what the hell is she writing about?

So, a lot of people have been asking me what my thesis is about and, despite all my Toastmasters training, I have a really hard time articulating it without sounding stupid. E.g."Like, um, import models and web sites and shit." I just don't have my elevator pitch down yet. So I figured I would paste the abstract that got me into the conference at UofI Urbana-Champaign. It's at least somewhat articulate, though more than I can manage to explain verbally. I still need to work on that. But, anyways, here's the answer to "what the hell are you writing about in your thesis?" I tend to get mixed reactions - excitement and interest from the ethnic studies/cultural studies type folks, disgust and scorn from people who think an education in anything other than science and engineering is a waste of time - I guess that's to be expected.

Import car culture is a predominantly Asian American youth culture that
typically involves young Asian American men displaying elaborately modified
Japanese cars at conventions while their female counterparts pose suggestively
with the cars for pictures hoping to be discovered and hired as event
spokesmodels. Namkung (2000) explains that young Asian American men use import cars to reclaim and assert their masculinity, but concludes that the women who participate in the import scene as “import models” are simply exploited. Since
aspiring import models frequently extend their performances at car shows to the
Internet by authoring personal web sites, it becomes quite evident that there is
more going on than mere exploitation. This paper reveals the results of in-depth
interviews conducted with a selection of these young women and demonstrates the
variety of ways in which their web sites reflect their efforts at negotiating
their cultural identities, asserting a sense of personal empowerment, and
challenging dominant stereotypes of Asian women as bookish, conservative, timid,
and cold. While there are the numerous theories that explain how media are
oppressive and marginalizing forces for ethnic minority audiences, this paper
attempts to demonstrate how young Asian American women have instead become
active empowered users and producers of new media by carving out a very public
space and establishing a voice on the Internet.


Ben said...

Wow. I've never said this about a thesis before, but ... I'd like to read it when you're done!

X-GF said...

that sounds so awesome!! i'm doing my dissertation on asian american men and the media...specifically how they are affected by the negative media images of being asexual, effeminate, etc. yours sounds so much more interesting. LOL. i would also love to read it when it's done. cheers!

James said...

I'm still waiting for you to finish so I can read it. Oh, and make sure you include some pics to help with the visualisation.


whatupwilly said...

Van I think your thesis sounds awesome too. Good luck in IL...

Egan said...

I find it interesting that typically asian tv characters are brainiacs sporting glasses. Not that this can't be said, but all the time? Your thesis does sound interesting and that says a lot. I think when most people hear the word thesis, they think boring.