Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Second Department

Intercollegiate Media Studies

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

James Morrison

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The intersection of women and the law has been a debated topic ever since 1873’s Supreme Court decision in Bradwell v. The State, which banned women from practicing law due to the “timidity and delicacy” which restrains them to the domestic sphere. Film, an essential vehicle for analyzing cultural environments, is useful for considering this dichotomy over three distinct eras of female lawyers in film. In the analyses of these eras, costuming is used as the lens to consider the portrayals of female attorneys and how they correlate to political and societal dynamics of the time. By considering the costuming choices of the female lawyers in Disbarred (1939), Physical Evidence (1989), and Legally Blonde (2001), a trajectory showing the changes in social attitudes towards female attorneys will be established.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.