Date of Award
Honors College Thesis
Media and Entertainment Arts BA
Katrin Pesch, Ph.D.
Edgar Simpson, Ph.D.
Sabine Heinhorst, Ph.D.
My thesis project seeks to bring awareness to the ongoing problem of the underrepresentation of women in filmmaking. During the initial stages of filmmaking, many women contributed to the developing Hollywood industry. As film-watching grew in popularity in the 1920s, filmmaking turned into a lucrative business. Consequently, this boost of film production pushed women to the outskirts, making the field male-dominated. This has continued into the present-day leaving women having to overcome the challenges of garnering positions on a film crew.
Existing research on this topic mostly focuses on Hollywood. However, the underrepresentation of women in film is not only happening there but also in small-scale productions at the regional level, leaving Mississippi unexplored.
My project examines the Mississippi film community through first-hand perspectives of women filmmakers within the state. My research shows that Mississippi has a small number of women to men in the industry due to the traditional morals still practiced in the South. There is an underlying assumption about the role of women where they are only considered as caretakers or nurturers leaving women only more likely to find positions as producers rather than technical jobs, such as cinematographers or editors. This is a stereotype that has lessened in more impartial settings, but not in the South. Rather than looking at women filmmakers’ technical abilities, employers look at traditional gender constructs.
Mississippi has a small but growing industry for movie making, and it is important to highlight these issues now before the community grows.
Keywords: film industry, filmmaking, inequality in the workplace, Mississippi, sexism, underrepresentation, women in film, women filmmakers
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Sandoval, Paola, "The Underrepresentation of Women in Filmmaking" (2022). Honors Theses. 833.