Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Metz, Walter


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.




This thesis is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.