Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




How are black women depicted in popular films? The significance of this study is that it sheds new light on the ways in which black women are depicted in film, and exemplifies some means to deconstruct dehumanizing representations of ourselves. This work advances the goal of institutionalizing more accurate visual accounts of black femaleness thereby exposing the inaccuracies of the dominant gaze. This study also transparently marks my intersectional positionality as a black feminist spectator-- simultaneously privileged and marginalized. I identify as a heterosexual woman of color, raised in an upper-middle class American community. As such, I benefit from classism and able-ism in my perspectives. This analysis is, then, essentially a black woman's critique of black women's marginalization in American cinema. The study contributes to the sociology of race and media studies by critically analyzing what messages are conveyed to the masses regarding the place of black womanhood in American society. Moreover, it explores some specific ways that these cinematic representations of Black womanhood are socially and politically damaging.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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