In telling my Untold History of Gender Roles on the Internet, my work evolved from showing how the Internet affects (if at all) gender roles to how gender roles are expressed online. One of the first things that came as a surprise to me in starting research on my topic was that the Internet itself does not really affect the way we treat gender to any major extent. I thought this was an interesting point to express so in my first project, the Visual Essay, I showed how the Internet merely replicates the gender norms that we have previously been socialized to adopt.
I used this topic as a starting point for my Video Essay, by asking gender studies professor, Will Upchurch, what he thought about how the Internet affects gender roles (if at all). He was a very knowledgable and insightful interviewee and he took my question and went even further to explain how gender norms can be oppressive and harmful to both women AND men. I made a mental note to explore this theme of oppression and sexism in a later project (I ended up using this for my Remix and Remediation assignments).
First and foremost, I knew I needed to do at least one project on how men and women actually behave differently online. So for my next project, the Audio Documentary, I decided to conduct interviews of my male and female friends and use that material to incorporate my research findings on gendered behavior online. To my pleasant surprise, almost all of their answers aligned with my research, which gave me a rich collection of useful material.
I moved on from the analytical, research-based side of my project and decided to talk about a serious social issue: sexism. My Remix assignment was made up of a collection of images, GIFs, and music videos, that I found online, that all showed sexist attitudes towards women.
However, I was worried that only focusing on online sexism towards women was leaving my project a bit one-sided. After all, as Will Upchurch had said, sexism affects both genders, even males who benefit from patriarchy. Therefore, for my Remediation assignment I decided to recreate my Remix assignment from the male perspective. I thought this provided a good “ending” to my Untold history since this is an issue that often goes ignored and could be enlightening to people.
Overall, my projects pretty much boiled down to two overarching themes: the role of the Internet and the gender divide. I decided to set up my final website using these two major concepts. I also feel that my Video Essay provides the best general description of my topic so I will use that as an introductory piece on the homepage. Check out how my website is coming along here: http://www.wix.com/genderroles