Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Arts
Dr. Lauren Eisler
Dr. Andrew Welsh
The following thesis focuses on media depictions of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, a list that carries upwards of 1,200 names. The news coverage of these stories is reminiscent of television crime dramas in their depictions of minority victims of crime, specifically in regard to victim blaming. In order to examine this relationship, the present study compares coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canadian news articles to depictions of victims, particularly minority female victims, within crime procedural television shows. An ethnographic content analysis (ECA) was conducted in order to parse out common themes between news articles featuring missing and murdered Indigenous women (N = 50) and television crime drama episodes (N = 65) from Law & Order: SVU (N = 37), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (N = 17), and Criminal Minds (N = 13). The overarching message portrayed within these forms of media is the importance of conforming to social mores. Both forms of media act as morality plays depicting the harm that will come to women if they transgress society’s definition of ‘appropriate’ behaviour. These morality plays are aimed at white women in order to protect their virtue and stifle female sexual agency. These morality plays act as a way to enforce and engrain hegemony within society.
Elliott, Caitlin, "You Will Be Punished: Media Depictions of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women" (2016). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1863.