Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Michelle S. Brown

Committee Members

Lois Presser, Michelle S. Brown, Harry F. Dahms


As a condensed version of social reality, film has become a more common object of modern sociological and criminological investigation. As such, we can explore film to understand taken-for-granted as well as innovative constructions of social phenomena. Among these are gendered violence. We can use film to dig deep into its logics, elaborated in visual and narrative representations. Prior literature has analyzed crime films and the behavioral constructions within them, outlining the representations of serial homicide, rape, mass shootings and revenge. However, few studies have outlined films that do meaningful, non-voyeuristic representational work on the issue of violence against women. The purpose of this thesis, then, is to fill the gap by conducting a thematic analysis of four films that convey women resisting violence: Precious (2009), Room (2015), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and Promising Young Woman (2020). While resistance to violence against women and other feminized subjects is usually the province of men or the masculine state, these four films cast women as the main protagonists and furthermore characterize them as active and powerful in their negotiation of violence.


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