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Title: Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender in American Superhero Comics
Authors: De Dauw, Esther Ludwina Lucia
Supervisors: Graham, Sarah
Parker, Emma
Award date: 27-Nov-2017
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis analyses the representation of gender and its intersection with sexuality and race by examining twelve mainstream comic book superheroes in their socio-historical context, particularly those published by the ‘Big Two’ publishers in the industry: Marvel and DC. The superheroes are: Superman, Captain America, Iron Man, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Wiccan, Hulkling, Batwoman, Black Panther, Falcon, Storm and Ms Marvel. Focusing on superheroes’ first appearance in World War II up to their current iterations, this thesis discusses how superheroes have changed and adapted to either match or challenge prevailing ideas about gender, including dominant views on masculinity and femininity in the US military, attitudes to American national identity and the Other, homonormativity and minority communities. Engaging with Butler’s theory of gender performance and Critical Race Theory, this thesis extends existing comic scholarship by moving beyond justification or condemnation of the genre. It contends that superheroes create gendered scripts that are increasingly pro-diversity, supporting gender, sexual and racial equality, and yet fail to construct anti-hegemonic narratives that challenge the status quo.
Embargo on file until: 27-Nov-2020
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Description: Due to copyright restrictions illustrations have been removed from the electronic version of this thesis. The unabridged version can be consulted, on request, at the University of Leicester Library.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Dept. of English

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