My Graduation Thesis Experience

North American Studies Concentration

Makiko Seo
English Studies

My graduation thesis was a study of American women’s experiences with infertility and infertility treatments, not from the existing medical perspective, but rather from a sociological perspective. The starting point for writing my thesis was that I had an almost angry question: why does infertility carry a stigma for American men and women? Currently in North American society, reproductive technology is making advances and the idea that it is possible to control reproduction has become ingrained. For that reason, women who learn that they cannot conceive as they had hoped tend to feel that their body and they themselves are “substandard.” On the other hand, because the traditional idea that pregnancy and childbirth are a requirement for becoming a mature woman is still strongly rooted in society, women who do not have children are eliminated from the “social ideal.” When I began to write my thesis, I started by reading books by A. Greil, a leading researcher in the socio-psychological impact of female infertility, and then I read essays by scholars who spoke to the things I wanted to say in my thesis. When I encountered the words of those scholars who were decisively stating the points that had made me feel so frustrated up until then, I was very excited and thought, “Yes, this is what I wanted to write.” No matter what your theme is, I believe that the first step in writing your graduation thesis is to be able to ask “Why?” and “What for?”

Faculty of Foreign Studies