Eastern Michigan University
Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations
Master’s Theses, and Doctoral Dissertations, and
Graduate Capstone Projects
Reel women: gender stereotypes in film
Kayla Marie Krahn
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Krahn, Kayla Marie, “Reel women: gender stereotypes in film” (2015). Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 636.
Reel Women: Gender Stereotypes in Film
Submitted to the Department of Communication, Media and Theater Arts
Eastern Michigan University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
MASTER OF ARTS
Tsai-Shan Shen, Ph.D, Chair
Dennis Patrick, Ph.D.
Michael Tew, Ph.D.
July 15, 2015
Horror films portray female characters as sexual, helpless victims. When horror
films attempt to portray female characters as the hero, this sends a message to audiences
that women can be strong and independent. An experiment was conducted to test an
audienceâ€™s perceptions gender stereotypes of women in the horror film, Scream. Results
indicate that stereotypes present in the horror film effected the participantsâ€™ perception of
women as competent heroes. Female participants were also more likely to perceive
women as more competent than male participants.
Then, from a qualitative standpoint, five individuals were interviewed about their
perceptions of characters in their favorite films. These interviews helped give insight into
why audiences continue to enjoy films even though mainstream films tend to overly
exaggerate female stereotypes in most genres of film.
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