Jackie Nelson, Psy.D. is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

William Heusler, Psy.D., Committee Chair

Chris Heffner, Ph.D., Committee Member

Mo Brown, Psy.D., Committee Member


Qualitative, Content Analysis, Film, Popular Culture, Media, Social Constructivism, Narrative Therapy, Gender Studies, Microaggressions, Sexual Objectification, Education, Hypermasculinity

Document Type


Publication Date



Our culture is steadily becoming more aware, and less tolerant, of sexual harassment and misconduct. This is particularly evident in the wake of the viral Me Too movement beginning in 2017 which highlighted the breadth of personal experiences of sexual harassment on various social media platforms. Often the focus of these experiences is on overt sexual harassment and assault, but less attention is paid to the buildup that can lead to these terrible events. What is more, is that often these events are attributed to character flaws of the perpetrator without taking covert social norms into perspective. This dissertation takes a social constructivist perspective to concretely define sexually objectifying microaggressions (SOMs), a building block of sexual assault, as well as outline their clinical implications. This was done in the hope of expanding cultural competency of gendered microaggressions for both psychology professionals and students, exposing the potential impact SOMs may have on clinical presentations, and espousing the importance of utilizing modern media to better understand our culture. A qualitative content analysis was conducted on the seven top-grossing PG-13 rated films between the years 2010–2016, beginning with a pilot study analyzing a clip from the top-grossing PG-13 rated film of 2009 to measure inter-rater reliability and construct validity. An extensive literature-based qualitative code book was created to conduct this analysis. Results indicated that SOMs were present in all the films, but saturation longitudinally decreased. SOM targets were primarily protagonist characters with both men and women being equally targeted. The primary SOM perpetrator was found to be the audience or viewer of the films. An unexpected result was the high prevalence of idyllic hypermasculinity in the films. Implications and future research directions will be discussed.


Jackie Nelson, Psy.D., 2019

ORCID Scholar ID # 0000-0002-6220-1698