Persuasive)

Pasulka, Nicole. "How a Bible-Belt Evangelical Church Embraced Gay Rights"  infoPasulka shares one church's decision to be inclusive of LGBT congregants primarily through the perspective of one member who struggles to be both gay and Christian. (Third-Person Perspective; Narrative; Expository)

Percy, Jennifer. "The Priest of Abu Ghraib"  infoIn this 2019 feature profile from Smithsonian Magazine, Percy examines the life of Joshua Casteel, a U.S. interrogator who struggled to align his deep faith with his experiences as an interrogator. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Profile; Expository)

Posnanski, Joe. "Mariano Rivera's a True Yankee, Almost Mythical in His Dominance"  infoPosnaski mythologizes the New York Yankee player, Mariano Rivera, using stats, personal history, as well as quotations from Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. (Third-Person Perspective; Profile)

Pro Infirmis. "Because Who is Perfect?" [YouTube Video]  infoThe Swiss charity Pro Infirmis, which advocates for disability rights, released this video covering an art project in which artists create mannequins modeled after people with physical disabilities to put on display in retailer's street window displays. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Profile of an Art Project/Social Experiment)

Reinstein, Mara. "I Got Death Threats For Writing A Bad Review Of ‘Aquaman" Warning: Explicit Content.  infoIn this shocking depiction, Reinstein describes how hard it is to be a female film critic because of how many men respond with hateful messages, death threats, comments about her appearance, questions about her credibility to review comic book movies because she grew up playing with Barbie, and so on. The responses rarely have anything to do with the content of her reviews--unless they are written by women. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Narrative; Expository; Persuasive)

Sanders, Scott Russell. "Looking at Women"  infoSanders uses personal narrative as well as historical, biological, and cultural references to consider answers to questions he raises about the male (sexual) gaze. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Narrative; Descriptive; Expository; Persuasive)

Smith, Gwendolyn Ann. "We're All Someone's Freak"  infoSmith challenges our societal need for labels, specifically that of transgender, and questions how we establish our sense of belonging. (First-, Second-, and Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Persuasive)

Stokes, Colin. "How Movies Teach Manhood" [TED Talk]  infoStokes examines the messages about masculinity and female representation that movies like Star Wars send to boys. Stokes refers to the Bechdel Test, which gives parameters for viewers to "test" a movie's handling of female roles and female inclusion. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Narrative; Descriptive; Expository)

Thomas, Terrance. "A Letter To My Younger Self"  infoIn this reflective letter, Thomas writes to his younger self on the day he dropped out of college: "a day that will alter the trajectory of [his] life." (First- and Second-Person Perspective; Descriptive; Letter)

Truth, Sojourner. "Ain't I a Woman?"  infoThis is one version of a speech made by an African American Abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth. It is a representation of what she might have said as reported from multiple individuals who witnessed it. (First- and Third-Person Perspective; Expository; Persuasive; Speech)

Zhang, Michael. "6 Photographers Asked to Shoot Portraits of 1 Man…With a Twist" [Video]  infoZhang describes Cannon's video "experiment" called "Decoy" and how it illustrates how stereotypes of people can be represented through the images we create of them. (First-, Second-, and Third-Person Perspective; Video; Social Experiment; Expository; Persuasive)


Except where otherwise indicated, the Composition Reading Bank by Rachel Brooks-Pannell, Shawn Casey, Rebecca Fleming, and Nick Lakostik at Columbus State Community College is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This license does not extend to the contents of external web pages.


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