Explore whether gender is more than a biological construct to find common ground.

Rogerian Argument: (1250 words)

 

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For your assignment, you topic below and use the Rogerian method to help opposing sides compromise within that topic. Remember that there are no enemies in this style of writing and no one side “wins.” You have to work with the opposing side and try to make them understand your views without offending them. It isn’t what you say but how you say it that makes Rogerian style work. Use the outline provided to help you structure your Rogerian Argument.  Evidence is an essential component of a good, written argument and will be necessary in this paper. In-text citations will be necessary.

In China Men by Maxine Hong Kingston, the author conveys a story of a man who became a woman. Encased within Kingston’s hybrid factual/fictional prose of the book, as a whole, is this parable about gender and identity. It is a prose piece that invites consideration of how gender identity is formed and why it is such a powerful construct. After reading Kingston’s book, Simone de Beauvoir remarked that “one is not born a woman; one becomes a woman”. Based on Beauvoir’s assertion, one’s gender identity is more than biological. Write a Rogerian argument in which you explore both sides of the argument on whether gender is more than a biological construct to find common ground.

Your essay should show mastery in the following topics:

1. Rogerian tone

2. Rogerian compromise

3. Logical Evidence

4. MLA style and citations

5. Evidence of careful proofreading

Typically, a favorable argument is one where there is a winner and a loser. From presidential debates to beverage advertisements, people are constantly persuaded to adopt a belief or take a side.  Arguments, however, do not have to be black/white or yes/no to be effective. In fact, coming to a consensus that both parties can be happy with is sometimes seen as more realistic to the arguments we have in our day-to-day lives. Arguments that aim to find common ground are known as Rogerian arguments and they are based on research done by psychologist Carl Rogers.

Rogerian essays are meant to help opposing sides come to conclusions they can both agree on. The style is understanding, considerate and moves from common ground to a reasonable compromise. A Rogerian argument is called the “common ground” argument because this method requires you to identify the ideas, beliefs and arguments you and your audience share in common. The assumption, therefore, is that you and your intended audience share common ideas, beliefs and arguments. Hence, the task is to identify these commonalities and use them to further argue. Rogerian arguments are oftentimes used in essays such as position papers. One advantage of using Rogerian argumentation is that the writer or speaker gains the attention of the audience and prevents them from immediately arguing in opposition. The effect is that you’ll be more likely to persuade your listeners or readers.

 

The primary traits of the Rogerian argument are:

An introduction that provides extensive background on the topic, presented from a neutral point of view

An explanation of the significance of your topic. Oftentimes this happens subtly or is implied, but sometimes writers will have their own section for it

An empathetic summary of opposing views. This is key to the essay, as it forces you to critically think about the other side of the argument in a non-judgmental way. It needs to be written to the satisfaction of those who oppose your position. This section should draw on sources

Your position on the topic

Development of your claims that support your position using examples, explanation and reasons. You must draw on the sources that you’ve chosen here

Integration of your position and the opposing position, which demonstrates some compromise. Rogers believed that truly understanding opposing views could cause us to change our own. What change has occurred in your understanding and position, and what ground are you willing to give? This last part is more self-reflective

You may want to use headings to break up these sections, which is absolutely acceptable (and preferred) for this essay.

Sample Rogerian Argument Outline

You can use this sample outline if you are looking at two sides of an issue and want to reach a compromise with the point of view that is opposite yours.

I. Introduction

1. State the problem you hope to resolve.

2. Explain the type of positive change you would like to see pertaining to this issue.

3. Mention how your opponents may want to solve the same problem.

II. Summary of Opposing Views

1. Topic sentence: Explain the most important reason people disagree with your point of view.

2. Write a sentence using a quote or paraphrase from one of your sources that disagrees with your point of view.

3. Write a sentence of commentary to help your reader understand this point of view.

4. Optional: Write another a sentence of commentary to help your reader understand this point of view.

5. Write a sentence using a quote or paraphrase from one of your sources that disagrees with your point of view.

6. Write a sentence of commentary to help your reader understand this point of view.

7. Optional: Write another a sentence of commentary to help your reader understand this point of view.

III. Statements of Understanding and Validity

1. Write a topic sentence using a concept word from the finals sentence of the previous paragraphs in a different way. Be sure to use a transition word at the beginning of this paragraph.

2. Write a sentence in which you explain how the opposing arguments might be valid.

3. Write 2-3 sentences of commentary in which you give in to the opposing side (show how they have some valid points).

4. Write a sentence in which you explain how under certain circumstances you might be able to share the opposing side’s point of view.

IV. Statement of your position

1. Write a topic sentence in which you state your point of view.

2. Write a sentence in which you use quote or paraphrase from one of your sources, which supports your point of view.

3. Write a sentence or two of commentary.

4. Write another sentence in which you use a quote or a paraphrase, which supports your point of view.

5. Write another 2 sentences of commentary.

6. Write a concluding sentence.

• You may need to repeat this type of paragraph for the remaining reasons that support your point of view.

• You may need one or two more additional paragraphs using the above structure.

• Make sure to begin each new paragraph with a topic sentence that uses a concept word from the last sentence of the previous paragraph in a different way.

V. Statement of Context.

1. In your topic sentence, explain how your point of view is valid and has merit.

2. In a few sentences, describe the situations in which your point of view has merit, showing that you understand that people won’t agree with you all the time.

VI. Statement of Benefits.

This is your conclusion. Show your opponent how they would benefit from accepting your position, and end your essay on a hopeful note.

 

Other Requirements:

Minimum of 1250 words

Minimum of 5 sources, with two of those sources being from a journal or book (one for each side of the argument)

Works Cited page with all sources cited according to MLA standards

1-inch margins

12-point font for Times New Roman

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