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Envisioning Female-Strong: Reclaiming the Feminine Heroine of Young Adult Literature

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As a writer and reader of young adult (YA) literature, I find it is impossible to ignore the rise of traditional masculinity within new, adolescent heroines. In the 21st century, readers have seen the rise of supposedly strong female characters—heroines

As a writer and reader of young adult (YA) literature, I find it is impossible to ignore the rise of traditional masculinity within new, adolescent heroines. In the 21st century, readers have seen the rise of supposedly strong female characters—heroines who carry assault rifles and avoid their emotions. By relinquishing their emotions and their flaws, these heroines have sacrificed the qualities about themselves that initially made them appear so interesting. My desire to see more realistic heroines like myself developed into a creative fiction project that follows and acknowledges the voices of feminine heroines. I call these protagonists “female strong.” My project—a collection of linked short stories—is peopled with the types of heroines that are severely lacking in YA novels and in the film industry. In my own short stories, I have embraced the narratives about young women who are both strong and emotional. I wanted to create memorable female characters that the reader could root for simply because of their feminine strength, even if their flaws were naivety, or lack of confidence, or even if they failed to achieve their resolution in the end. Female-strong characters are vital because they present a view of women who aren’t purely fantasy; they are placed in the real and are feminine, too. In other words, they don’t have to be a gorgeous, knockout model who can kick butt; instead, they can derive strength from their intellect, or their intuition, or perhaps even from their emotion.

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2018-05

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Harry Potter and the Barrett Thesis: Defining Harry Potter as Young Adult Literature

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J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has revolutionized the young adult publishing industry. So popular are the Potter books that they have managed to spawn an empire of merchandise, scholarly literature, movies, and even a theme park, suggesting that Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has revolutionized the young adult publishing industry. So popular are the Potter books that they have managed to spawn an empire of merchandise, scholarly literature, movies, and even a theme park, suggesting that Harry Potter is more than just a children's book. In fact, The Harry Potter books, although often categorized under children's literature, contain many elements that make a book distinctly young adult; therefore, by conducting a rhetorical analysis of Rowling's first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, this thesis will delve deeper into the specifics of theme, literary elements, rhetorical devices, plot, marketing, and characterization to analyze, on a basic level, why Rowling's books appeal to so many, and why they are quintessentially young adult.

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2015-05

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The Hunger Games: What a Dystopic World Reveals About Modern Society

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"The Hunger Games: What a Dystopic World Reveals about Modern Society" is an interdisciplinary thesis that examines the impossibility of revolutionary stories or concepts in popular culture by specifically analyzing the Hunger Games project. First, an analysis of what young

"The Hunger Games: What a Dystopic World Reveals about Modern Society" is an interdisciplinary thesis that examines the impossibility of revolutionary stories or concepts in popular culture by specifically analyzing the Hunger Games project. First, an analysis of what young adult fiction is and how it is written is provided. The formulaic way in which modern adolescent literature is written provides the basic structure for Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy. The second chapter examines the main character of the Hunger Games series, Katniss Everdeen. The way in which this young female heroine relinquishes her independence and courage due to being consistently undermined by the men and political leaders in her life is traced by following the development of the story throughout the three novels. The third chapter of the thesis delves into how the entire Hunger Games project of novels and films fits into current popular culture. An analysis of the mass production of the novels, and then turning the books into films, merchandise, and further commercialization of the story is discussed in detail throughout the chapter. Finally, the thesis discusses the responsibility authors of young adult literature should assume when addressing a young impressionable audience and how Collins took advantage of the position she had in telling the story of Katniss Everdeen.

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2015-05

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A Song of Richard III and Feudalist Values

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This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that

This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that focus on different characters from each work. The first argument is focused on Tyrion Lannister and Richard III's deformity, and how they violate feudalist values. This argument ultimately comes to the discussion of whether or not these characters are monstrous and by what values. The second argument is focused on Daenerys Targaryen and Margaret, discussing why both authors give these women a supernatural power. The authors give women these powers because they believe that women should have power. Martin argues that women need to remake the structure, while Shakespeare believes women can change their place in the structure through collective action. The last argument focuses on Petyr Baelish and Richard III, and how they both represent a chaos attacking feudalism. Petyr is a chaos that comes outside the system, exploiting the values of the system, while Richard is a chaos within the system because he violates feudal values, while trying to hold positions where he needs to embody feudalist value. The authors come to different conclusions of what is trying to take down feudalist structure and how this could be fixed. Martin finds feudalism cannot be fixed and that other systems are not much better because they still create violence. Shakespeare comes to the conclusion that feudalism cannot be fixed because people continue to violate its values, so a new system must be put in place.

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Date Created
2015-05

Digital Representation: Race and Gender in Contemporary Video Games

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Video games are packed full of endless potential. They are the telling of impossible narratives with something for every type of person. So then why has the industry historically been one of the worst for representations of race and gender?

Video games are packed full of endless potential. They are the telling of impossible narratives with something for every type of person. So then why has the industry historically been one of the worst for representations of race and gender? In this thesis, I define "good" media representation and engage in the analysis of both Overwatch (2016) and Detroit Become Human (2018) to observe the ways these two video games, which so outwardly market their diversity, have failed marginalized groups. Accompanying the research paper is a video game poster representing a woman of color designed by the author which is meant to learn from the mistakes of its predecessors.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Looking for the Female Gaze: The Search for a Feminine Practice of Looking

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In today’s economy, advertisers understand that sex sells. The foundations of this concept, however, are influenced by patriarchal expectations that women are first and foremost sexual objects for men. Women are sold beauty and demeanor expectations for them to utilize

In today’s economy, advertisers understand that sex sells. The foundations of this concept, however, are influenced by patriarchal expectations that women are first and foremost sexual objects for men. Women are sold beauty and demeanor expectations for them to utilize when making themselves attractive for men and men are sold the idea of beautiful, docile women. This dynamic perpetuates strict definitions of acceptable gender displays and reinforces socially permitted gendered behavior. As a society in the 21st century, we understand the damage of sexist ideals, but where we fall short is in the monitoring of channels that perpetuate and maintain those stereotypes and how affected the public really is by the male gaze, and lack of a female gaze, in media. In this paper, I search for a female gaze, but in doing so recognize the inequalities inherent in yet another gendered practice of looking and instead steer the conversation towards personalized perspectives informed by an understanding of the dominant practice of looking and its inverse.

The primary perspective from which people are depicted in media today is shaped by the male gaze. The male gaze is comprised of patriarchal ideals and relies on the understanding that the spectator or viewer is a standard human being, which heteronormativity tells us is a man. From this perspective, the scope of visual representations of men and women in media has been molded after the hierarchized gender displays within which masculinity has primacy over femininity. By presenting a limited spectrum of behavior acceptable for men and women, the media hegemonically manipulates the social constructs of gender and gendered behavior across all levels of society.

This honors thesis applies semiotic and feminist methodologies to engage visual forms of media through art, film, and social media to challenge the social constructs of gender perpetuated and reinforced by dated stereotypes of gender and gendered behavior. First, the theoretical foundation will provide a framework for semiotic and feminist analysis of visual representations of gender in media. Then, I will present data representing the real-world impact that this social construction of gender has on adolescents in America using The State of Gender Equality for U.S. Adolescents, published by Plan International Inc. I will then bring together the explicated methodologies and evidential data alongside my own experiences as a female consumer of visual media to reveal alternative practices of looking that do not revolve around patriarchal norms, looking for a female gaze. In doing so, I hope to present recourse in the face of persistent use of sexist imagery across all levels of our culture and every medium of visual self-expression by providing tools that can be used to interrogate gendered perceptions and inform self-examination in pursuit of a feminist practice of looking.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Does Anger Expression Help Attorneys in Court? Perceptions of Angry Male and Female Attorneys

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The objective of this study is to determine if female attorneys are penalized for expressing anger, while male attorneys gain influence when they express anger. I hypothesized that angry male attorneys would be perceived as having more positive traits and

The objective of this study is to determine if female attorneys are penalized for expressing anger, while male attorneys gain influence when they express anger. I hypothesized that angry male attorneys would be perceived as having more positive traits and less negative traits than calm male attorney. In contrast, I hypothesized that angry female attorneys would be perceived as having more negative traits and less positive traits than calm female attorneys. I hypothesized that, as a result, participants would be more likely to hire the angry male attorney than the calm male attorney, while they would be less likely to hire the angry female attorney than the calm female attorney. After having participants view a video of attorneys giving closing arguments, whether it be angry or calm, male or female and having them answer questions, I found that both attorneys were characterized as having both more positive and negative traits than calm attorneys—regardless of their gender. In regards to the likelihood of being hired, I found that angry male attorneys were more likely to be hired than calm male attorneys. In contrast, angry female attorneys were less likely to be hired than calm female attorneys. Thus, although participants found both male and female angry (versus calm) attorneys high on negative and positive characteristics, they were more likely to hire the angry (versus calm) male attorney, which is consistent with previous research showing men are seen as more competent when expressing anger. These data suggest that there might be a systematic bias against women who try to exert influence in the courtroom by expressing anger.

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2016-12

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Individual Sex Worker Perspectives on the Influence of Gender, Wealth, and Power in Their Work

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This paper addresses the subjective experiences and personal stories of sex workers in the United States. To address this topic, I first discuss the organization and structure of this type of work and then discuss how it is related to

This paper addresses the subjective experiences and personal stories of sex workers in the United States. To address this topic, I first discuss the organization and structure of this type of work and then discuss how it is related to gender norms, a culture of moral panic, and institutionalized sexism. All of this discussion is framed using feminist debates about the possible exploitative/liberatory aspects of sex work. After establishing the broader arguments, I transition into an analysis of qualitative studies that include sex workers’ own narratives about how they experience power, consent, and exploitation in the context of their work and their lives.

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2022-05