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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Teresa Bergman

First Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Second Committee Member

Alan Ray


This thesis focuses on messages concerning gender that are communicated within contemporary U.S. society. Research consisted of twelve ethnographic interviews with students between the ages of nineteen and twenty-seven from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Society is ever changing and individuals learn rules and either comply, resist or try to change traditional gender behaviors. The social contexts in which an interaction takes places are where many messages concerning gender behavior are communicated. The five areas that this study researched include: work, education, romantic relationships, friendships, and exercise/sports. Work and education are contexts in which progress has occurred; women have the freedom to apply to jobs and schools of their choice. However, some jobs and majors are still male-dominated (i.e. math, science, and engineering majors). There was the most compliance with traditional gender behaviors in romantic relationships, friendships, and in exercise/sports.



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