MFA student highlights #MeToo movement in thesis project

A student working towards a master of fine arts (MFA) in digital media and design at the University of Connecticut has surveyed students’ opinions on the #MeToo movement for her thesis project. (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

A student working towards a master of fine arts (MFA) in digital media and design at the University of Connecticut has surveyed students’ opinions on the #MeToo movement for her thesis project.

MFA student Jacqueline Devine said the questions she asked in the study, which she closed last Friday, were structured in a way that allowed them to be cross-analyzed.

“I want to be able to answer questions like ‘What sort of political ideologies are most likely to feel passionate about this movement?’ or ‘Are those who support the movement just as likely to donate to an organization that also supports the movement?’” Devine said. “I inquire(d) about attitudes around issues of sexual misconduct and assault as well as social media participation and interaction with the movement.”

Devine said the responses in the study will be used as part of a larger thesis project centered around influencer marketing and focused on how musicians have used their platforms to both talk about sexual harassment and assault and to partner with cause-oriented organizations to raise awareness of them.

“Singers like Lady Gaga and Kesha have publicly spoken about their experience as sexual assault survivors, and I want to examine how those stories have played out on social media and how the power of their voices have caused change in the movement against sexual misconduct and violence,” Devine said.

Devine said the data she collected in her survey will be used to either support or refute whatever data she finds later on in her research.

“I wanted to gauge feelings and attitudes about the movement and how these feelings may play out online and on social media,” Devine said.

Devine said when she first released the study, she was concerned that people might not want to participate, but she said she was pleasantly surprised with the results.

“Issues of sexual misconduct and assault have become very thorny issues in today’s political climate and it sometimes seems like individuals are wary about giving input,” Devine said. “Even though my survey was 100 percent anonymous—I can’t even see an IP address—I imagined that people would still possibly avoid answering the questions.”

Devine said this fear did not come true, as she got close to 600 responses and the percentage of people who completed the survey start to finish was very high.

“The more data I can collect about these issues,” Devine said,“the more reliable the results will be.”


Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.