faculty spotlight

laina bay-cheng.
“What’s distinctive about the social work perspective is understanding how social conditions affect individuals so you can affect those social conditions. It’s not about fixing people, it’s about fixing environments. ”

I chose social work because it’s where I could marry my interests in social justice and critical analysis with psychological and feminist theory. I see girls’ sexuality as one point of entry in looking at social inequality and how that affects the personal, intimate and lived experiences of young women. It struck me that girls seem to be fighting an uphill battle against negative sexual outcomes and barriers to rights to sexual expression, positive sexual and life experiences, and positive feelings about their sexuality.

One of my current projects involves looking at the way socioeconomic resources and future prospects affect how women invest in and make decisions about relationships; another is the digitization of my Sexual Life History Calendar, a mixed method interview protocol that aims at gathering qualitative and quantitative data about girls’ sexual and life experiences so that we can understand the interplay between these different domains of life.