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Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
media production, new media, digital divide, representation, online community, YouTube
Digital content production on user generated Internet media sites has opened up new channels for creators to publish and exhibit their work. This exploratory study uses content analysis, survey, and interview responses from the “I Love Ladies” survey circulating on YouTube, an initiative to encourage dialogue about women and digital content production, in order to identify the cultural and structural aspects of the medium which shape women’s participation and recognition. This community-driven initiative is used as an entry point into the user experiences, site structure, and socio-cultural context of YouTube to better understand how inclusion and exclusion function in discourse communities on commercial, user-generated Internet media sites. By tracking disparities between what is discussed and what is not referenced by participants of this initiative, I developed a series of possible interventions to foster more equal and meaningful participation in Internet content production. The study is therefore designed to forward the feminist agenda toward social justice and greater equality with regard to distribution, recognition, and representation for women (Fraser, 2010). This study contributes empirical evidence and actual user perspectives to work towards a more nuanced understanding of how commercial, user-generated Internet media content can enable and constrain civic engagement for historically underrepresented groups.