Kohlbey Ozipko received her Master of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia – Okanagan (UBCO) in early 2021. Her thesis, “No eclipse lasts forever”: Confronting Gendered Violence in Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne, sparked her interest in contemporary feminism, which she continues to explore in her blog titled Little Feminist Movement.
We met up with Kohlbey to talk to her about her time here at UBC Okanagan.
Give us some insight into your thesis project.
In my thesis, I analyze representations of gendered violence in two works by American author Stephen King: Gerald’s Game (1992) and Dolores Claiborne (1993). King’s works are part of the Gothic literary tradition which oftentimes receives criticism for representing women as stereotypical “damsels in distress” and glorifying acts of violence against women. However, I argue that King’s works, and the Gothic genre do not glorify violence against women in any way. Rather, King’s works and the genre expose the flawed and violent treatment of women within our society and act as a call to action in order to invoke change.
Tell us a bit more about your research.
While I was in graduate school, my research spanned all the way from representations of women in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) to Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne (1993). I break down some of the archetypal representations we see in the Gothic and use the #MeToo Movement as a framework to discuss their significance in relation to contemporary North American society using a feminist lens.
Why did you choose UBC’s Okanagan campus? How did you change or overcome challenges along the way?
I chose to attend UBCO because I found a professor, Dr. Jodey Castricano, who shared my love for Stephen King’s works. It’s rare to find other academics who can appreciate King’s works. So, when I managed to find that person there was no question as to where I would be completing my degree. However, completing my Master of Arts in English proved to be a challenge. There were points throughout my journey where I seriously considered quitting or taking a break. I managed to battle my way through graduate school with the help of a few very good friends (also in the same program) and a committee that was determined to get me to the finish line. While writing my thesis, I came to realize that completing a degree and writing a thesis are not individual efforts. It really does take an army. It’s an army worth building.
You graduated in 2021. Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing now, your future plans, and how your graduate studies may have helped you with your career goals?
I’m currently doing quality assurance work full-time for a cannabis company in the Kootenays, working part-time as a yoga instructor at a local studio, and writing for my blog – Little Feminist Movement—on the weekends. My partner and I are also expecting a little one in the new year, so I guess I can add “mother” to that list, as well. My plan for the future is to find a way to work more closely with women, whether that be offering yoga workshops or women’s circles for self-empowerment, expanding the scope of my blog to reach more women world-wide, offering mentoring or personal support services for women, becoming a womb-worker or doula, or writing short stories or novels that focus upon women’s struggles and overcoming those struggles. I’d like to do all of those things, actually.
Lastly, what advice would you have for a student who is contemplating currently pursuing their graduate degree at UBCO?
I would advise a student to pick a topic that they’re passionate about because there’s nothing worse than writing a 15,000-20,000-word thesis on a topic that you don’t care about or that doesn’t interest you. I’ve written enough essays on Shakespeare to know that. I would also advise a student to start building their army as early as they possibly can. Make sure you have friends, family, and a committee with whom you feel comfortable enough that you can reach out for help and advice when you need.