Research

Peer-reviewed Publications

"Standing up for Women? How Party and Gender Influence Politicians’ Strategic Online Discussion of Planned Parenthood" Forthcoming at Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Research suggests that women may use social media to overcome disadvantages when running for and serving in public office. However, limited research has explored how party and gender influence politicians’ social media engagement and if the promotion of women’s issues remains gendered and marginalized online. I use negative binomial regression to analyze how gender and party influence U.S. House members’ discussion and framing of one women’s issue, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, on Twitter. I find that Republican women are the most engaged on average and frame the defunding of Planned Parenthood as a women’s issue and fetal rights issue, balancing gender and party expectations, to strategically engage in this debate.

"Where Are All of the Women? Untangling the Effects of Representation, Participation, and Preferences on Gender Differences in Political Press Coverage" 2018. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 4: 1-12.

The author examines why female politicians continue to be underrepresented in the press by measuring how structural inequalities, engagement in traditional and disruptive dialogue, and gender preferences influence the amount of press coverage U.S. House representatives receive. Drawing on a data set of Tweets, press releases, and news articles and transcripts related to the 114th House of Representatives’ investigations of the Iran deal and Planned Parenthood, the author uses negative binomial regression to test the effects of gender, engagement, and interactions of the two on the press coverage received by male and female House members. The results indicate that female House members’ underrepresentation in the media mirrors their underrepresentation in public office. These findings suggest that although political discourse and gender preferences may not be keeping women out of the media when covering gendered topics, getting more women in public office is likely to be a cumbersome challenge in itself.

"Conquering with capital: social, cultural, and economic capital’s role in combating socioeconomic disadvantage and contributing to educational attainment" 2017. Journal of Youth Studies 21(5): 590 - 606.

While socioeconomic barriers to learning have been well-documented by education, sociology, and social policy scholars, further research is needed to understand how students with low-socioeconomic status excel in high-performing schools. The collection and analysis of 20 in-depth interviews with female college students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds provide rich insights into the stark differences between the educational practices of low and high-SES students. Building on Bourdieu’s conceptualization of how habitus and capital influence practices in the field of education exposes unique, strategic practices that low-SES students use to attain educational success within a system of reproduction and power. While entering a high-performing school is often perceived as a definitive step for accessing high-quality educational resources, my findings illustrate how it is actually an important intermediary step within a more complex process. Increasing educational opportunity and attainment for low-SES students requires improving their access to social, cultural, and economic capital through knowledgeable mentors who contribute to a habitus and portfolio of capital which enable practices to successfully navigate and challenge the educational system.

Manuscripts in Development

“You don’t need a man to send nudes”: Understanding sexting as a body-positive bonding ritual” In-preparation.

This study analyzes college students’ engagement in sexting (sharing nude or semi-nude digital photos) between platonic friends as a bonding ritual to negotiate the relationship between self-sexualization and objectification. I interviewed 101 women and men about their thoughts and experiences related to sexting. I found that women are almost the sole participants in this ritual, and they use it to disentangle empowering self-sexualization from the male gaze, with the end goal being the construction a positive body image. Male respondents largely reject this practice due not to the absence of body insecurities, but the inability to separate the male gaze from male bonding rituals. Using this largely unexplored practice, I move beyond previous work on the male gaze by studying how the gendered body intersects with bonding rituals.

“Sharing Sexual Images of the Gendered Self: Empowering, Disempowering, or Somewhere In-between?” In-preparation.

Recent technological developments have expanded the ways in which we create, view, and share images of the body. As part of this trend, an increasing number of people engage in sexting, the electronic sharing of nude or semi-nude images of their bodies and sometimes the bodies of others. While scholars have begun to study the prevalence of sexting among adolescents and young adults and the risks associated with this behavior, a gap remains in our understanding of why young people share nude or semi-nude images of themselves with others. This article investigates the roles of disempowering and empowering motivators in young people’s decision to share nude or semi-nude images of the self among women and men by analyzing data from 1,081 women and men’s responses to an online survey of university undergraduates. I use logistic regression to analyze how respondents’ gender influences their selection of disempowering and empowering motivators. Preliminary results suggest that women may experience greater pressures to share as well as greater rewards revealing the complex nature of sexual empowerment.

“Who Mentions for Attention? How Gender and Party Influence Centrality in Online Social Networks” In-preparation.

Women's underrepresentation in public office is a persistent issue in the United States. While researchers have found that engaging in social media helps female politicians bypass traditional media and take control of their campaigns, potential network-related benefits have yet to be explored. This article uses the mentions made and received by members of the 114th US House of Representatives on Twitter to analyze House members’ online centrality and determine if female House members experience network advantages or disadvantages online. The results suggest that female House members experience advantages, forming ties with other House members and are included rather than isolated from online political discussion. While female politicians remain at risk of facing disadvantages that plague women working in male-dominated spheres including forming fewer and weaker ties than their male counterparts, these findings suggest that Twitter offers a space where male and female House members may develop similar levels of centrality.