Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation

Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation

by Carolyn Cocca


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Over the last 75 years, superheroes have been portrayed most often as male, heterosexual, white, and able-bodied. Today, a time when many of these characters are billion-dollar global commodities, there are more female superheroes, more queer superheroes, more superheroes of color, and more disabled superheroes--but not many more.

Superwomen investigates how and why female superhero characters have become more numerous but are still not-at-all close to parity with their male counterparts; how and why they have become a flashpoint for struggles over gender, sexuality, race, and disability; what has changed over time and why in terms of how these characters have been written, drawn, marketed, purchased, read, and reacted to; and how and why representations of superheroes matter, particularly to historically underrepresented and stereotyped groups.

Specifically, the book explores the production, representations, and receptions of prominent transmedia female superheroes from their creation to the present: Wonder Woman; Batgirl and Oracle; Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Star Wars' Padmé Amidala, Leia Organa, Jaina Solo, and Rey; and X-Men's Jean Grey, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, and Mystique. It analyzes their changing portrayals in comics, novels, television shows, and films, as well as how cultural narratives of gender have been negotiated through female superheroes by creators, consumers, and parent companies over the last several decades.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501316579
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 09/08/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 651,319
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Carolyn Cocca is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Economics, and Law at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, USA. She is the author of Jailbait: The Politics of Statutory Rape Laws in the United States, and various articles and book chapters about gender and superheroes.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Representation Matters
Chapter 1: “The Sexier the Outfit, the Fewer Questions Asked”: Wonder Woman
Chapter 2: “When You Go Out At Night, You Won't Be Alone”: Batgirl(s) and Birds of Prey
Chapter 3: “Somebody Has To Save Our Skins!” Padmé Amidala, Leia Organa, and Jaina Solo in Star Wars
Chapter 4: “No Such Things as Limits”: The X-Women
Chapter 5: “Slayers. Every One of Us”: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Chapter 6: “Part of Something Bigger”: Ms. Marvel(s) and Captain Marvel(s)
Conclusion: Superwomen, Diversity, and Representation

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