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Media Portrayals of Sex Workers

Division of Social Work

Heil Receives Research Scholarship to Investigate Impact of Media Portrayals of Sex Workers

"Research will illuminate how journalists' representation of sex workers impacts the individuals involved as well as broader society"

BSW student Misty Heil received funding support through the Social Work Excellence Endowment to analyze discursive frameworks that influence journalistic accounts of sex and sex workers' lives in the media.  She plans to travel to Denver to Misty Heilinterview women in a shelter program targeted toward women who are leaving the street environment to gather their perspective on how the media portrays their lives, the accuracy of the journalists' accounts, and how this portrayal affects street-engaged women.

According the Misty, "Street-based sex workers face a level of marginalization unparalleled among almost any other U.S. population.  This work will help future social workers gain an understanding of how discrimination and marginalization are perpetuated through media discourse.  This research will highlight areas in which future professionals can identify the social justice needs of this group."

In exchange for this support, Misty will submit a proposal to present her research findings at a professional conference in the future and will develop a White Paper that will be posted to the Division of Social Work website.

Read White Paper

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