Date of Award
Rachel Feder, Ph.D.
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.
Fleming, Julia Michele, "Away from the End of Motherhood: Sites of Haunting in the Social Imaginary in Lemonade and The Handmaid's Tale" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1446.
Received from ProQuest
Julia Michele Fleming
Comparative literature, African American studies, Women's studies