Award Date

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Second Committee Member

Olesya Venger

Third Committee Member

Gary Larson

Fourth Committee Member

David Vallett

Number of Pages

146

Abstract

The current study looks at scientists in End of the World (EOTW) films spanning from 1950 to 2010 through stereotypes and gender roles. Eighteen films, 12 representing EOTW films and 6 that are considered “regular” science fiction films, were analyzed in terms of Goffman’s (1976) 6 aspects, first introduced in Gender Advertisements, as well as aspects of visual and textual frame analysis. The analysis of these films provided a way to look at the portrayal of scientists in EOTW films and add to the limited body of literature on this particular sub-genre of film.

Previous research identified that scientists were portrayed as predominantly Caucasian males, typically older, and stereotyped as Mad Scientists, Nutty Professors or Absent-Minded Scientists, or Heroic Scientists. The representation of these scientists was supported, along with additional findings that scientists in EOTW films were often not identified as main characters in the films and the female scientists that were portrayed were often characterized with predominantly masculine traits. In comparison, “regular” science fiction films represented scientists in almost identical ways. A trend in all films analyzed showed that in more recent years, female scientists have begun playing a larger role in science fiction films and although they are being portrayed as main characters, the masculine traits still remain, showing that the gender roles and stereotypes that are traditionally employed are still there, however, the greater presence of female scientists in more prominent roles could have a positive influence on females who are potentially interested in scientific careers.

Keywords

Apocalyptic films; Disaster films; Dystopian films; Goffman; Post-Apocalyptic; Scientists in motion pictures; Stereotypes (Social psychology) in motion pictures; Women in motion pictures

Disciplines

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Mass Communication

Language

English