This thesis explores transvestism, a natural phenomenon that is little known and commonly misunderstood by most of society. Transvestism, the condition in which a biological male dresses as a female, is often related with homosexuality, illness and perversion. The first purpose of this paper is to clarify certain misconceptions about transvestism while explaining its nature and causes. To do this, it is necessary to recount the history of transvestism and to look at the various speculative theories that have been used to explain transvestism. Theories of deviant behavior and labeling are explored as most relevant to this recognized medical condition. The second purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which society views transvestism in response to how the media portrays it. A study group was arranged in order to test the hypothesis that the media instigates ideas about transvestism through certain images that are portrayed in specific films. The results of this study suggest that the media has had a more negative than positive influence on a selected group of viewers when determining attitudes towards transvestism. The importance of this paper is to inform readers about the facts pertaining to transvestism and to look at the different theories surrounding it. Through the research conducted in this paper a better understanding can be reached about transvestism and the effects that the media has on this social phenomenon.


Meyer, Eric


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1994 Eleanor F. Kalejs