Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Mary Virnoche

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Jennifer Eichstedt

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Given the ease of Internet accessibility, the porn industry increasingly provides a common socialization medium for conceptions of gender, sex, and sexuality. For my master's thesis, I interviewed 10 industry film and video actors to better understand the processes through which their experiences are created. Interviews provided the data for a discourse analysis that considers systems of power that shaped actor interactions and core definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Hegemonic constructions of gender, femininity, and sexuality are pervasive in the industry; however, the industry also provides an arena for transformative discourse and disruption of hegemonic ideals. This research is important as it centers actor voices in providing insights into an industry that shapes actor lives and the everyday experiences of millions of viewers around the world. In particular, my work explores the extent to which actor experiences subvert, challenge or resist hegemonic definitions of gender, race, sex, and sexuality, as well as those that evidence reinscription of current ideologies. Actor experiences of gender, race, and sexualities were often congruent with hegemonic definitions. However, many participants expressed that pornography has the potential to create new forms of knowledge and meaning related to gender, sex, sexuality, identity and more.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location