Rant and a Resource

As promised, a brief rant. Recently I came across an article about a new and (as far as I can tell) primarily abstinence-based anti-sexting campaign in Windsor-Essex (#KeepYourPrivatesPrivate). One goal of the initiative is prevention – to keep young people from sexting by educating them about the potential long-term consequences (and therefore preventing them). Obviously, I’ve simplified the messaging but that seems to be the gist. This is a laudable effort and in the campaign media, one of the scenarios does address non-consensual distribution of someone else’s images which is nice. My first concern is about the focus of the campaign. Certainly, harmful effects could be avoided if no one ever sent nudes – but when the central focus is on abstinence (and therefore the image-sender), it can be a quick jump to victim blaming when things go awry [see Albury & Crawford’s (2012) analysis of the Megan’s Story campaign] and also runs the risk of shutting down conversations about how to navigate online relationships. For example, discussions about boundaries, coercion, and consent in digital spaces, healthy sexual expression, readiness for sexual activity (even in online spaces), and technology-facilitated sexual violence. This relates to my second concern, which is that some studies suggest young people are already aware of the potential risks/consequences (though some may not be fully aware of legal consequences), devoting resources to educating them about consequences is probably not the most effective way to prevent harm and allow young people to flourish. In order to better support young people, we have to make space for difficult conversations instead of shutting them down.

I have a lot to say on related topics – but I’ve tried to pare down my message to the most useful objections. Now, onto the resource!

Dr. Creswell (via Sage) has a brief video tutorial on research questions in qualitative research. How to form them, frame them, and use them appropriately. I also think this would be a great clip to include when teaching research methods since qualitative methods often get so little love. Click here to check it out!


References & Related Reading (non-exhaustive):

Albury, K., & Crawford, K. (2012). Sexting, consent and young people’s ethics: Beyond Megan’s Story. Continuum, 26(3), 463-473.

Bond, E. (2011). The mobile phone = bike shed? Children, sex and mobile phones. new media & society, 13(4), 587-604.

Draper, N. R. A. (2012). Is your teen at risk? Discourses of adolescent sexting in United
States television news. Journal of Children and Media, 6(2), 221-236.

Strohmaier, H., Murphy, M., & DeMatteo, D. (2014). Youth sexting: Prevalence rates, driving motivations, and the deterrent effect of legal consequences. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11, 245-255.


CPA/ICAP 2018 Highlights

Last week was the 29th International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP) and annual CPA convention in Montréal, Québec. I was pretty excited for this because of the applied focus but was a bit disappointed that there weren’t that many sessions I was interested in attending. There definitely seemed to be more I/O and traffic psychology represented, but there wasn’t as much on health and community psychology as I was hoping for. It’s also possible that some of this was on the same days as the SWAP (Section for Women and Psychology) programming so I missed it. That being said, I drank a lot of coffee at interesting places, attended a few interesting sessions, and connected with some amazing people – both old and new! (P.S. Please excuse the giant-ness of the pictures – apparently putting them in a mosaic means they must be gigantic. “They must.” – wordpress)

Onto some highlights! To begin, Dr. MacQuarrie talked about her work in PEI and academic activism as tool to decolonize psychology. The framework that she uses is feminist liberation psychology – not something that I was previously familiar with, though many of the ideas and concepts are part of my theoretical lens. Beginning with the idea that social conditions shape identity and thinking, feminist liberation psychology challenges problems that arise in “limit situations” with specific tools (e.g., embodied consciousness, examining power dynamics, and consciousness-raising/conscientization through a number of processes). This is a very rough description and totally lacking in nuance, but I like that it allows for work at the individual level (how people think of themselves) yet acknowledges that it’s also crucial to change the conditions that shape how people think of themselves. According to Dr. MacQuarrie, feminist liberation psychology, and academic activism in particular, provides a way for psychology to make a difference. Working with communities, our focus should be on questions that promote critical inquiry, information sharing, collaboration, and social exchange.

Continue reading

Upcoming Conferences!

Conference season approaches! I wanted to share a few conferences and symposia coming up in the next month or so that may be of interest:

2018 Michigan Meeting: Ending Gender-Based Violence (May 3-5, 2018) – Annual interdisciplinary meeting hosted by the Rackham Graduate School in partnership with the U Michigan Injury Prevention Center. This looks like a great line up and the fee is reasonable for students. Info & registration here

Canadian Symposium on Sexual Violence in Post-Secondary Institutions (May 30-31, 2018) – First annual bilingual symposium, hosted at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Info & registration here  ***Note: Poster submissions are still being accepted until April 8th

CPA/ICAP (June 26-30, 2018) – I doubt this one needs to be advertised, but CPA and the International Congress of Applied Psychology have joined together to make one giant mega-conference this year in Montreal. I’ll be participating in a talk on gender and professional issues (date TBA), so if you’re attending, drop by! Info & registration here

SPSSI’s 2018 Summer Conference (June 29 – July 1, 2018) – The theme is “Bridges to Justice: Building Coalitions and Collaborations Within and Beyond Psychology” and this year it’s in Pittsburgh. Info & registration here

Women’s Xchange 2018 Spring Event (May 11, 2018) – Hosted at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, the topic isExploring Healthy Relationships and Sexuality in the #MeToo Eraand the event is open to researchers, students, professionals, and community members. Info & registration here

Upcoming Events: BITCH Media Co-Founder & ‘Slut or Nut’ Doc Screening

Happy Monday everyone! It’s almost time for International Women’s Day, coming up this Thursday March 8th. If you’ll be in Windsor, here are two events that might be of interest:

Andi Zeisler, the co-founder of BITCH Media, will be giving a talk on campus in the Alumni Auditorium (CAW Centre, 2nd floor) from 5:30 – 8 pm. The event is hosted by the Womxn’s Centre, but it’s free and open to the public. Register and read more here.

Poster - Slut or Nut (for WATL) v4

The second event, hosted by Women and the Law, is a screening of the documentary Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial, followed by a discussion with activist and survivor Mandi Gray. Unfortunately, the screening is only open to UWindsor students with valid ID. It’s also happening at basically the same time as the first event (6-8pm), so if you’re a student there are tough decisions to be made!


Become Involved in APAGS Leadership!

If any of you have read my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard mention of APAGS or Convention Committee. APAGS stands for the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students and it’s sort of like the graduate student “division” of APA (except not technically a division). APAGS was founded in 1988 and is one of the largest constituency groups in APA and the largest organized group of psychology grad students around the world! Fun fact: if you’re a graduate student who is a member of APA, you’re automatically a member of APAGS. APAGS advocates on behalf of graduate students and offers many opportunities for students like online resources, education, and programming at convention (among many other things).

APAGS has five subcommittees, each with a different focus and each made up of 5-7 students and a chair. The committees are Convention Committee, the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity, the Science Committee, and the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team. If you’d like to read more about what each committee does – click here!

For the past two and a half years, I have had the privilege of being part of the APAGS Convention Committee and before that, a campus representative with the Advocacy Coordinating Team. The experience has been amazing and I’ve gained so much more than I thought I would (and don’t get me wrong – I had high expectations!). Being a part of APAGS leadership has introduced me to the inner workings of a national organization, the ins and outs of advocacy and policy work, helped me to develop my planning, communication, and networking skills (among others), as well as helped me to better understand the experiences and concerns of fellow students. Finally, in my humble opinion, I think the best part has been getting to know a group of wonderful people, students, and leaders from across Canada and the US (note: students and leaders are not mutually exclusive).

So why am I ranting about APAGS??? Well! APAGS is currently looking to fill two Chair positions – one on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Committee and the other with the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. The deadline is April 20th  at 5pm EST.  Click here for the eligibility info and application process. Even if you’re not sure that you’ll be competitive for the position – consider applying!

Conference Submissions

Conference deadlines are fast approaching. I wanted to write a brief post about something that I’ve learned from attending conferences over the years, but also from being involved with conference planning as part of the APAGS Convention Committee and the Feminist Research Group. Like many students, I let conference after conference pass by because “I didn’t have anything to present.” Well, I was wrong. And here’s three reasons why:

First, you don’t always have to have a finished dissertation or project or polished piece of work to consider presenting at a conference. Not every conference presentation has to be an earth-shattering piece of research and often the most valuable talks and panels are nothing of the sort. The work you’ve produced in school (e.g., term papers) and the experiences you’ve had (e.g., teaching, practica/ internships, applying for post-docs) have all taught you something, whether it was about a new topic or about what it’s like to be a grad student. Even (and especially!) the things we struggle with as students can be fuel for informative presentations. Presenting on non-research topics is often a matter of reflecting on what you learned and why it’s of value or interest to others. This may be a matter of fit – finding the right conference or division to present with. For example, if you’re a clinical student but the topic involves psychological theory or history, consider applying to these divisions. They often get fewer proposals and there’s a better chance that what you’re speaking about will reach the right audience. Larger organizations often have student sections that you can apply to present with (e.g., APAGS in APA). Though you can typically present on any topic (if you’re a student), these divisions can be a good fit if you want to discuss issues pertinent to the student experience. Also, keep an eye out for smaller, more specialized conferences (e.g., teaching and learning conferences) because they can be some of the best places to meet people and be exposed to current research in your area.

Second, you can reach out to others (via division listservs, department e-mails, friends) to put together panels or come up with programs to present. Yes, this can be intimidating and the process mysterious. If you’re not sure what the procedure is for a division or group, ask a colleague or send an e-mail to the contact person/representative. Often it’s as simple as asking them to forward your proposal to the members to gauge interest. If you have a great idea, consider organizing or chairing a panel discussion. Providing a framework for the discussion, linking each talk, and moderating the session is a different set of skills than simply presenting a paper. Chairing a panel at a conference is a great way to practice this in a relatively low stakes environment. If organizing isn’t your thing, you could also discuss or debate different perspectives on an issue, present several research projects in a similar area (and someone else is Chair), or conduct a workshop on a research method that you’ve used. You might also consider reaching out to community organizations to put together unique panels highlighting what research and practice looks like in the real world! The possibilities are endless. Reaching out to strangers can be a daunting, but it’s a great way to make contacts from other institutions and fields. This may not be for everyone and group work can certainly be challenging, but getting out of your comfort zone can be totally worth it 🙂

Third, it never hurts to try!

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some upcoming deadlines:

APA (American Psychological Association):

  • CE Workshop Proposals: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Division Proposals: Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Film Festival: Friday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Associated Psychological Organization Requests: Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

APS (Association for Psychological Science):

  • Symposium submissions: November 15, 2017, 11:59 PM (latest time on earth)
  • Poster submissions: January 31, 2018, 11:59 PM (latest time on earth)

ICAP (International Congress of Applied Psychology):

  • All submissions: December 1, 2017

CPA (Canadian Psychological Association):

  • All submissions: December 1, 2017

Upcoming Event: ‘A Better Man’ Film Screening

For those of you in Windsor, the Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex (VAWCCWE) is hosting a screening of A Better Man next week, followed by a Q&A. A Better Man is a Canadian doc by Attiya Khan and Lawrence Jackman. The film begins with Attiya as she meets with her former abuser after many years, and follows their journey to delve into the past. I had the opportunity to see this film with my mother at this year’s Hot Docs festival in Toronto. It’s very interesting. Definitely not a typical story in terms of her former abuser’s willingness to participate in the process so openly, but it’s inspiring. I won’t say too much more, but there’s a lot to discuss after watching the film. If you’re in Windsor, consider checking it out.

Thursday, October 26 from 7-9pm at Caboto Club.

Doors open at 6:30pm.

Donation accepted at the door to purchase and maintain personal safety alarms.

Event details/Registration: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-better-man-screening-of-a-canadian-documentary-tickets-38356026909?utm_term=eventurl_text