Marissa McGrath Ted Talk: The F Word: How Feminism Saved My Life

WGSS Senior Marissa McGrath was featured on the 4th annual TEDxOhioStateUniversity event, held on Feb. 14, 2015, titled “The Human Narrative.” The event talks covered stories, ideas and topics that make up our collective story as human beings.

In this talk, Marisa McGrath talks about her perspective on feminism as an undergraduate student. Initially rejecting feminism due to the negative stereotypes with which it is associated, Marisa found solace in feminism after combating a series of unfortunate events. With feminism, Marisa was able to grow and flourish.

Marisa McGrath is a senior at The Ohio State University double majoring in International Relations and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, on campus, McGrath is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, The Girl’s Circle Project and various other activities. She graduates this May.

Congratulations Marissa and thank you for sharing your powerful story!

Selfie Revolution by Riana Brewer

Selfie Revolution

WGSS Undergraduate Senior Riana Brewer created her own media-rich Ted Talk for an independent assignment in Professor Suchland’s senior seminar class. Brewer’s presentation discusses self-representation and how the rise in self-promotion on the internet (via selfies) challenges mainstream messages which overwhelm our society with images of white, cisnormative/heteronormative, and able bodied representations of beauty. Brewer runs a popular tumblr site called lezbhonest which seeks to proliferate images of non-normative expressions of love and identity. Brewer is in the process of creating a second video of interviews with people about their experiences as LGBTQ.

“The act of self-representation helps to break these narrowly defined roles and boundaries. When minority groups and individuals, such as queer people of color, take selfies, they are actively demonstrating against the narrow boundaries set forth by institutions. They are building a base of individuals that celebrate diversity and individualism. In the past, disciplinary control have forbid workers from wearing braided hairstyles common in Black culture. Selfies are reaffirming that wearing braided hair, performing gender, and being queer and happy is a positive act worth celebrating. Selfies from minority communities often receive hundreds to thousands of comments and “notes” that produces a psychological benefit to the uploader (feels better about self in a world that denies identity), affirmation for others in the community, and a certain “cool” factor or newfound appreciation from mainstream society”

Watch her video here:  Selfie Revolution Ted Talk


Spotlight on Deb Beight: Presenting at The Ohio University’s Upcoming Queer Studies Conference

debWomen’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies undergraduate, Debra Beight is dual majoring in Communication and WGSS with a minor in Sexuality Studies with the intention of pursuing an MPH in Public Health. Her main research interests involve women’s reproductive health, LGBTQ individuals and the media, and safe-sex practice representations in pornography. She is also a valuable member of the WGSS office team.

She will be presenting her most recent work at Ohio University’s Second Annual Queer Studies conference on April 11th. Her paper is called “Transgender Misrepresentations in the Paratexts of Motion Pictures: Masking the Authenticity of the Transgender Experience in TransAmerica and Boys Don’t Cry.” In it Debra deconstructs the promotional materials for the two films to identify the ways in which there is an attempt to normalize the transgender experience but at the compromise of an authentic transgender narrative. This summer she will be working with the Sociology department in a research project that examines gender inequality in hiring processes across various blue and white collar job markets.

Through the School of Communication, Debra is the 2014/2015 recipient of the Marcy Hill Memorial Scholarship and through the WGSS department she has been awarded the Robin Wiehm Writing Award as well as the Mildred Munday Scholarship.

Debra is in training to become a master sexpert with the Student Health Center and is also a member of the OSU chapters of the National Society of Leadership and Success, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is the incoming president of Triota, the WGSS honor society.  Off campus she has worked as an intern and a volunteer with both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and is a support group facilitator for the Columbus chapter of The Straight Spouse Network.