Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Film Studies

First Advisor

Kelly Sears

Second Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Third Advisor

Jeff Motter

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Powerful women are generally mis- and underrepresented in films, from behind the camera and in front of the camera. It’s difficult to rise to the top of an industry when a stigma of inferiority follows you everywhere you go. Resisting Interpellation addresses the struggle to be taken seriously as a minority in a corporate environment. Our main (unnamed) protagonist, a young, mixed-race woman, attempts to start her first day on the job with ease, and without negative judgment. As the format of the screen changes with the fragmented ways a woman can be viewed in an office, she learns that you cannot control the ascription assigned to you. She must grapple with what is reality and what is perception.

The accompanying essay will delve into the perceived lack of legitimacy associated with female-oriented films. A connection to the broader social issue regarding women in the professional sphere will support the claims of perceived lack of legitimacy. It will discuss the historical context of women in film, and how they came to be a forgotten contribution to film history. Finally, the essay will discuss the implication of rhetoric used in mansplaining and in general conversation with, and about, women. This essay’s purpose is to create a comprehensive and relatable rhetorical dynamic to propel further questioning of one’s own conversational practices and one’s perception of feminine legitimacy.