Professor of Politics, Economics, and Law at the SUNY, College at Old Westbury
The use of violence by female superheroes has been written about mostly in terms of its subversion of dominant cultural narratives of gender, as well as in terms of readers/viewers’ pleasure and feelings of empowerment. I would argue, further, that for those who find the subversion of gendered norms discomfiting, the palatability or popularity of female superheroes’ violence also lies in stories that: 1) conform them to raced and classed notions of gender performance, 2) present them as seemingly naturalized to such behavior because they were born to it via an alien and/or exoticized monoculture, 3) accentuate their similarities to popular male superheroes, and 4) surround them with familiar military tropes and trappings. The subversion of gender norms attracts a more progressive audience; the containment of that subversion through these techniques attracts a more conservative audience, thus ensuring marketability across the political spectrum.
Due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, ICAF was forced to cancel its events at the 2020 Small Press Expo. Over the next 16 weeks (give or take), we will be publishing