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Writing Update!

So, this is it. The mama-jamma, monster, reason for being, super-gargantuan piece of writing that gave me a Master’s degree. MY THESIS.

An Analysis of Femininity: How Popular Female Characters In the Media Portray Contemporary Womanhood.

That’s a super fancy way of saying “how do girls on TV influence girls in the real world.”

This was truly a labor of love, and a rather fun project to work on. As you’ve noticed, my research field while in graduate school was primarily young women and how the media affects our cohort. All of my research during those two years culminated in this document. Hope you find it interesting!


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Voices of Women Voters – Chapter 3

The economy seems to be on everyone’s minds as the election draws near. What are women saying about the election? And what are they thinking about how the media portrays women?

women votersTake a look at the latest installment of Voices of Women Voters and share your thoughts on what’s important to you.

Voices of Women Voters – Chapter 3

Additionally, I found a great article about how women are erroneously being courted as one voting bloc, and how detrimental that can be for the election. An interesting read, for sure.

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Half the Sky

“Up to 107 million women are missing from the globe today.”

“Every year, 2 million girls disappear because of gender discrimination.”

“More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.”

“More girls are killed in…”gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”

These statistics are startling. And only the beginning of a global human rights issues that spans from the depths of India to small town Baton Rouge. Whether the topic be sex discrimination, human trafficking, gender-based violence or education, the idea that women are still being treated as property, objects, lesser-than or inferior is startling.

I recently watched a portion of Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” a multimedia documentary based on the book by the same name that emphasizes the global issues of women’s rights and, thankfully, what is being done to combat the issue.

My sister gave me this book a few months ago, and though I have yet to read it, the documentary was powerful enough to create a deep sense of sorrow and renewed passion for this topic for me.

I focus my research and writing about women in American media, or a young girl’s social development, but the larger women’s rights issues lay heavy on my heart. It doesn’t take a trip to Cambodian brothels for one to see discrimination or violence against women and girls. And one doesn’t have to travel to Vietnam to research education initiatives that encourage girls to stay in school, rather than dropping out at the average age of 14. You see it everyday, in more subtle forms, existing in even the most free and developed countries. But, the authors of this book did make those trips, and are sharing these stories to help raise awareness. I hope you’ll take a look at the trailer, understand the cause and maybe take part.

People may disagree about how or what a woman should be, but no one should disagree that a woman has a right to be.

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Voices of Women Voters – Chapter 1

Do you ever feel like your voice isn’t being heard? Do you feel the media paints limited pictures of women, and you don’t fit in any of those categories? What are you most interested in about the upcoming presidential election?

women voters

These questions–and more–are what I’m hoping to investigate with my new project, Voices of Women Voters. You may have noticed the new page on the blog, and will be an ongoing project as I look at how women are thinking about politics and representation of women.

Head on over to the Voices of Women Voters page and see the first chapter of this project. I’d love your thoughts, comments or feedback!

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Writing Update!

As you’ve seen here, one of my research interests is the representation of women in the media. This past semester I conducted an original research project to examine how popular feminist discourses are used throughout teen or tween media. It was a fascinating study, and one I hope to expand further. But, for now, the original introduction to the paper has been added to my writing page! This is a very relevant and important topic to today’s media landscape, and I hope research like this can help improve the media texts offered to women and young girls. Enjoy!


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You Can’t Be What You Can’t See

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Everyone knows the media is in every part of our lives. Recent statistics show that teenagers consume up to 10 hours PER DAY of media. That includes music, television, radio, Internet, etc. What’s even more interesting is the power the media has in shaping the messages we see. Advertising, reality television, news broadcasts, you name it, all have the power to frame messages that make you, the consumer, more apt to believe, buy or internalize.

So what happens when these teenagers that consume so much media, are only exposed to a limited number of roles, stereotypes and definitions of what they can be? Specific to young girls, what does it say for our society that girls are exposed to unlimited amounts of reality television where the women are fighting, spitting on each other, openly having sex with their male counterparts, yet, often can’t name one woman senator or representative? What are the effects of this perpetual regurgitating of limited models of femininity?

“Miss Representation” – a documentary about the inequality of women in the media addresses this very issue. It focuses on the limited roles available to women in the media, the metaphorical boxes the media like to put women in and the effects this can have on young girls. It discusses how limited, positive examples of strong women in media can disrupt a young girls construction of identity. It even covers how young boys are socialized in specific ways that hinder their full emotional and behavioral growth. I would recommend this film to anyone interested in this topic.

Watch the trailer here:

From the film’s website: “In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”

While explaining the film to Jason, he (politely) asked me last night “when will it be enough? what will it take for women to say ‘we’ve succeeded?'” And I don’t think I know the answer. But I think education about these statistics and the inequalities that exist is the first step. I think for me, success will be when women do not feel limited in any opportunities they want to pursue, nor feel judged for their actions. But that’s easy to say. How can we put it in action?

What do you think? Do you think the media incorrectly portrays women? And how would like to see it resolved?