Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Volume 2. Essays on Television Representations, 2013–2019


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About the Book

Television is entering a unique era, in which women and minorities no longer serve under white captains but take the lead—and all the other roles as well. In a brilliant new universe where the intersectional values of fourth wave feminism are becoming more widespread, fantasy and science fiction are leading the charge. Shows from Star Wars to Doctor Who are rewriting their traditional storylines to include more well-rounded and racially diverse female characters. Steven Universe, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Orphan Black and Sense8 highlight queer characters and experiences. Dystopias like Marvel’s Jessica Jones and The Handmaid’s Tale show the female perspective entirely, guiding viewers from trauma to self-determination. In fantasy and horror, Wynonna Earp, Game of Thrones, Supergirl, Vikings, American Horror Story, Black Mirror, and The Walking Dead reveal how much the story changes with a spectrum of women reclaiming the text from white, straight, young, cisgender men.
These new shows are intersectional, digital, global, critical, and political, with fan responses changing the content and cutting-edge platforms like Netflix and Hulu shaking up the format.

About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel teaches English at Mission College and San Jose City College. The author of 90 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Valerie Estelle Frankel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, indexes
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7767-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3866-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Section I: Fighting Authority
“Praise Be!” Power and Resistance in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (K. Jamie Woodlief) 19
Scattered Stories of Embodied Resistance: Sense8, Orphan Black and Queer Cultural Production (Audrey Jane Black) 30

Section II: Warriors in a Respectful World
Wynonna Earp, Supergirl and the Power of Choosing (Resa Haile) 49
“The gods will always smile on the brave women”: Exploring the Heroines of History Channel’s Vikings (Steven B. Frankel) 62
Reclaiming Power from the Toxic Male: Support and Recovery in Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Valerie Estelle Frankel) 75

Section III: Intersectionality
From Sidekick to Romantic Lead: Rise of the Strong Black Woman (Sumiko Saulson) 93
Revisionist History and Intersectional Feminism in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Katherine McLoone) 110
The Problematic White Woman in Black Mirror’s “Crocodile” (Spinster Eskie) 127
“Bloke Utopia”: Bill Potts, Queer Identity and Cyborg Narratives in Doctor Who (Sarah Beth Gilbert) 135

Section IV: ­Girl-Centric Kids
Rebelling Heroines: Hera, Sabine and Ahsoka in Star Wars: Rebels (Stephenie McGucken) 151
DC, Marvel and Star Wars for Girls: The Transmedia Online Adventures (Valerie Estelle Frankel) 167
Rose Arisen: How the Children’s Animated Show Steven Universe Invented the “Reverse Fridge” (Josephine L. McGuire) 189

About the Contributors 203
Index 205