Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Women's and Gender Studies

Committee Member

Deron Overpeck, Ph.D,

Committee Member

Abby Coykendall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Melissa Jones, Ph.D.


In this thesis, I will analyze five films that have a rape-revenge narrative: Ms. 45 (1981), M.F.A. (2017), I Spit on Your Grave (1978), I Spit on Your Grave (2010), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). I will argue that the violent actions taken by the female protagonist during her revenge against her rapist(s) serve to allow her to reclaim her agency that was stolen from her during the rape(s). I will show that the rape-revenge narrative is more diverse than it might seem, as the five films I analyze deal with rape, and responses to rape, in very different ways. I will analyze female protagonists who act as social avengers and reclaim their agency by taking on society as a whole, female protagonists that confront the phenomenon of gang rape, and female protagonists who challenge the institutionalized system of male power.