Girl of Steel:

Essays on Television’s Supergirl and Fourth-Wave Feminism

This essay collection invites a diverse group of scholars to propose answers to the many questions about gender roles and female agency raised in the series. Fourth-wave feminist theories help elucidate the ways Supergirl exhibits and challenges current sexual politics. Essays analyze how the series engages with conversations about feminism and crafting female identities, Supergirl’s impact on queer audiences and queer studies, and how families and familial bonds craft the show’s feminist narratives, among other topics. In the ever-growing superhero television genre, Supergirl remains unique as viewers watch a female hero with almost godlike powers face the same struggles as the non-superpowered women in the series.

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Jessica Jones barged onto our screens in November 2015, courtesy of Marvel and Netflix, presenting a hard-drinking protagonist who wrestles with her own inner (and outer) demons. Gaining enhanced abilities as a teenager, she eschews the "super costume" and is far more concerned with the problems of daily life. But when Jessica falls under the control of a villain, her life changes forever. Based on the comic book Alias, the show won a large following and critical acclaim for its unflinching look at subjects like abuse, trauma, PTSD, rape culture, alcoholism, drug addiction, victims' plight and family conflicts. This collection of new essays offers insight into the show's complex themes and story lines.

Faculty Focus

Copyright 2020 by Melissa Wehler