Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Andreas Philaretou

Second Advisor

E. Bryce Dickey

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Dannison

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This qualitative investigation seeks to identify the sociocultural determinants and psychoemotional ramifications of essentialist gender role socialization on female employees in a sexualized work environment (SWE). Sexualized work environments incorporate work and sexuality and exist on a continuum according to the frequency and intensity of the sexual economic exchange that takes place within them. In this study, in-depth interviews were conducted with ten female employees at a comedy club to explore the social construction of female sexuality in such an environment. Subjects commented on the various advantages and disadvantages of working in a SWE as well as on general issues related to gender and self-definitions of sexuality. All of the waitresses reported employing various stereotypically female sexualized actions to increase their monetary rewards. However, they also mentioned other factors, such as, self-concept, self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-confidence, and resiliency as affecting and being affected by their employment in a SWE.