Sociology Honors Theses
Hitler and Putin: A Cautionary TaleAdolph Hitler and Vladimir Putin are just two political leaders who have utilized the power of propaganda in order to benefit their career ambitions. Others such as Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump have also built an almost cult following behind them of supporters who can, in some cases, wind up committing brutal acts of terror under their leadership, like the SS officers who worked in Hitler's concentration camps. This paper analyzes the methods in which Putin and Hitler came to power and provides insight on other leaders whose actions allow me to draw parallels between them and Hitler. The aim of this paper is not to say that Putin is the next Hitler, but rather to synthesize and draw parallels between political leaders through the commonalities in their employed propagandas and to show that danger can sometimes lurk in the shadows. What I have found in committing to this thesis is that there are almost endless similarities between powerful men and women and Hitler, which has led me to decide that this will be the first draft of what will end up being a more comprehensive work including more political figures and groups such as ISIS. My intention is that this cautionary tale can be appreciated by the public as a written work that will force readers to think more critically about the information they get from their media sources. I also offer this thesis as a prime example for why we should always remember our history because if we don't, we will inevitably repeat it.
The Cost of Commercials: An Analysis of Electronic Media and the Reinforcement of Gender RolesThe one social problem that has always captivated my attention as a student of Sociology is the problem of gender inequality. Now if you were to speak to most people, they may tell you that gender inequality is a moot point because our society has advanced and women have many of the same opportunities as men do. While this may be true, the idea that gender inequality is nonexistent in this day and age is a laughable idea. I chose to research this topic to show the general public that gender inequality still exists in many forms and we still have a long way to go in order to reach true equality of gender. It is my hypothesis that television commercials reinforce gender roles and socialize our society to accept and believe that men and women must perform and live in different and separate roles. My methodology in undertaking this research project was a content analysis approach. First, I wanted to find one male centric channel and one female centric channel in order to see the difference in commercials between the two. I chose two cable television networks that had the highest viewership demographics for both men and women respectively. After researching, I discovered that Lifetime had on average a 75% female viewership overall (highest of all cable channels) and Spike TV had on average a 70% male viewership overall (highest outside of sports specific channels). After finding these two channels, I watched 3 hours of prime time programming for each channel and recorded and analyzed every commercial that I saw. My findings allow me to conclude that there is a correlation between television commercials and the reinforcement of gender roles.
Video Games and Misogyny: Understanding the RelationshipThis study uses survey method in a state college in Massachusetts to gauge whether or not a relationship exists between frequency of video game playing and levels of misogyny. A survey was administered to ~100 students, male and female, to discern frequency of video game playing and levels of misogyny. A literature review revealed that video game playing does result in negative feelings towards women in women, as well as men. Literatures also indicate that representation of women in video games is troublesome as well. The study did not find significance in its hypothesis, but still dug into a fairly new avenue of media and ideas on gender.
Racial Injustices: The Menstrual Health Experiences of African American and Latina WomenThe goal of this research is to examine racial disparities among college-age African American and Latina women with a focus on menstrual health issues and their experiences with health care. This research includes a literature review that explores the existence of institutionalized racism and sexism in medicine, giving attention to reproductive justice and ultimately menstrual justice for women of color. It also entails four semi-structured, in-depth interviews with African American and Latina women, through which I identified four common themes: 1) the normalization of pain, symptoms, and experiences, 2) feelings of not being taken seriously by medical providers, 3) the disruption of daily activities and self-image, and 4) feelings of frustration that treatments are not working. Previous research supports the findings that women of color are disproportionately disadvantaged compared to their White counterparts in terms of birth outcomes and infant mortality, quality of medical care, and their relationship with medical professionals. Although the area of menstrual justice is particularly understudied, this research sheds light on the experiences of women of color who have sought medical care for menstrual health conditions in the hopes that their health care experiences will not go unnoticed or be dismissed. Medical professionals can draw on this study to address the problem of racial disparities in medical treatment, menstrual health, and health care in general to provide a meaningful and effective path for women of color.