CFP: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures (Australia) (April 11; August 12-13)
In 2010, the 600th issue of Wonder Woman celebrated the Amazonian superhero’s longevity in print media. To mark the occasion, the issue reinvented the superhero’s iconic costume to make it less revealing, introducing dark trousers and a blue, starred jacket. This shift to more practical, less sexualised wear arguably reflects changing attitudes about gender and the growing female presence in the comics industry. Nonetheless, the change prompted some controversy online amongst fan communities, again highlighting the problematic history of the representation of women as powerful figures.
‘Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures’ is a one and a half day interrogation of the construct of the ‘superhero’ as female and more generally of the representation of powerful female figures in fantasy and science fiction. Looking at a range of print and visual media, papers will explore the range of female characters in superhero narratives, the material history of the female superhero, and how visual and textual constructs of female heroes - and anti-heroes - have been re-imagined, re-invented and re-packaged over time.
Possible topics include:
- The representation of female superheroes in print and visual media – in comics, comix, graphic novels, novels, short stories, fan fiction, film, television, and other media forms
- Distribution of narratives and images of female superheroes across multiple genres and media platforms
- The female hero quest
- Deconstructing the superhero trope – studies in feminism, patriotism, politics, race, satire, comedy, and so on
- Constructs of the female supervillain
- Superhero fashions, including costumes, cosplay and sartorial signifiers
- Female collaboration in comics
- Female comics artists: historical and contemporary
- Female comics audiences and fan communities
- Analysis of the institutional, commercial and licensing histories of
- female superhero properties
- The construction of powerful women in fantasy and science fiction genres