Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015


Sarah P. Lockhart, Ph.D.


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the inferior positions of women in both Bollywood and Hollywood films and the way in which these representations reflect women’s actual social positions in Indian and American societies. In order to determine films truly reflect women’s social positions in these respective societies, this paper establishes and relies on a criteria to understand what women’s social positions truly are in both societies. A criteria is also formulated by which the representation of female characters in the top five blockbusters from Bollywood and Hollywood in the years 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013 are judged. The results of this criteria are presented in two tables in order to clearly portray the low levels of female films analyzed. This thesis then goes on to analyze particular films from both industries in order to examine general trends in each industry as well as to track the development, or lack thereof in the case of Bollywood, of female characters over the years. As a result of the research conducted, this thesis concludes that although the positions of women in both Indian and American films as well as societies remain inferior to those of men, women in India are unequal to a greater degree than women in the US.