PERFORMING ARTS

There She Goes Again: Gender, Power, and Knowledge in Contemporary Film and Television Franchises

Rutgers Univ Dec. 2023. 212p. ISBN 9781978836112. pap. $29.95. FILM
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While the presence of women characters as protagonists has increased over recent decades in film and TV, that doesn’t mean the roles have escaped the complex issues of using and referencing long-established gendered tropes related to power, ability, and wisdom. Dove-Viebahn (film and media, Arizona State Univ.; coeditor, Public Feminisms: From Academy to Community) examines mainstream media’s concept of the “extraordinary woman” by probing into the ways that motherhood, sisterhood, femininity, and the symbolism of a woman’s body remain present in these narratives and central to these characters’ empowerment. She also conducts close readings of several long-running multimedia franchises with superpowered or exceptional women in leading roles, including Supergirl, Wonder Woman, the various incarnations of Charlie’s Angels, the Terminator and Resident Evil films and television series, and more.
VERDICT A thoughtful, scholarly investigation into the complexities of how powerful women are conceptualized and presented in the current media landscape. Eminently suitable for libraries with feminist and women-in-media collections. Likely to be of particular use to those seeking analyses of postfeminist media centered on women protagonists.
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