Makes Me Mad: 
Stereotypes of Young Urban Womyn of Color
-Caitlin Cahill, Indra Rios-Moore, Erica Arenas, Jennifer Contreras, Na Jiang, Tiffany Threatts and Shamara Allen

Center for Human Environments
Graduate School and University Center
City University of New York

Makes Me Mad is a participatory action research project developed together with a research team of six young women (aged 16-22) who lived on the Lower East Side during the summer of 2002. The PAR project involved a collective process of looking critically at our social and environmental contexts and learning about social research methods. The young women researchers, aka the Fed Up Honeys, were involved with, and shaped, all aspects of the research project from framing the questions, designing the research, analyzing the data, to developing the research products. To date we have created two websites: and another in Chinese:, a stereotype sticker campaign, and we have written a report (Rios-Moore et al 2004) and a book chapter together (Cahill et al., 2004). More to come!

While many issues of concern were raised, we decided to focus our research on stereotypes. Specifically we formulated questions having to do with how the community’s lack of resources (disinvestment) feeds into both stereotyping and young womens well-being and self-understanding. The project is for and by young urban womyn of color and is reflective of our own concerns and the issues that personally affected us.

“We have decided that our standpoint on the effects of city living, the way we are perceived by others, the stereotypes that result from those perceptions, and the effects of the lack of resources is one that needs to be shared with our peers, our community, the academic community, and the greater public. By sharing our research, our personal stories, and providing a forum for larger discussion we hope to lift the veil of misinformation about the lives of young womyn of color in the city, and particularly young womyn on the Lower East Side.” – Fed Up Honeys, 2004

To find out more about our project please visit our website:
Related publications include:

• Cahill, C.; Arenas, E. ; Contreras, J.; Jiang, N.; Rios-Moore, I.; & Threatts, T. (2004) Speaking back: Voices of young urban womyn of color. Using participatory action research to challenge and complicate representations of young women. In Anita Harris (ed) All About the Girl: Culture, Power, and Identity New York: Routledge. pp 233-244.
• Rios-Moore, I; Allen, S.; Arenas, E. ; Contreras, J.; Jiang, N; Threatts, T.; & Cahill, C. (2004) Makes Me Mad: Stereotypes of young urban womyn of color. Report published and distributed by the Center for Human Environments/ City University of New York (available for download at
• Cahill, C. (2004) Defying Gravity: Raising consciousness through collective research. Children’s Geographies Vol. 2, 2.
• Cahill, C. (2006) ‘At risk’ ? The Fed Up Honeys re-present the gentrification of the Lower East Side. Women Studies Quarterly (special issue The Global & the Intimate edited by Geraldine Pratt & Victoria Rosner); Vol 34, issues 1 & 2.
• Cahill, C. (in press, 2007) The personal is political: Developing new subjectivities in a participatory action research process. Gender, Place, and Culture, 14 (3).
• Cahill, C. (forthcoming) Doing research with young people: Participatory research and the rituals of collective work. To appear in Children’s Geographies.