Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gender Studies Minor Students Present Research

On Tuesday, November 11, five students minoring in Gender Studies presented their research projects to the campus community in the Schweiker Room of the Andruss Library.

In its second year, the research event was well-attended by about sixty students and faculty. 

English major Matthew Boyarsky delivered his presentation "Masculinity and Its Effect on Language" in which he reflected on the origins of gender-biased language and the way it perpetuates a dated and heavy-handed male culture. Through his research, he invited an open dialogue for any alternative ways of addressing language and using its power to create environments that are comfortable for all genders.

Next to present was Anna James, whose research entitled "Feminine Figures and Their Roles: Comparison between Ancient Society and Nineteenth Century Society" led her to many theories as to why women in the ancient society of Egypt were treated as equal to men. "Women in that society were breaking rules and becoming leaders, while women in the 1920s and earlier had lesser rights than those of a child or even a slave. One of the most credited theories relates to Egypt’s worship of many Gods and Goddesses and the reflection on how these Goddesses were seen; they mostly represented fertility and nurturing, while 1920s American society had Greek and Christian influences that has included the worship of male figures," said James in her abstract.
from left: Sarah Tessarvich, Anna James, Matt Boyarsky, Brian Molk and Albra Wheeler
(not pictured: Karli Miller)
photo courtesy of Ferda Asya
Anthropology major Bryan Molk presented research on gay and lesbian views from an African perspective at universities in the United States. His research assisted Molk in securing and completing an internship with Global Rights: Partners For Justice, where he helped to develop and support aspects of their Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) and Women's Rights programs.
His presentation "Gay and Lesbian Rights from an African Perspective: Applying The Research" included ethnographic research surveyed forty-one African students, who were studying in the United States, on their views and opinions of gay and lesbian rights. His data showed an overall positive receptiveness for gay and lesbian people, with a clear influence of Western ideology as a result of these students' studies and experiences at the institutions in the United States. 
Theatre major Sara Tessarvich's presentation "Portrayal and Representation of Transgender Individuals in Popular Media" dealt with how those who identify as transgender are portrayed in television and movies and how they are represented in media such as magazines and reality shows. Tessarvich discussed the overarching number and nature of the representations in recent television shows and by providing examples of media containing transgender individuals in Transparent and Orange is the New Black. She then discussed reality shows and magazines that feature transgender individuals such as Time magazine, Dancing With the Stars, and TRANSform Me.
Albra Wheeler, a Communication Studies major presented "Getting Bi in a Hetero World: Myths and Stereotypes of Bisexual Individuals." Wheeler's research and workshop are a celebration of bisexual identities. "In my presentation, I expose the audience of the diversity of the bisexual identity while covering stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions of the LGBTQA community; particularly those who identify as bisexual and non-monosexual," said Wheeler in her abstract.
English and Communication Studies major Karli Miller was unable to present her research "Fifty Shades of Grey: Unfortunate Facts about Unrealistic Fiction" due to illness.

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