Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-9-2022


Kee, Sarah. Nasty Woman: An Analysis of Women's Anger in Popular Culture. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Sarah Kee 2022.


The goal of this senior project was to analyze the underlying cause for why certain female characters in popular culture were villainized for their behavior and generally deemed to be “nasty woman.” After reading numerous books and viewing films that contained “nasty woman”, there was a common denominator that linked their behavior and influenced their decision to enact their often-bloody retribution: the patriarchy. These women were a victim of some aspect of the patriarchy, commonly sexual assault, and could not receive the support they needed, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. The “nasty women” analyzed in this magazine were vilified because they didn’t tamp down their rage and allowed themselves to embrace their fury to enact retribution upon those in their community who had wronged them. Painting these female literary characters as “villains” or “nasty women” prevents them from being fully accepted in a patriarchal society and serves as a way for people, primarily men, to feel less threatened by a woman’s power. Additionally, this portrayal mitigates the actions that were done against these women along with continuing to perpetuate this cycle of violence. While one does not condone some of the methods that these women used to ensure that a man would never harm them again, their use of anger to channel a transformation in the behavior of others around them is something that can be applied to life today.