Scholarship

Publication Experience

WREN Managing Editor                                                      June 2010-January 2012

Linden Press

  • Assisted in developing and writing editorial content for Wyoming Rural Electric News, which is distributed to over 41,000 electric co-op members and related organizations.
  • Managed editorial calendar
  • Copyedited
  • Oversaw production and advertising
Quire Staff                                                                                                       Fall 2007

Utah Valley University           

  • Assisted in creating the index for the publication.                                                     


Awards

Outstanding Literary Essay Award                                                   Spring  2010

Colorado State University          

  • Third Place
  • "Trauma, Survival and Revenge: The Role of the Victim in Rape Narratives"


Outstanding Student Award                                                                 Spring  2008

Utah Valley University           

  • Nominated by professors at UVU
  • Selected by the head of the English department

Dean’s List                                                                              Fall 2006- Fall 2007

Utah Valley University            


Conference Presentations

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                 April 2014

  • Muscle Cars and Broken Windows:  The Automobile's Symbolism in Representations of Rape

During the 2013 Superbowl, Audi released a commercial that was hotly critiqued by the feminist community as being not only representative of the current rape culture but bolstering the ideas of it. Likewise those critiques were equally debated and disregarded, labeling the authors of the critiques as uppity women who need to "Quit being offended" (Karvunidis). The central issue of this debate was much like any rape case: did the victim want or experience pleasure from the rapist's body and actions. While determining the victim's responsibility in the issue would be clearly marked as a "rape myth" by Susan Brownmiller, I argue that we are glossing over another aspect of the rape culture by ignoring the ways in which the automobile functions powerfully within this and many other rape narratives. Using the Audi commercial and popular music narratives (like Tori Amos' "Me and a Gun" and Sublime's "Date Rape"), I will explore the ways in which the icon of the automobile functions within rape scripts as an extension and representation of the inherent power of the rapist's body while simultaneously symbolizing the objectified victim's body, which stands as evidence for the power systems that reaffirm the scripts that constitute our rape culture.

Works Cited

Audi. "Prom." Advertisement. Youtube. Youtube, 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013
Amos, Tori. “Me and a Gun.” Little Earthquakes. Atlantic, 1991.
Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1975.
Karvunidis, Jenna. "Audi Super Bowl Ad: Not Sexual Assault, Quit Being Offended Internet." High Gloss and Sauce. CTMG, 4 Feb. 2013. Web 31 Oct. 2013.
Sublime “Date Rape” Gold. Geffen Records, 2005.

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                 April 2013

  • Blueberry Relics (nonfiction)
National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                 April 2012
  • Removing the Proxy: A Revolution of Underwear (nonfiction)

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                 April 2011

  • Think P!nk: Taming the Female Rapist in "Please Don't Leave Me"

bell hooks suggests that “we cannot hope to transform ‘rape culture’ without committing ourselves fully to resisting and eradicating patriarchy” (353). To fully understand how rape is constructed in our culture, it is important to look at the complex representations of both the victim and the rapist. Too often critics have focused solely on representations of the victim. By doing so, they have overlooked an important and enlightening element that contributes to the rape culture. Without looking at how rapists are represented we are missing part of what makes rape seem inevitable. If women are always already rapable, as Sharon Marcus states, then men are always already potential rapists. This concept of biological readiness to be raped or to rape is constructed through representations, and these representations do more than shape the way we view femininity and femaleness. Masculinity and maleness are also being recreated and reinforced through the rape culture (Helliwell 796).

But when a rapist is a female, the notions of masculinity and feminity and how they relate to rape are distorted. Through the use of over-the-top costumes and surreal scenes , Pink’s song and music video “Please Don’t Leave Me” can be seen as a parody of sexual violence. In the song, the narrator uses violence and rape as weapons to paralyze the object of her affection in order to force him to remain tied to her. The narrator does not commit rape merely for pleasure or power, but rather to save a failing relationship. In my presentation, I will explore how the female rapist and the use of satire contribute to and disrupts the rape culture.

 

Works Cited

 

Helliwell, Christine. “’It’s Only a Penis’: Rape, Feminism, and Difference.” Signs 25.3 (Spring, 2000): 789-816. JSTOR. CSU Lib., Fort Collins, CO. 6 December 2008 <http://www.jstor.org>.

 

hooks, bell. “Seduced by Violence No More.” Transforming a Rape Culture. Ed. Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher and Martha Roth. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed, 1993. 350-357.

Marcus, Sharon. “Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention.” Feminists Theorize the Political. Ed. Judith Butler and Joan W. Scott. New York: Routledge, 1992. 385-403.


Colorado State University Annual Literary Criticism Symposium      April 2010

  • “Rapist Subjectivity and Masculinized Desire in Gendered Violence”

  Modern society has been described by some as a “rape culture.” As case after case comes before the court and different laws and preventative policies are tried, scholars and activists are frustrated by the continual prominence of sexual violence. Many believe that if our society viewed rape as a serious offense and prosecuted it correctly, fewer people would rape. While representations of rape in popular culture have made the instances of sexual violence more visible and scholars have examined many aspects of rape (motivations, myths, the trauma of the victim, etc.), there is still much to be done to challenge the deeply entrenched rape culture we live in.
  By seeing how rape is motivated by cultural constructs such as masculinity, we can challenge notions of biological impulses and disrupt the rape culture. bell hooks suggests that “we cannot hope to transform ‘rape culture’ without committing ourselves fully to resisting and eradicating patriarchy” (353). To fully understand how rape is constructed in our culture, it is important to look at the complex representations of both the victim and the rapist. Too often critics have focused solely on representations of the victim. By doing so, they have overlooked an important and enlightening element that contributes to the rape culture. Without looking at how rapists are represented we are missing part of what makes rape seem inevitable. If women are always already rapable, as Sharon Marcus states, then men are always already potential rapists. This concept of biological readiness to be raped or to rape is constructed through representations, and these representations do more than shape the way we view femininity and femaleness. Masculinity and maleness are also being recreated and reinforced through the rape culture (Helliwell 796). By exploring representations of rape in popular music, I will show how masculinity is shaped discursively/reactively through violent acts of sexuality and how this contributes to the rape culture.

Works Cited

Helliwell, Christine. “’It’s Only a Penis’: Rape, Feminism, and Difference.” Signs 25.3 (Spring, 2000): 789-816. JSTOR. CSU Lib., Fort Collins, CO. 6 December 2008 <http://www.jstor.org>.

hooks, bell. “Seduced by Violence No More.” Transforming a Rape Culture. Ed. Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher and Martha Roth. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed, 1993. 350-357.

Marcus, Sharon. “Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention.” Feminists Theorize the Political. Ed. Judith Butler and Joan W. Scott. New York: Routledge, 1992. 385-403.

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                 April 2010

  • “’Pimps and Killers, but in a Philanthropic Way': The Body and its Consumption in Dollhouse”
  When Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse aired in 2008, it was met with mixed reviews. Some were disappointed with the seemingly shallow story telling that relied heavily on action and sex scenes. The first episodes of the series do little more than ask “what will Echo (Eliza Dushku) wear this week?” While this seems to degrade Dollhouse’s intellectual foundation, it is true that this is one of the primary issues. Echo is supposed to be the star, but her purpose in the first season is simply to display how bodies are used.
  By exploring the possibility of dividing bodies from their identities, Dollhouse is questioning how we value identity and the body. One of the ways in which it does this is by exploring how the body is valued as a consumable object. Because the Rossum Corporation has the capability of providing bodies imprinted with any identity to consumers they believe that they “can, must and should” (Orbach 167). While this concept is akin to human trafficking, the hyperbole of the show emphasizes our tendency to value bodies as consumer objects. This use of the body as an economic object not only highlights the values of the body to Rossum, but the way individuals value their bodies.

Works Cited

Orbach, Susie. Bodies. New York: Picador, 2009.

Whedon, Joss. Dollhouse. Twentieth Century Fox, 2009.


Arizona State University’s Southwest Graduate Symposium          February 2010

  • “Playing Dress-up: Body/Identity Dualism in Dollhouse”
  When Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse aired in 2008, it was met with mixed reviews. Some wanted to believe Whedon was onto another hit show; others were disappointed with the seemingly shallow story telling that relied heavily on action and sex scenes. The first 5 episodes of the series seem to do little more than ask “what will Echo (Eliza Dushku) wear this week?” While this seems to degrade Dollhouse’s intellectual foundation, it is true that this is one of the primary issues. The character of Echo is marketed as the star of the show, but her purpose in the first season is to display how bodies are dressed with identities.
  What Dollhouse does successfully is make us think about the identity/body dualism that has become nearly invisible to mainstream culture. The character Whisky shows that “…our environment and culture impose categories of belief and we define and redefine our self through continually revised personal metaphors that highlight, order, and ultimately make bearable some aspects of our lives, while hiding other aspects on purpose.” (Ackerman 214). In other words, the body and the identity should not be separated and valued in ways that create a hierarchy between the two.

Works Cited

Ackerman, Diane. An Alchemy of Mind. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.

Whedon, Joss. Dollhouse. Twentieth Century Fox, 2009.
 

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference
                    
Spring 2009
  • “When there’s a Man on Your Back”: A Feminist Analysis of Rape Narratives in Popular Music

   Many rape crisis networks believed that if women shared their horrific tales of rape it would increase awareness and therefore reduce the number of cases of sexual violence. However, rape narratives have become problematized in that the types of stories being told are not breaking down gender discourses but becoming narratives that legitimatize patriarchal power. Sharon Marcus claims that these narratives construct rape in western culture as inevitable or inescapable. Because of the way rape is portrayed, it is something that has always already happened and cannot be prevented. By viewing rape as a “linguistic fact” (389), Marcus suggests that through alternative narratives (ones that break the vulnerable/irrationally violent woman binary), the very power that enables sexual violence will begin to be dismantled.
   I will explore the ways in which popular music portrays rape and how specific songs challenge gender discourses. Tori Amos’s “Me and a Gun” contrasts many of the other rape narratives. Throughout the narrator tells her audience about what she thought about during the rape in order to psychologically survive. Although the chorus reminds the audience what is happening, the rapist is almost invisible throughout the song. Despite the ways she questions the authority of her rapist, “Me and a Gun” does fit into the rape narrative binary in that the narrator never resists the act and the rape appears inescapable.

Works Cited

Amos, Tori. “Me and a Gun.” Little Earthquakes. Atlantic, 1991.

Marcus, Sharon. “Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention.” Feminists Theorize the Political. Ed. Judith Butler and Joan W. Scott. New York: Routledge, 1992. 385-403.


National Conference for Undergraduate Research                               Spring 2008

  • “’Tiny Feet in Big Combat Boots’: Madness and Gender Performance of River Tam

        Fans and critics of Joss Whedon’s work have come to expect narratives that break conventional gender roles. When Firefly aired in 2002, some critics were less than pleased. Beyond the conceptual western meets science fiction genre the series did not seem to forge new ground as these critics had anticipated. Nancy Holder described the series as Whedon’s “most reactionary and traditional, a show in which Joss went backwards regarding the empowerment of women” (140-141). These critics felt that the series did not move beyond stereotypical gender performances. Yet these critics fail to investigate one of the show’s most integral characters. Arguably Firefly is about River Tam, a young girl who has been physically and psychologically manipulated by the government. Considering her role in the plot development of the series and film Serenity, it is odd that River has not been analyzed for her gender performance. Analysis of River’s demeanor, actions, and relationships through the series and film shows that her performance represents a departure from more conventional gender roles seen on the part of the other women of Firefly. Although River borders on insanity and many of her characteristics may be linked to experiments she underwent, I argue that she transcends societal expectations of gender roles because, for the most part, she is removed from interactions with groups that foster traditional gender performances.

       Works Cited

       Holder, Nancy. “I want your Sex.” Finding Serenity. Jane Espenson. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2004. 139-153.

 

National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference                   Spring 2008

  • “Power, Pleasure, and a Tool Belt: The Women of Firefly and Gender Performance

 

National Conference for Undergraduate Research                               Spring 2007

  • “All the Woman You Can Be: Rhetoric of Military Recruitment and Feminism”

          Rhetorical theory has long been understood as the foundation of effective persuasion, and given that effectiveness, rhetoric has just as long been feared for its power to manipulate and deceive. This fear is particularly relevant to advertising, an enterprise that combines the most conscious, targeted deployment of rhetorical principles of any communication endeavor with highly self-interested motivations. When powerful appeals to reason, emotion, or credibility compound false or misleading information, advertising becomes a manipulative and clearly unethical use of rhetoric, justifying fears that rhetoric can effectively persuade us of falsehoods. While the US government has traditionally prohibited and punished such deceptive advertising, it may be turning a blind eye to the advertising of its own military. Rhetorical analysis of various recruiting advertisements suggests that manipulative applications of rhetorical principles, which have gotten many private companies in trouble with regulators, are flourishing in US military recruitment advertising. In particular, this paper studies the rhetorical strategies used by the military to recruit women. While existing analyses study how women are persuaded to make careers in the military (Mollet), my analysis of military recruiting brochures reveals a strategy of deploying a "feministic" language in order to create the impression of a gender equality in the military that, on closer inspection of the advertisements, does not actually exist. Following this analysis, I explore two significant implications of the advertising practices it exposes. First, while this rhetorical illusion can be read as simply a harmless attempt to make the military more attractive to woman, it is in fact an abuse of authority (ethos). More than other advertisers, the military enjoys an inherent credibility stamped by the US government, expected to honor principles of ethical advertising that the government itself advocates. Second, such unethical rhetorical strategies convey not only a false image of the military, but also a false image of the recruits themselves. I argue that in the same way advertising often contributes to negative female body image, recruitment advertising appeals to women's worst opinions of themselves and their bodies.

       Work Cited

       Mollet, Maura. "Recruitment Advertising: Its Effectiveness in Persuading Women to Consider a Military Career." Media Report to Women 34.2 (2006): 14-22.