Abstract Title

Social Rhetoric Shaping Lesbian Identity

Abstract

Social rhetoric often portrays lesbians as hypersexualized, aggressive, and predatory. Yet, there is a lack of research on how this negative social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity. I seek to fill this gap in the literature by addressing this question. To do this, I use structured interviews conducted in 2016 with 5 lesbians at a university in Northeast Ohio. My findings from these interviews demonstrate that social rhetoric in the media influences women’s sexuality at a young age. Also, media and religion collectively create significant amounts of negative social rhetoric, including the stereotypes that these women face. Finally, all of the women believe that sexuality is very complex and is developed by many different social and biological factors. With this research, I hope to better understand how social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity and to influence society away from using negative social rhetoric to represent lesbians because its affects how they form their identity.

Modified Abstract

Social rhetoric often portrays lesbians as hypersexualized, aggressive, and predatory. Yet, there is a lack of research on how this negative social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity. I seek to fill this gap in the literature by addressing this question. To do this, I use structured interviews conducted in 2016 with 5 lesbians at a university in Northeast Ohio. My findings from these interviews demonstrate that social rhetoric in the media influences women’s sexuality at a young age. Also, media and religion collectively create significant amounts of negative social rhetoric, including the stereotypes that these women face. Finally, all of the women believe that sexuality is very complex and is developed by many different social and biological factors. With this research, I hope to better understand how social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity and to influence society away from using negative social rhetoric to represent lesbians because its affects how they form their identity.

Research Category

Social Science/Education/Public Health

Author Information

Bethany HollandFollow

Primary Author's Major

Sociology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Clare Stacey

Presentation Format

Oral

Start Date

21-3-2017 1:00 PM

Research Area

Gender and Sexuality

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Mar 21st, 1:00 PM

Social Rhetoric Shaping Lesbian Identity

Social rhetoric often portrays lesbians as hypersexualized, aggressive, and predatory. Yet, there is a lack of research on how this negative social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity. I seek to fill this gap in the literature by addressing this question. To do this, I use structured interviews conducted in 2016 with 5 lesbians at a university in Northeast Ohio. My findings from these interviews demonstrate that social rhetoric in the media influences women’s sexuality at a young age. Also, media and religion collectively create significant amounts of negative social rhetoric, including the stereotypes that these women face. Finally, all of the women believe that sexuality is very complex and is developed by many different social and biological factors. With this research, I hope to better understand how social rhetoric shapes lesbian identity and to influence society away from using negative social rhetoric to represent lesbians because its affects how they form their identity.