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Women's & Gender Studies.

Reproductive Health Experiences of Older Adolescent Girls. Micaela Stevenson, Dyann Logwood, and Taryn Gal, Eastern Michigan University

Little research has been conducted to illuminate the reproductive health experiences of older adolescent girls. Even less research has been conducted to assess race and class based differences in reproductive health experience. In this study, I researched what kinds of experiences older adolescent girls had with healthcare providers. Additionally, this research assessed whether or not reproductive health experiences were significantly different between racial and ethnic groups and on the basis of class. We hypothesized that varying races and classes would have significantly different experiences regarding reproductive health care experience. To assess this, I provided a 5-10 minute survey through Qualtrics offered to women and people who can become pregnant between the ages of 18 and 24 throughout the state of Michigan. Data were analyzed through ANOVA. This research indicated that there were significant differences between class and ethnicies regarding reproductive health care experiences. We hope to use this research to inform health practitioners and medical students regarding how to practice differently and engage differently with their patients. Additionally, we hope to utilize these data to answer more questions around health disparities within adolescent communities.

Moana: Is Disney Done with the Containment of Women? Monica Drohan, Oakland University

Moana, a movie released in 2016 by the Walt Disney Company, has brought to the big screen the idea that the containment of females in patriarchal cultures remains worthy of our critical inquiry in contemporary society. Disney films and other Hollywood media projects have profited greatly off of antiquated perspectives on women in society, particularly through the archetype of the "princess"; Moana offers a new representation, and critique, of this archetype. Using feminist rhetorical criticism and theories of containment, this paper assesses the ways in which the movie Moana employs containment strategies traditionally used to constrain women in a way that allows the female protagonist to discover her own agency. I argue that this questioning of traditional modes of containment promotes the empowerment of young women in a medium that allows children to understand and potentially develop their own agency based on new belief systems. It is within this critique, I maintain, that the progressive "Waytinder" princess is created.

Reclaiming Attempts at Containment: Serena Williams and Hegemonic Femininity. Rachel L. Williams, Oakland University

Using feminist rhetorical criticism and theories of containment, this paper investigates media representations of tennis professional Serena Williams that function to contain her athletic performance, body, and femininity while constricting her to tropes based on her race and sex, and her response to such efforts. This investigation focuses on three texts that span Williams' career, providing a meaningful overview of how she is contained through time, as well as one pivotal text in which she strategically responds to such containment. These texts include: tennis hall of fame inductee, John McEnroe's NPR interview in which he denies her of her athletic accomplishments; sports journalist Jason Whitlock's criticism of her body in his sports column; tennis player Maria Sharapova's criticism of Williams; and a letter written by Williams addressing her mother after giving birth to her first child. This paper asks the question: how has Williams been contained as a black, female athlete in media representations and in turn disarmed these attempts at containment in her career and letter to her mother? Through her refusal to adhere to specific gender norms and celebrating her body and athletic ability through her media presence, I contend that Williams effectively disarms these attempts at containment.

The HerStory Project: Girls behind Bars Unlock Their Stories and Release Their Voices. Colette Legault-Fields, University of Michigan-Flint

Flint's lead-tainted water crisis brought international attention and aid to the community and its residents. However, the area's youth continue to face hardships including violence, crime, and generational poverty as well as numerous barriers to basic skill development, such as cash-strapped schools and inadequate support services. Likewise, opportunities for enrichment and positive diversions are limited. Increasingly, girls from Flint and surrounding communities who come into contact with the law find themselves at GVRC, Flint's youth detention facility. Girls' experiences with the justice system are gendered and often stem from the intersectional effects of racial and class inequalities. Moreover, research shows that the majority of justice-involved girls have suffered a range of trauma and/or victimization. Mirroring nationwide trends, the female percentage of GVRC's population is rising and girls-of-color are disproportionally represented.

This paper discusses the HerStory Project: a multidisciplinary, Women's History and arts-based program empowering girls at GVRC to discover, own, and share their authentic voices and narratives. The gender-responsive program enables detained girls to acquire knowledge and tools to engage in self-exploration, skill-building, and positive expression. Results of the Project can serve as a resource for stakeholders to learn about the gendered and racialized experiences leading girls into the system.

Workplace Discrimination against White Collar Lesbians and Gays and Their Coping Strategies: A Case Study from Ankara, Turkey. Aysun Oner, Ankara University

This study explores workplace sexual orientation discrimination in Turkey. The discrimination and harassment experiences of white collar lesbian and gay individuals at the work place, the results of these negative experiences and how they cope with these are discussed in this study. In this research, I analyze the existing theoretical literature of sexual orientation discrimination and evaluate their relevance in a developing country, such as Turkey, where traditional and cultural beliefs and norms are still prevalent. The presence of sexual orientation discrimination is put forth through interviews held with eight white collar lesbians and twelve white collar gays. Gays and lesbians, who experience discrimination at different levels and in different work environments, try to vitiate the effect of this treatment by using various strategies, such as hiding their sexual orientation by fabricating a lover or appearing to be asexual, quitting, or ghettoization. On the contrary, they may choose to protect their self-integrity and reveal their sexual orientation, thereby becoming implicitly or explicitly out. Work place safety, self-integration and the degree of being in compliance with gender norms are the key determinants in the decisions of lesbians and gays regarding the strategies and there is fluidity between all strategies.

Beyond the Victim/Agent Dichotomy: A Discussion of Ecofeminism, Intersectionality, and Climate Change. Kaydee Hall, Alma College

Images of disheveled women carrying their children in the wake of climate change and its attendant natural disasters plague our social media feeds. We have 36 million climate refugees, with women and their dependent children disproportionately accounting for over 80%, and being 14 times more likely to die in environmental disasters than men. In this paper, I use ecofeminism and intersectionality as frameworks to unpack how climate change is a gendered issue, as well as a humanitarian cause. I will focus, specifically, on the many structural reasons why women are poorer, less educated, have a lower health status, and occupy vulnerable positions within their families and communities and how this leads them to be especially susceptible to climate change. The oppression, under-inclusion, and inefficacy of women as climate change activists is a related matter of global concern, and I will supplement this narrative with my discussion with the local group Michigan Climate Action Network.

Panel Presentation: Gender and Power in Popular Television Series.

Deborah Dougherty, Joanne Gilbert, and Stephany Slaughter, Alma College

This panel explores the rhetorical construction of marginalized identities in popular culture genres. Focusing on the way humor, drama and melodrama simultaneously create and contest power dynamics, the three papers presented provide a template for examining popular culture discourses as potentially subversive. With Joanne Gilbert investigating the way humor provides subversive cultural critique of gender dynamics in Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, Stephany Slaughter interrogating intersections of immigration and intergenerational female relationships in Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time, and Deborah Dougherty analyzing gendered representations of historical figures in Isabel and juana Ines, this panel offers unique readings of these diverse cultural texts.

Participants and paper titles for this panel are:

Deborah Dougherty: "Permission to Be Exceptional: Isabel and Juana Ines"

Joanne Gilbert: "Laugh Tracks: Gender and Power Dynamics in Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory"

Stephany Slaughter: "Mothering in the Borderlands: Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time"

"So Say We All": Gender Roles and Characteristics Defiance in Battlestar Galactica. Gabrielle Alter and Prathim Maya Dora-Laskey, Alma College

Several characters in the television program Battlestar Galactica defy gender roles that exist in contemporary society through swapping specifically associated characteristics and behaviors of one gender to the other. Moreover, the gender blurring appears to be multidirectional. Females expressing male characteristics is a characteristic common in many science-fiction television programs, but males expressing female gender roles is rare. In this paper, I propose to examine several episodes of Battlestar Galactica from the standpoint of gender role swapping. My detailed examination of the characters of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, President Laura Roslin, and Dr. Gaius Baltar through close readings of dialogue, situational contexts, and character development will establish that the show subverts, resists, and challenges typical gendered norms and narratives. The existence and success of the gender-benders in Battlestar Galactica prove that gender is largely a social construct and provides a possible template for the future.

Does Religiosity Impact Gendered Rates of Depression? Melissa Ponce Rodas and Nicolai Williams, Andrews University

The literature has shown that during adolescence, rates of depression double in women in the United States. There are many theories as to why this happens, ranging from societal to biological, yet the findings support a multi-factor explanation. The current study sought to explore whether religiosity affected mental health stigma and depression in college students. During this session, we will discuss how religiosity, mental health stigma and depression varied among female and male college students. Implications for how mental health practitioners could incorporate these findings with college students will be discussed.
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Publication:Michigan Academician
Date:Sep 22, 2018
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