Instructor Spotlight: Sarah Tata

The ExPress caught up with Sarah Tata to discuss her course, Stereotypes to Statistics: Portrayal of Women in Media
Sarah Tata

What inspired you to teach this course?

Sarah Tata: This course was actually inspired by my Girl Scout Gold Award project I did my senior year of high school! I created a video and interactive seminar that discussed stereotypical female portrayals in movies and television. The seminar was geared toward middle schoolers, so it has been so fun elevating the material to a college level.

What do you hope students will take away from this class?

ST: I hope the students in my class realize how prominent stereotypical portrayals of women are in our media, but even more importantly, I want them to realize the real-world effects caused by individuals digesting this type of media. I want them to understand the effects of gender stereotyping in media on young children who are still trying to dissect fact from fiction as their minds continue to develop.

What has the experience of teaching/designing this course taught you?

ST: Although I have past experience teaching and designing curriculum, this course specifically has emphasized the importance of having continuous and open dialogue between the students themselves as well as between me and my students. In my experience, discussion fosters more abundant and fulfilling learning than any other educational technique.

What is a portrayal of women in the media that you would say is a good example for young women and girls?

ST: Moana has much more realistic body proportions and her plot line does not center around needing a prince. It has been great to see the improvements Disney has been making in terms of their portrayals of women as princesses these last few years, and I hope they continue moving in this positive direction.

What’s a reading, movie, book, etc. that you are particularly excited to teach?

ST: I'm really excited to discuss the sitcom, "The Office." Specifically, I am looking forward to delving into the effects of portraying women in gender stereotypical careers and discussing the role of comedy, ie, asking the question of "is gender discrimination/ stereotyping okay if it is passed off as a comedy?"

Sarah Tata (she/her) is a senior double majoring in Political Science and Education, with a minor in Spanish. She is currently working on her thesis project in the Education Department. She is from Watertown, Connecticut. Here at Tufts Sarah is the president of Kappa Alpha Theta and is a member of Tufts Literacy Corps, a student representative on the Tufts Educational Policy Faculty Committee, and a Burlesque member!