Girl Warriors

Feminist Revisions of the Hero’s Quest in Contemporary Popular Culture


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About the Book

Quest narratives are as old as Western culture. In stories like The Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter, men set out on journeys, fight battles and become heroes. Women traditionally feature in such stories as damsels in need of rescue or as the prizes at the end of heroic quests. These narratives perpetuate predominant gender roles by casting men as active and women as passive.
Focusing on stories in which popular teenage heroines—Buffy Summers, Katniss Everdeen and Disney’s Princess Merida—embark on daring journeys, this book explores what happens when traditional gender roles and narrative patterns are subverted. The author examines representations of these characters across various media—film, television, novels, posters, merchandise, fan fiction and fan art, and online memes—that model concepts of heroism and girlhood inspired by feminist ideas.

About the Author(s)

Svenja Hohenstein is an assistant professor at the University of Tuebingen, Germany.

Bibliographic Details

Svenja Hohenstein

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 255
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7664-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3739-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Representations of Girl Warriors in Primary Texts

1. Establishing the Feminist Quest Heroine in Buffy the Vampire Slayer 19

2. Adapting the Feminist Quest Heroine: The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen 51

3. Mainstreaming the Feminist Quest Heroine: Brave and the Warrior Princess 82

Part II: Representations of Girl Warriors in Secondary and Tertiary Texts

4. Containing Feminist Potential: Girl Warriors in Promotional Paratexts 114

5. Promoting a Queer Agenda in Femslash Fan Fiction 147

6. Affirming Feminism, Challenging Whiteness: Girl Warriors in Fan Art 175

Conclusion: Girl Power Politics 209

Chapter Notes 217

Bibliography 225

Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Outstanding…exceptionally well written, organized and presented…recommended”—Midwest Book Review

• “A timely, readable, and well-researched intervention into ongoing conversations about adaptation, representation, and characterization in literature and films about young heroines embarking on quests…will be valuable to anyone writing about adaptation in almost any way, not just children’s film or girl studies”—Mythlore