College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Spring 6-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media and Cinema Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Michael DeAngelis

Second Advisor

Dr. Luisela Alvaray


This thesis examines how depictions of femininity in both neo-noir and contemporary noir cinema challenge feminist activism, conform to post-feminist ideology and perpetuate problematic depictions of sex and violence in the figure of the femme fatale. In order to understand the textual and ideological function of sex, violence, and victims characterized by women in contemporary noir cinema, this research draws on existing discourse in film and cultural studies and analyzes depictions of violent and sexualized women across genres of film and throughout popular culture. The post-modern culture represented in Hollywood films emphasizes post-feminist notions of female empowerment through individualism, subjectivity, and new ideas of sexual difference. This research is concerned with how women’s rights are depicted through post-feminist characters masquerading as victims and subverting feminist efforts to eradicate social injustice.

Included in

Communication Commons