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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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Woman with Wanderlust

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Woman with Wanderlust is a travel blog made to break down the stereotypes of female travelers as they are portrayed in mass media. The idea came to me when I was preparing to study abroad in Morocco and every person

Woman with Wanderlust is a travel blog made to break down the stereotypes of female travelers as they are portrayed in mass media. The idea came to me when I was preparing to study abroad in Morocco and every person I talked to felt the need to remind me how dangerous the world was for a woman on her own. There were many references to the popular movie ‘Taken’ starring Liam Neeson. When I decided I wanted to continue the blog on my backpacking trip through Europe, once again ‘Taken’ was referenced but people also insisted I was going to fall in love with an Italian man and never come home. It felt, to me, that the world saw the female traveler as naive and weak or in need of a man in her life. In contrast men are often encouraged to take years off to travel, to seek adventure or find themselves.
I decided I could use my education from the Cronkite School in writing, photography and social media to produce a resource for women looking to travel abroad. I could tell stories of my personal experiences that could both inspire and prove that a solo trip can be done. I also wanted to touch on topics that are not generally covered by popular travel blogs since they are specific to women. Topics like how to dress, making sure you travel during the day if you’re traveling alone and finding birth control or feminine hygiene products when you are traveling.
I funded the trip myself and currently the blog is designed, written and photographed entirely by me. Moving forward I would like to feature other women on my blog, especially those who have made travel a priority or a career. I plan on continuing to build the blog, hopefully gaining sponsors and becoming a more well known resources, and helping change the landscape of travel and travel blogging to become more female friendly.

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2015-05

A Psychological Analysis of the Modern Superhero and Its Influence on Adolescent Popular Culture

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For the sake of this thesis, two scholarly collections edited by Dr. Robin S. Rosenberg – Our Superheroes, Ourselves (2013) and The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration (2008) – were reviewed. From these two collections and the multitude of

For the sake of this thesis, two scholarly collections edited by Dr. Robin S. Rosenberg – Our Superheroes, Ourselves (2013) and The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration (2008) – were reviewed. From these two collections and the multitude of psychological theories they cite, those most relevant to adolescent character development are considered. Three broad theories are examined first: positive psychology, equity theory, and attachment style. Then, six additional specific theories that define temperament (behavioral activation system and behavioral inhibition system), personality theory, duel identity, media identification, parasocial interaction, and comparison theory are reviewed. After reviewing each theory, Heroes in Crisis (2019) , a recent bestselling DC offering that addresses superhero trauma, is analyzed through the lens of these psychological theories in order to provide insight into the psychology or both superheroes and their adolescent fans.

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2020-05