This year has certainly flown by in an instant! As a graduating senior, I look forward to May 15 and ‘the rest of my life’ and whatever it may bring. With this being said, the end of the year also means the final blog post of this academic year’s undergraduate research program. As you know from my previous blog posts, Dr. Zaslow and I have had quite an experience with our choice of topic. Thankfully, our most recent attempts to nail down a working thesis and to begin our research has proved to be successful, and we are well on our way to a comfortable position in our research in order to present at the end of this month.
As a general update to our last blog post, Dr. Zaslow and I have been able to and distribute the frames that we are bringing to light throughout our project and are currently analyzing our selection of five moments that we have chosen to focus on during this research. Though our presentation will allow us to fully elaborate on the moments we have chosen to analyze, I am happy to say that we have a great selection of stories dealing with gender ambiguity and gender non-conformity and the coverage we have been able to work with has been nothing short of eyeopening and a bit controversial.
From here on out, we are hoping to continue working on the project through the summer while also gearing up for the possibility of publishing our work. I’m excited for the future of this project and am thankful for the UGR program for matching Dr. Zaslow and I up — a great work pairing indeed!
This project, as well as its frequent ups and downs, has been a great experience to be a part of during my senior year. As mentioned before, I am graduating in just a handful of weeks, but this program has really pushed the urge for me to continue my education on the graduate school much further than I originally thought. I find myself interested in pursuing research within the realm of the LGBTQ community as well as focusing on the adolescents within this large community in the future, and I believe that this experience has really had an effect on my wanting to do this.
Well, it has been quite a whirlwind for Dr. Zaslow and I as we have gone about this research process. As mentioned in my last blog post, we had reached out to several communities that were relevant to our project, but unfortunately not everything goes as planned: we did not receive proper clearance from any community we reached out to, making our original project impossible to complete within our time frame.
Though a disappointing prospect to face, we went back to the drawing board to refocus our research and reviewed the possibilities that were available to us. Thankfully, Dr. Zaslow and I have nailed out an entirely new project and we are excited to announce that our process is currently underway.
We decided to shift our focus to the discourse made available through major U.S. news publications in regards to stories centering on instances of atypical gender norms; prevalent examples would be of children playing with toys that are typically reserved for those of the opposite sex of theirs or parents deciding to now publicly acknowledge the gender of their newborn child in an attempt to produce an environment clear of all gender norms. By analyzing how major news networks inform their audiences of these news pieces, Dr. Zaslow and I will be producing a framing analysis to acknowledge how far the publicly perpetuated discourse can vary, especially depending on which news network one person regularly tunes in to.
We have already selected our instances, or colloquially deemed ‘moments,’ that we will be analyzing and are nearly finished with compiling the proper transcripts and footage necessary for our analysis. We are both quite proud of our project and hope it could shed light on the monumental effects discoure relating to atypical gender behavior could have on both parents as well as children.
Professor Zaslow and I have begun working on our literature review, which has produced some absolutely fantastic previous research within the realm of experiences of coming out, whether from the adolescent’s perspective as well as the parent and close family’s perspective. We have already reached out to the communities we had hoped to gain access to, but have not been successful in attaining the necessary permissions to bring our research onto the next step. Though a disappointing setback, we have not lost faith in our project and we will be meeting within the week to discuss our options and how we should continue on from here.
Personally, aside from the previously mentioned setbacks, I’m excited for this project to get going. This research is important for many reasons and I know the work that both Dr. Zaslow and I are putting into it will produce a great project by year’s end.
Hello! My name is Brian Rentas and I am a senior at Pace’s New York City campus. This year, I will be working with Dr. Emilie Zaslow of the Communication Studies department on a project analyzing online communities for parents with LGBTQ children in order to explore the ways in which knowledge about parenting, advocacy, care, childhood and sexuality are constructed by parents of the community.
The coming out process is an extremely critical action within the development of self-identity of adolescents, making this research both timely and important. We want to examine online communities specifically to see if there has been a paradigm shift in knowledge: in the past, it was considered the norm for parents of LGBTQ to reach out to other family members, friends, peers or professionals after experiencing the delicate nature of having a child come out – advice and knowledge seemed to be spread, typically, through very small social circles. With the increasing popularity of the internet, we are curious to see if online communications such as forums, listservs and blogs have fostered a sense of community, and if so, what sort of knowledge is spread through these communities.
We will be reaching out to various communities for permission to examine any available communications, and once permission is granted, qualitative analysis will provide us with various results. We want to see if there is a steady increase in parents reaching out via the internet to other parents, or if the paradigm is still keeping it within the realm of close family and friends. We have just started pinpointing some communities we would like to reach out to, so by the next blog post I will possibly clue you in on anything we have found at that point!