This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

It's a Man's World: Representations of Gender and Competing Ideologies in 'Shaun of the Dead'




Stull, Gretchen

Type of Degree



Communication and Journalism


This thesis utilizes a gender media studies approach to analyze the 2004 British film Shaun of the Dead. Blending several film genres, Shaun of the Dead is counted among a small but growing sub-subgenre of film known as romantic zombie comedy or rom-zom-com. Boasting characteristics of multiple film genres, Shaun of the Dead is uniquely suited for gender critique. As such, this thesis answers the question, what gender messages does Shaun of the Dead, a contemporary British film, communicate to American audiences? Containing all the defining filmic characteristics of the horror genre, with the added cinematic elements of both the zombie horror and romantic comedy subgenres, Shaun of the Dead communicates gendered messages about the American sociocultural landscape that hold meaning for American movie-going audiences. Placing zombies in the ideological position of --Y´Other,¡ the film depicts the tension and struggle among dominant and competing gender ideologies within the United States. Ultimately, this depiction serves to maintain and repair dominant American ideological values and power structures. Additionally, Shaun of the Dead provides a commentary on the prevailing American sociocultural fears of the time period in which it was released, allowing audiences members to confront their shared fears and overcome them onscreen.