Date of Award

8-1-2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Metz, Walter

Abstract

During this time of increased attention toward the representation of women in media, simply applauding including female characters often leaves out the analysis of what purpose they serve within their narratives. The anxiety over women’s fertility in Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017), Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006), and The Handmaid’s Tale (Bruce Miller, 2017) expresses a crisis in contemporary culture over changing gender roles. Even though these three texts use the antagonists to seek to control over women’s bodies, the narratives themselves still employ infertility as a threat for women. What does the reappearance of mass infertility in our dystopian media tell us about how we value and depict women? These audio-visual texts, set in disturbing futures, attempt to intervene discursively in these political conversations. Their narratives appear critical of hegemony on their surface, but lurking beneath is a return to gender essentialism that defines women through their ability to reproduce.

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