Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Nancy Bercaw

Second Advisor

Kathryn McKee

Third Advisor

Ted Ownby

Relational Format



This thesis examines the role images of southern women play in understanding the feminist movement from 1980 to 2000. By closely analyzing several media forms, from television to self-help books, it becomes apparent that the function of the southern woman is often to either soften the blow of feminism or push the agenda of patriarchy. I look thoroughly at movies and television of the 1980s as well as books and societal groups of the 1990s. The time period involved in this study encompasses the backlash to the second wave of feminism through the emergence of the third wave. The data I use was culled from personal as well as literary and film analysis. I utilized historical works and studied the media forms intimately. This paper argues that although the south may be dissolving into the rest of the country, the image of the southern woman remains distinct. Through marketing, branding and consuming, the figure of the southern woman is as prominent as ever.



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