Cover of New VoicesNew Voices


Table of Contents by Title

Black Women’s Empowerment in Beyonce’s Lemonade” by Da’Jah Burkett

What Makes a Man” by Giggles (Elise) Klein

How Hepburn Sells Chocolate” by Yu Si

Women in Films: Sidekick or Equal?” by Zamantha Zambrano



How many texts do you encounter daily?  Given the abundance of messages that your mind is given to interpret, both overtly and subtly, how impacted do you think your life has been by these texts?

Discussion Questions

  1. Da’ Jah Burkett’s essay “Black Women’s Empowerment in Beyoncé’s Lemonade,” shows how pop culture can “empower black women in so many ways.” Looking at pop culture as a whole, what other media (e.g. movies, television shows, novels) can influence and empower women and girls? Name three movies that demonstrate strong female characters and explain how the film displays female empowerment.
  2. In the essay “How Hepburn Sells Chocolate” Yu Si explores how pathos is used in advertisements to show beauty and happiness that is not necessarily real. Following Si’s argument, elaborate on how advertising plays on consumers’ emotions to sell products.
  3. “What Makes a Man?” by Giggles Klein and “Women in Films: Sidekick or Equal” by Zamantha Zambrano reflect on representations of men and women in different types of texts. Other essays in this anthology also address issues of gender roles. To what extent do you think the written and visual texts we read impact our understanding of gender roles? What examples could you cite to support your point of view?

Writing Exercises

  1. In Zamantha Zambrano’s essay, “Women in Films: Sidekick or Equal,” Zambrano claims that “Although society says men and women are equal, the media says otherwise by depicting female characters and actors as less powerful than males, and creating a negative image for all women.” Do you agree this assessment?  Explain, in detail, your reasoning.
  2. Identify an advertisement that you feel either enforces or subverts traditional gender roles. Write a letter to the advertiser in which you point out their positive or negative use of gender roles to sell a product. Use specific examples to create a compelling argument supporting or opposing the advertisers’ work.
  3. Consider a text that you’ve read recently that has changed the way you view the world. Analyze the text, thinking about the elements of the work that made that impact on you. In an essay, develop an argument in favor of that analysis, and support that argument with evidence from the text.