Sophie Downing

Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Dr. Natalie Nelson-Marsh


Communication Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Through analyzing the narratives of ten college students, this study sought to find how the language used in narratives describes and engages with gender, and how narratives depict gendered privilege and oppression. Findings include that participants engaged with their gender through describing how their gender has been formed, enforced, and performed, with many also describing ways in which they are reconstructing gender, whether that be through going against expectations or redefining gendered terms. The study affirmed the prevalence of underlying gendered power structures that impact how individuals perceive and perform their gender, but also provides hope in the apparent malleability of these structures. Other areas of significance include further insight into the importance of viewing people as crystallized selves, and the practical application of an emphasis on shared humanity.

Author Supplied Keywords

Gender, Narrative, Privilege, Oppression, Cultural Identity Negotiation Theory, Feminist Rhetorical Criticism, Crystallized selves


Gender identity--United States; Group identity--United States; Gender identity--Research; College students--Psychological aspects

Publication Information

Communication Studies Capstone Project.

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Student Project