Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Dr. Carey Martin


Feminism, Molly Haskell, Patriarchy, Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes, Television


Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Mass Communication | Other Communication


This study presents the history of feminism from the late 1800s to present day, the effects feminism has had on the film and television industry, and how those effects have shaped Shonda Rhimes’ groundbreaking primetime programming Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. Collectively, these shows are referred to as Shondaland after Shonda Rhimes’ production company. The author used Molly Haskell’s book, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, to create a definitive feminist roadmap by which to evaluate television and film with minimum bias. The study asked whether Shondaland contains more feminist or patriarchal themes according to Molly Haskell and just how much Shondaland leans toward the victor. Even though Shondaland is often thought to be empowering television for women, the results of the study did not reflect the media’s consensus. Despite starring three powerful women, only Grey’s Anatomy scored more feminist themes than patriarchal themes with a ratio of 33:8. Scandal had an equal number of feminist and patriarchal themes with a ratio of 15:15. How To Get Away With Murder scored 37:53 in favor of the patriarchy.