Amanda Jobes and Media's Bad Boys

Students who maintain strong GPAs during their first three years at E-town may be invited to complete an Honors in the Discipline project. The equivalent of an undergraduate thesis, these projects, specifically in the English department, have ranged from Renaissance research to novel-length works. Many students then present these projects at Scholarship and Creative Arts Day, or SCAD.

Over the course of her senior year, English major Amanda Jobes took on the complex issue of the sexualization of male villains and anti-heroes in visual media. Referencing characters such as Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jobes applied her research to the overarching development of pop culture.

“This pop culture phenomenon has grown so much in today's society thanks to increasing secular and individualistic values,” Jobes said.

We’ve all witnessed the ‘bad boy’ trope in action, whether that be John Travolta in Grease or Drake Bell in Drake & Josh. These are the guys we’re taught to want, after all. But Jobes’ research delves into the reasoning behind why those characters are portrayed the way they ware. After all, if we’re learning from our media, shouldn’t we learn what we’re learning?

While her presentation will only focus on Jack Sparrow and Loki, Jobes is excited to be presenting at SCAD. She has declined suggestions to present in previous years, but decided to go out with a bang and share her work.

“I think it'll be nice to show people something I've worked so hard on for the last year,” Jobes said.

And work hard she did—Jobes describes the research experience as “one wild ride,” and said she’s “amazed to have made it this far.” This ride included a broad topic that underwent plenty of developmental changes and research that branched out in every possible direction. Sometimes, students know for certain what they want to cover. For Jobes, there was an overwhelming amount of potential.

“I just started gathering sources about concepts of heroism and villainy and went from there,” Jobes said. “It probably wasn't until I had over half my sources that I actually decided on my current angle.”

English department standards dictate that Honors projects should be between 20 and 40 pages, and should have sufficient background research to fill those pages. Within Jobes’ finished project are discussions of historical and cultural influence on media.

“My project dealt a lot with the human capacity to rebel and to give in to temptation, and so I found it quite fascinating trying to explore how our ideas of what is considered rebellious, deviant, or even evil behavior have manifested over the years,” Jobes said.

Jobes will be presenting “Society’s Changing Values: A Perspective on the Sexualizing of Male Villains and Anti-heroes in Film and Television” at 10:30 a.m. in Hoover 211 on Tuesday, April 16. For a full list of presenters and topics, check out the official SCAD 2019 program.