Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

Rachel Feder, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tayana Hardin

Third Advisor

Erin Willer


American, Cultural studies, Feminism, Motherhood, Representation, Reproductive justice


This thesis analyzes the television series adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, specifically the episode "A Woman's Place," and Beyoncé's Lemonade: A Visual Album. I argue that these cultural texts leverage representations of women's lived experiences to scrutinize contemporary American anxieties about motherhood and reproductive justice. Lemonade, a celebration of Black womanhood, presents a counterpoint to The Handmaid's Tale's preoccupation with white motherhood in way that speculates on the utopian potentials of a woman-centered society.

Using bell hooks' film analysis, Avery Gordon's "haunting," and Luce Irigaray's "mimicry," I examine two interconnected themes: feminist aesthetics and generational haunting. While The Handmaid's Tale evokes the fear of possible descent into a dystopic society, Lemonade reaches for a feminist futurity. Each text re-inscribes a worldview that tracks a contradiction or reaffirmation of expectations of who is allowed to be a mother in contemporary society within the social imagination of reproductive justice inseparable from our current moment in American culture.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Julia Michele Fleming


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

94 p.


Comparative literature, African American studies, Women's studies