Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture

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Overview

Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture addresses the conflicted meanings associated with the figure of the action heroine as she has evolved in various media forms since the late 1980s. Jeffrey A. Brown discusses this immensely popular character type as an example of, and challenge to, existing theories about gender as a performance identity. Her assumption of heroic masculine traits combined with her sexualized physical depiction demonstrates the ambiguous nature of traditional gender expectations and indicates a growing awareness of more aggressive and violent roles for women.

The excessive sexual fetishization of A consideration of the action heroines is a central theme throughout. The topic is analyzed as an insight into many manifestations of the transgressive image of the dominatrix, as the action heroine a reflection of the shift in popular feminism from second-wave politics to third-wave and post-feminist pleasures, and as a form of patriarchal backlash that facilitates a masculine fantasy of controlling strong female characters. Brown interprets the action heroine as a representation of changing gender dynamics that balances the sexual objectification of women with progressive models of female strength. While the primary focus of this study is the action heroine as represented in Hollywood film and television, the book also includes the action heroine's emergence in contemporary popular literature, comic books, cartoons, and video games.

Jeffrey A. Brown, Bowling Green, Ohio, is an associate professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans (University Press of Mississippi).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604737141
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 1/18/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Jeffrey A. Brown, Bowling Green, Ohio, is an associate professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans (University Press of Mississippi).
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Table of Contents

Introduction "Where All Women Wear Spandex and Know Kung Fu" 3

1 Gender and the Action Heroine

Hardbodies and the Point of No Return 20

2 Gender, Sexuality, and Toughness

The Bad Girls of Action Film and Comic Books 43

3 Alias, Fetishism, and Pygmalion Fantasies 63

4 "Play With Me"

Sexy Cyborgs, Game Girls, and Digital Babes 93

5 If Looks Could Kill

Power, Revenge, and Stripper Movies 120

6 "She Can Do Anything!"

The Action Heroine and the Modern (Post-Feminist) Girl 141

7 "Exotic Beauties"

Ethnicity and Comic Book Superheroines 168

8 Kinky Vampires and Action Heroines 185

9 When The Action Heroine Looks 208

Conclusion

Wondering About Wonder Woman

Action Heroines as Multi-Fetish 233

Works Cited 247

Index 257

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