Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Paper




Karen Steigman

First Committee Member

Karen Steigman

Second Committee Member

Louis Rose

Third Committee Member

Michelle Acker


Feminism, Film, New Hollywood cinema, Doane, Spectatorship, Arzner

Subject Categories

Higher Education


This thesis provides an analysis of how women, feminism, and female liberation is depicted in American film of the 1970s, in context to genre revisionism and the second wave of feminism. The portrayal of women in film is reimagined due to the Hollywood Renaissance taking place in the mid-sixties and throughout the nineteen-seventies. As genre revisionists began re-working and undoing the tools of classical Hollywood cinema, the role of women began to shift as well, creating a form of counter-cinema. Films of this era, rather intentionally or unintentionally, start to address relevant issues of marital status, liberation, sexuality, and the stipulations that surround the guidelines and structures of a white, heteronormative, women’s lifestyle. My essay will consider how directors in the 1970s such as Martin Scorsese, Alan Pakula, Woody Allen, Martin Ritt, and Barbara Loden provide audiences with contemporary images of “liberated” women, who although liberated in a new sense, still fall victim to the societal and cinematic system working against their said liberations. Furthermore, I will be analyzing how this portrayal of women relates to second wave feminism, as it is important to examine the effects that politics have on a director’s interpretation and cinematic depiction of womanhood. Stereotypes of women in film changed to reflect the different stereotypes emerging surrounding the second wave of feminism, leading me interested in discussing how the unconscious of patriarchal society structures film form in the 1970s.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2