Buffy to Batgirl

Essays on Female Power, Evolving Femininity and Gender Roles in Science Fiction and Fantasy

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About the Book

Science fiction and fantasy are often thought of as stereotypically male genres, yet both have a long and celebrated history of female creators, characters, and fans. In particular, the science fiction and fantasy heroine is a recognized figure made popular in media such as Alien, The Terminator, and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Though imperfect, she is strong and definitely does not need to be saved by a man. This figure has had an undeniable influence on The Hunger Games, Divergent, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and many other, more recent female-led book and movie franchises.

Despite their popularity, these fictional women have received inconsistent scholarly interest. This collection of new essays is intended to help fill a gap in the serious discussion of women and gender in science fiction and fantasy. The contributors are scholars, teachers, practicing writers, and other professionals in fields related to the genre. Critically examining the depiction of women and gender in science fiction and fantasy on both page and screen, they focus on characters who are as varied as they are interesting, and who range from vampire slayers to time travelers, witches, and spacefarers.

About the Author(s)

Julie M. Still is on the faculty of the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University. She has published and presented on several topics relating to librarianship, history, and literature.

Zara T. Wilkinson is a reference librarian at Rutgers University-Camden. In addition to her research interests in librarianship, she has published and presented on the depiction of women in science fiction television shows including Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Orphan Black.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Julie M. Still and Zara T. Wilkinson

Foreword by Katharine Kittredge

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6446-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3725-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword by Katharine Kittredge 1
Introduction (Julie M. Still and Zara T. Wilkinson) 5

I. Images of Female Power
Something Wicked This Way Comes? Power, Anger and Negotiating the Witch in American Horror Story, Grimm and Once Upon a Time (Alissa Burger and Stephanie Mix) 9
Witches, Mothers and Gentlemen: ­Re-Inventing Fairy Tales in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Kerry Boyles) 33
Selfish Girls: The Relationship Between Selfishness and Strength in the Divergent and Tiffany Aching Series (Alice Nuttall) 53
“Have good sex”: Empowerment Through Sexuality as Represented by the Character of Inara Serra in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (Patricia Isabella Schumacher) 61
Girl Power and Depression in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Shyla Saltzman) 85

II. Evolving Femininity
Girl Rebooted: Transforming Doctor Who’s Sarah Jane Smith from Sidekick to Hero (Sheila Sandapen) 101
The Evolution of Lois Lane: Reflections on Women in Society (Sandra Eckard) 116
Alternate, Not Arrested Development: Bryan Fuller’s Female Protagonists (Trinidad Linares) 129

III. Re-Framing and ­Re-Forming Gender Roles
Vampires Who Go to High School: Everyday Women’s Culture in Twilight, Dracula and Fifty Shades of Grey (Caolan Madden) 157
Using the Animator’s Tools to Dismantle the Master’s House? Gender, Race, Sexuality and Disability in Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Steven Universe (Al Valentín) 175
“Little Geisha Dolls”: Postfeminism in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (Peregrine Macdonald) 216
Beyond the Monomyth: Yuriko’s ­Multi-Mythic Journey in Miyabe Miyuki’s The Book of Heroes (Eleanor J. Hogan) 225

About the Contributors 241
Index 243