Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Film Studies

First Advisor

Geoffrey Marslett

Second Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Third Advisor

Kerry Reilly

Fourth Advisor

David Gatten

Abstract

Granted that palpable barriers — such as the operation fee, travel costs, childcare — hardly impede on-screen characters in search for an abortion, I felt compelled to coalesce the cringe-inducing reality of contemporary reproductive restrictions into a likewise dark comedy film. So, I co-wrote and directed a coming-of-age narrative about a twenty-something-year-old girl named Evelyn, who solicits cocaine in order to pay for her overpriced abortion. Clearly, the precocious protagonist obtains her personal reasons for revenge; however, not only does Evelyn’s decision underscore a sociological correlation between criminal depravity and a dearth of resources, but also beyond her white privilege, her logic duly begs an even more pressing question to the audience — does a girl who doles out drugs for money possess the moral fiber for motherhood — or at least at this stage of her nascent life?

Even within the baby breadcrumbs of a crystallized canon, most pro-choice films tend to address abortion with a morally benevolent and relatable person; but in particular, the archetypal pattern conveys a leonine lady bearing blonde locks and a cherubic countenance that began with the iconic character Stacy Hamilton from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). Coincidentally, the protagonist Evelyn of my thesis film, “Sugar Daddy,” possesses uncanny similarities to six different lionlike female heroines. However, we sought to complicate our character with an anti-heroic homage to the brash brunettes who have also sought abortions in movies with watershed gumption; and moreover, give credence to the demographic discrepancies of diversity within the breadth of on-screen abortion. Therefore, we cultivated a panoply of polemical female characters — some more likable than others — in order to mirror the moral muck mired in an even more contentious, polarized debate of life, death, and above all — girl power.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.vimeo.com/juliaferguson/sugardaddy

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Layne Diener's photo from Costa Rica Women's March

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Layne Diener's photo from Costa Rica Women's March

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Outside source photo from Women's March on Washington

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Outside source photo from Women's March on Washington

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One of the photos I shot from the Women's March on Washington in Denver

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One of the photos I shot from the Women's March on Washington in Denver

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The Leonine Archetype in Pro-Choice Cinema

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Production photo from "Sugar Daddy"

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