Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television

Overview

A new collection on women in American television in the 90s uncovers a cultural obsession with tough yet sexy heroines in mythical pasts, the 'girl power' present, and utopic futures. Xena, Buffy, Sabrina, and a host of other characters have become household words, as well as icons of pop culture 'feminism.' Their popularity makes for successful programming, however, how much does this trend truly represent a contemporary feminist breakthrough? And what does it mean for feminism in the next few decades? Fantasy ...

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Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television

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Overview

A new collection on women in American television in the 90s uncovers a cultural obsession with tough yet sexy heroines in mythical pasts, the 'girl power' present, and utopic futures. Xena, Buffy, Sabrina, and a host of other characters have become household words, as well as icons of pop culture 'feminism.' Their popularity makes for successful programming, however, how much does this trend truly represent a contemporary feminist breakthrough? And what does it mean for feminism in the next few decades? Fantasy Girls: Navigating the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television seeks to explore as well as challenge the power and the promises of this recent media phenomenon. Such TV programming offers the exciting opportunity to rethink established gender norms, but how far is it really pushing the limits of the status quo? Amidst the exuberant optimism of fanzines and doting fan websites, the contributors to this volume endeavor to provide us with a much needed critical analysis of this contemporary trend. These essays explore the contradictions and limitations inherent in the genre, forcing readers to take a fresh and critical look through a variety of lenses including girl power, postfeminism, cyborg feminism, disability politics, queer studies, and much more. Programs covered are Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Disney's Cinderella, Lois and Clark, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Third Rock from the Sun, and Xena: Warrior Princess.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The essays are consistent in quality and approach, and . . . yield astute if not necessarily novel or groundbreaking readings of the various programs.
The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Fascinating and very readable critical anthology.
Review Of Communication
Regardless of why you are interested in this media phenomenon,Fantasy Girls is a must-read.
Andrea Press
In this imaginative volume, Fantasy Girls boldly maps the emergent gender terrains characterizing new fantasy and science fiction TV. Combining close textual with rigorous theoretical analysis, this volume is the new feminist media studies at its best. It will be indispensable for teachers and scholars searching for the most up-to-date treatments of gender and television, including issues of sexuality, race, ethnicity, and the body. Fantasy Girls addresses head-on the tough issues facing feminists and others concerned with television and its impact.
Herman Gray
The essays collected in Fantasy Girls look to some of the most popular and innovative television programming of the late twentieth century to see how issues of gender are represented and imagined in the future. At their most compelling, the essays expose the operations in popular television that sometimes actively mute and at other times only selectively incorporate the force of feminist insights, particularly as these insights are quietly incorporated into the fantasy representations of gender and gender politics within science fiction. At their most critical, they indicate the powerful role of television in keeping us tethered to the categories and assumptions of the past even as we imagine the future.
CHOICE
The essays are consistent in quality and approach, and . . . yield astute if not necessarily novel or groundbreaking readings of the various programs.
Sherrie A. Inness
Covering television shows as diverse as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, to The X-Files, to Xena, Warrior Princess and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, the essays in this collection offer a thought-provoking exploration of gender roles in today's science fiction and fantasy television programming. Anyone interested in women's changing roles in the popular media should find something of interest in this stimulating anthology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847698349
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Elyce Rae Helford is associate professor of English at Middle Tennessee State.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Acknowledgments Chapter 2 Introduction Part 3 Speculating on the Present Chapter 4 Sabrina the Teenage...?: Girls, Witches, Mortals, and the Limitations of Prime-time Feminism Chapter 5 The Cartesian Noveum of Third Rock from the Sun: Gendering Human Bodies and Alien Minds Chapter 6 Scully Hits the Glass Ceiling: Postmodernism, Postfeminism, Posthumanism, and The X-Files Chapter 7 Lois’ Locks: Trust and Representation in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Part 8 Dabbling in the Fantastic Chapter 9 What’s Happening on Earth?: Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Reflection of Gender Roles Attitudes toward Women Chapter 10 Feminism, Queer Studies, and the Sexual Politics of Xena: Warrior Princess Chapter 11 To Be a Vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?: Race and (“Other”) Socially Marginalizing Positions on Horror TV Chapter 12 Biology Is Not Destiny; Biology is Fantasy:Cinderella, or to Dream Disney's "Impossible"/Possible Race Relations Dream Part 13 Projecting the Future Chapter 14 Science, Race, and Gender in Star Trek: Voyager Chapter 15 The Construction of Feminine Identity in Babylon 5 Chapter 16 No Ramps in Space: The Inability to Envision Accessibility in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Chapter 17 Contributor's Notes Chapter 18 Index

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