Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Lisa A. Flores

Second Advisor

Cindy H. White

Third Advisor

Steven Frost


Television serves as a dominant force in culture and possesses the ability to influence how we perceive the world around us. Gendered stereotypes have been perpetuated in various television shows, and research illustrates that representations of sexuality and gender reinforce the stereotypes present in traditional discourse. These representations often portray women as one-dimensional, and define them through binary typecasts. The purposes of this study are to examine ideologies of gender that are portrayed in both television and society and to understand how certain shows reinforce or reject these stereotypes. Through an ideological feminist critical analysis, this thesis explores the HBO television series Girls in order to demonstrate how this show functions as a critique on traditional ideologies of gender, specifically through representations of female sexuality. Girls highlights traditional depictions of women in media in order to recognize female sexuality on a continuum, rather than through binary typecasts. Using Bay-Cheng’s theory of the Virgin-Slut continuum, I examine how Girls uses these rhetorical tactics to offer critiques of previous depictions of women in media, while also presenting media consumers with a modern representation of femininity. Representations of women in television condition viewers’ beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of women, which Girls attempts to reshape through rhetorical strategies such as exaggeration and normalization.

Included in

Communication Commons