In this study, I analyzed the British historical drama series Downton Abbey and examine the interactions between the women characters based on social class and gender dynamics. Downton Abbey is a media portrayal of the wealthy, aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the early twentieth century in Britain. The show focuses on the lives of the Crawleys, and their servants based on real life events such as the Titanic crashing, which is where the series begins. Using Sonja Foss’s feminist critique, I examined seasons one, three, and five of the series and looked specifically at the female characters. From my analysis I found three major themes that encapsulated the interactions between women of the television show: resisting societal norms, personal vs. interpersonal relationships, and restrictions of the female gender. One major conclusion from this study is how women did not follow gender norms that society imposed on them during this time. Women in the series earned an education, obtained jobs below their social class, and resisted the submissive expectations for their gender. I conclude this study by offering the limitations of this study and recommendations for future scholarship.


Rizzo-Weller, Melissa


Communication Studies


Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication Technology and New Media | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


Downton Abbey, feminist critique, feminism, social class, gender, television series

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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