Research

Please email me at Stephanie_Ortiz@uml.edu if you need access to any of my papers.


Online Gaming and Trolling

In my Social Media + Society article, I argue that there is a disconnect between academic and lay definitions of trolling, which function to downplay how everyday users experience trolling as identity-based harassment.

I have also published on how racist and sexist trash talking are key to the construction of gaming culture in New Media & Society, and how men of color cope with everyday racism in gaming in Sociological Perspectives.

My chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Digital Media Sociology centers whiteness in the examination of masculinity in gaming, exploring how emotions, manhood acts, and peer socialization contribute to everyday racism. It also suggests ways to include an analysis of masculinity as a set of practices used by men of color to resist racism. 

I am also designing a project to explore how Puerto Ricans use online gaming to strengthen familial ties.


Care Work and Emotional Labor

Chad Mandala and I explored how university LGBTQ resource center staff understand the raced and sexual orientation-based nature of their emotional labor. The first paper (Journal of Homosexuality) argues that the unhappy queer trope (Ahmed 2010) shapes feeling rules such that queer staff are expected to perform trauma. The second paper (Du Bois Review), of which I am the lead author, argues that these sexual orientation-based feeling rules are enforced differentially among white staff and staff of color, a process that reinforces diversity regimes (Thomas 2018).

I am also currently writing about how women partners of porn addicts perform care work for each other online.


Gendered Racism Online

My dissertation project was very broadly aimed at understanding how everyday people conceptualize racism and sexism online (both firsthand and vicarious forms). This project was revised for publication in the form of three journal articles.

The first paper (Ethnic and Racial Studies) assesses the claim that colorblind racism remains the master interpretive framework in the current political climate. I argue that overt racism, especially online, renders the colorblind framework incoherent. I find that young adults are more likely to defend others’ right to “be racist” (an example of Essed’s entitlement racism) than deny the centrality of race in their lives.

In the second paper (R&R at Feminist Media Studies), I examine how experiences of online sexism challenge postfeminist discourses. I show how young women are able to identify their experiences as clear forms of gender oppression, and link their online interactions to structural inequalities.

Using an intersectional framework, my final paper (Social Problems) asks how racism and sexism online retrench and contest the social order. I identify four agentic response categories to racism and sexism online, which I argue reveal how race and gender—as systems—organize social action onto specific trajectories.

I am currently collecting interview data to explore how institutions outside of the technology field contribute to the normalization of gendered racism online.