Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Leigh A. Ford

Second Advisor

Dr. Heather Addison

Third Advisor

Dr. Rhodes

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This project examined the interconnectedness of race, gender, class and the physical body as interrelated marginalization factors in media representations. Using the feminist body image literature, critical/cultural theory and Black feminist thought this study examined the significance of weight as a marginalization variable interdependent with race, gender and class. The motion picture character portrayals of the iconic figure Queen Latifah are subjected to a semiotics analysis, a traditional method in critical cultural studies to examine media representations. This analysis is informed by the cultural standpoint of the author as an overweight African American female. This study revealed that Queen Latifah's film roles reinforce, re-image and resist traditional stereotypes of the Mammy and Jezebel and suggests that Hollywood has developed an emerging stereotype of the female buck.