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Superwomen : Gender, Power, and Representation (Hardcover) (Carolyn Cocca)
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Over the last 75 years, superheroes have been portrayed most often as male, heterosexual, white, and able-bodied. But there has been change over time. Today there are more female superheroes, more ****** superheroes, more superheroes of color, more disabled superheroes-but not many more. Now is the time to investigate these issues, because between comics, films, live-action and animated television shows, conventions, and licensed merchandise, superheroes are billion-dollar, transmedia, global commodities. While there are almost 25 television shows and 40 films on the way starring comics-based superhero characters, less than 10% of these (and of mainstream superhero comics) are solo vehicles for female superheroes. Of the rest, about half have white male leads, and the other half have almost entirely white and male ensemble casts.
Superwomen approaches superhero characters as interactive public spheres through which cultural narratives of gender are negotiated between creators, consumers, and parent companies, and it explores the tensions and sometimes coincident interests between them. Three aspects of popular culture collide in these interactive public spheres-the texts themselves; fans and how they receive and rework representations; and the political economy of superhero production. While these three elements are usually examined separately, Carolyn Cocca provides a fuller picture of the politics of female superheroes by addressing them together and demonstrating the ways in which they are inextricably linked.