Spring 2022 COMSOC 218: Gendered Communication in Society final group projects meant for sharing with wide audiences.
The overarching goal of the final project is to provide an outlet for students to integrate scholarly research and theory/ies on a gender and communication topic of interest and importance in the spirit of sharing experiential and scholarly knowledge, and provoking critical thought beyond the walls of our classroom and community and into the realm of widespread audience(s).
Gendered Representations in Disney Productions
By Adele Zhang, Gaby Sanclimenti, Julianna Rembisz, Lisa Meng
This project explores the gendered messages presented by four Disney films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), Cinderella (1950), Encanto (2021), and Turning Red (2022). Each film showcases specific gender roles, beauty standards, romantic expectations, familial relationships, and feminized/masculinized attributes. While both Encanto and Turning Red show improvement from the stereotype-entrenched Snow White and Cinderella, Disney’s strict gendered ideals prevail despite the guise of modern content in the films. This paper discusses the possible implications of these gendered messages sent by the movies. Having poor representation of women and, in some instances, men, in these films translates into negative lessons learned by viewers who perpetuate gender stereotypes in their own lives. In order to combat the stereotypes spread by Disney films, an Instagram thread was created with the findings outlined in this paper. The thread intends to assist current students, many of whom likely grew up with Disney, and others interested in media studies in exploring how the films they have watched have influenced their understanding of gender roles. In all, both the thread and the paper attempt to highlight where Disney has gone wrong in portraying gender and how to analytically interpret the films without blindly believing in the problematic narratives and bringing negative stereotypes further into reality.
Click here for the Instagram slide deck: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cdepb_hpiNw/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
The Portrayal of the Themes of Love, Sex, & Relationships Across Different Genres of Music
By Amaya Bradford, Sean Dick, Brillon Joseph, Elena Polin
This project aims to explore the way the portrayal of the themes of love, relationships, and sex differ or coincide across four genres of music: Pop, Hyperpop, Hip-Hop, and Rhythm & Blues (R&B). Most importantly, throughout this exploration and simultaneous analysis, the gendered communication that exists throughout these themes across these genres will be emphasized and discussed. As research was conducted for this project, several distinct and culturally intriguing trends were identified across the different genres of music. It was agreed upon that, given the nature and focus of the project, a podcast would be one of the more effective methods of disseminating the findings of our exploration along with our interpretations and ideas. It is rather pivotal to be aware of the way these themes are illustrated for several reasons: 1) we are able to recognize the distinctions and similarities amongst different genres and 2) given that we live in a society that is dominated by media of all types, it is important to know how we are unknowingly being conditioned to perceive love, relationships, and sex in our own personal lives.
Click here for the podcast:
Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
By ST Hammer, Claire Tatum, Ellie Stewart, Katie Stewart
Religious practices and teachings influence the ways people think and live. These practices and teachings have extensive implications for us all, but particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. Gendered stereotypes, homophobia, and transphobia have consequences in different religious realms, as does the conceptualization of deities as gendered figures. Therefore, research was conducted in each of these topic areas. With this research, we aimed to learn more about the effects of these harmful behaviors and attitudes specifically in religious contexts. In addition to our research, surveys were distributed to college-age students to gain an understanding of thoughts and experiences relative to religion, gender, sexuality, and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. These surveys revealed that enforcing traditionalist views of gender and sexuality and justifying them with religion negatively impacts people, specifically young people. Given these results, it is clear that in order to make organized religion a truly affirming space, leaders across all religions need to reevaluate many of their practices that exclude LGBTQ+ people and those who do not fit strictly in a gender binary.
Click here for the Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/gender_sexuality_religion/
An Evaluation of Gendered Communication Within Different Situations Encountered Romantic Relationships
By Abby Pompeo, Amani Sodhi, Julia Smith
Today’s dating world comes with unique challenges with the rise of online dating. This phenomenon, paired with the struggles of in-person, typical dating, like previous baggage, communication errors, cheating, commitment, and compatibility disconnects, creates a whole new dating world. In this paper, already written studies will be explored and expanded on to discuss the implications of modern-day dating. It will be further discussed how partners decide whether to stay or exit a relationship. In addition, these factors will be connected back to how a parent chooses to raise their child and the importance of infant development according to the social learning theory.
Click here for the TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZTdgXE4Th/[MA1]
The B0dy Project
By Josie Lambert, Sophia Passalaqua, and Franny Shea
Body Image issues plague women across the country. Body image issues can take multiple forms, but studies have shown that an increase in social media has increased the number of women dissatisfied with their bodies. Given the fact that there is an adequate number of academic journals and research on general body dysmorphia, we honed our topic of focus on body dysmorphia among elite athletes. In addition to the lack of information among student-athletes and poor body image, the group members of this project are all Division 1 athletes who have experienced body image problems in their everyday lives. As a group, we were guided by the adverse effects social media has on college athletes and the seriousness of poor body image among female athletes. To finish our project, we focused on steps that will help fix the systemic problem among athletes and negative body image.
Follow the project on Instagram at: @theb0dyproject
The Media’s Sexualization of the Latina Body and Its Consequences
By Jade Granda, Jose Martinez Quiroz, Lizbeth Velasco, Micaela Borja
As the Latina body becomes more exposed in today’s media, the Latina body also becomes more prone to sexualization and stereotyping. The sources mentioned throughout this literature review discuss the Latina body and its sexualization in the media. In addition, a celebrity discussed across these sources is Jennifer Lopez and her posterior, which led us to research how the Latina Body as a whole is sexualized in the media. We also researched how white body ideals impact Latinas. Do they feel pressured to follow these body standards? Does culture play a role? What characteristics of the Latina body are sexualized and criticized under the white gaze? Although the media communicates these notions of the Latina body to different audiences, we also wanted to discover how the media affects Latinas’ daily lives; those Latinas who are not on the screen. To accomplish this feat, we interviewed college-aged Latinas (18-23). We asked them about their experiences as Latinas in a predominantly white institution to bring our research to a communal level and hear their voices.
Hookup Culture, Parties, Alcohol, & Accountability on College Campuses
By Laura Bullock, Cameron Krakowiak, Ellie Adler
Though college campuses facilitate learning, personal growth, and diverse experience, they also house a fast paced and complex sexual culture. Though not all students at American colleges will choose to participate in casual sex, it has become normative. Many students struggle to navigate the landscape of partying and hooking up because it influences many areas of student life. As Lisa Wade explains
Residential colleges are what sociologist Erving Goffman called “total institutions,” planned entities that collect large numbers of like individuals, cut them off from the wider society, and provide for all their needs. And because hookup culture is totally institutionalized, when students move into a dorm room on a college campus, they become a part of it—whether they like it or not.
A variety of factors like dating and Greek like, and other social pressures continue to shape student experience. Through critical analysis of past research and student testimony we can understand the harms and benefits of current trends in college hookup culture.
Check out their video here:
Hookup Culture and Consent on College Campuses
By Julia Matthiesen, Abigail Matthews, Caroline Maurano
This analysis aims to dissect hookup culture on college campuses as a contributor to heterosexual norms and consider its influences on gendered communication. Guiding our exploration of hookup culture are three main questions: ‘How is hookup culture perpetuated on college campuses?,’ ‘What keeps hookup culture and the mainstream party scene so gendered and ,’ and ‘How does hookup culture contribute to issues of rape and consent on college campuses?’ Through these questions, we examined the new hookup culture on college campuses and the ways in which they reinforce patriarchal hegemonic masculinity and gendered power imbalances. Modern hookup culture perpetuates and upholds traditional gender norms. While hookup culture is not viewed as harmful among most college students since so many young adults participate, it can lead to negative experiences for women. Hook up culture can lend to the normalization of sexual violence against women and creates a space where sexual encounters often go further than the female participant wants. Our investigation into hookup culture concludes that there is a need for education on informed consent and inclusion within the party scene on college campuses in order to break away from the hegemonic masculinity embedded in hookup culture. College communities should make a concerted effort to deconstruct the double standard between men and women and create a more diverse script that improves the atmosphere for participants of hookup culture.
For the creative portion of this assignment, our group decided to disseminate an informative pamphlet to stimulate a conversation about problematic aspects of hookup culture including the double standard for men and women, the perpetuation of heteronormativity, and how consent can affect sexual interactions. We created a graphic on Canva, printed the pamphlets, folded them into a tri-fold and then distributed them on group study tables in the library. The library is notoriously well attended during finals week, so we thought it would reach the most people there. To encourage a conversation, on the inside flap, we included questions for consideration and placed the pamphlets on group study tables in the library on the first floor.
Check out the informational pamphlet below:
In an effort to continue our own educational journeys on these and other gendered communication topics, here is a list of resources for us all to reference at our own pace, including 1) a list of weblinks, and 2) the references the student groups used to inform their projects above. Enjoy!
Susan Stryker’s book, Transgender History
Dr. Katie Horowitz’s GSS360: Transgender Studies syllabus is linked here.
Trans Student Educational Resource has a collection of helpful infographics, and they also offer workshops on, among other things, queer and trans media, at both the introductory and intermediate level.
Screaming Queens – documentary
The Celluloid Closet
Jonathan Van Ness episode on the gender binary on Netflix
Disclosure (documentary on Netflix or Hulu)
Bruce, A. M. (2007). The Role of the “Princess” in Walt Disney’s Animated Films: Reactions of College Students. Studies in Popular Culture, 30(1), 1–25.
Bush, J., & Howard, B. (Directors). (2021). Encanto [Film]. Walt Disney Pictures; Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Conroy, S. (2022). Narrative matters: Encanto and intergenerational trauma. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1111/camh.12563.
Douglas, S., Tang, L., & Rice, C. (2022). Gender performativity and postfeminist parenting in children’s television shows. Sex Roles, 86(3-4), 249–262. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-021-01268-9.
England, D. E., Descartes, L., & Collier-Meek, M. A. (2011). Gender role portrayal and the Disney princesses. Sex Roles, 64(7-8), 555–567. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-9930-7
Hand, D., Cottrell, W., Jackson, N., Morey, L., Pearce, P., & Sharpsteen, B. (Directors). (1937). Snow White and the Seven Dwarves [Film]. Walt Disney Productions.
Jackson, W., Luske, H., & Geronimi, C. (Directors). (1950). Cinderella [Film]. Walt Disney Productions.
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Kutsuzawa, K. (2000). Disney’s Pocahontas: Reproduction of Gender, Orientalism, and the Strategic Construction of Racial Harmony in the Disney Empire. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 6(4), 39–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2000.11665893
Macaluso, M. (2018). Postfeminist Masculinity: The New Disney Norm? Social Sciences, 7(11), 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7110221
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Gender-Appropriate Behavior. Children’s Literature in Education, 35(2), 135–154.
Shawcroft, J. E., Coyne, S. M., Zurcher, J. D., & Brubaker, P. J. (2022). Depictions of gender across eight decades of Disney animated film: The role of film producer, director, and writer gender. Sex Roles, 86(5-6), 346–365. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-022-01273-6.
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