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Thursday, Jul 23, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
by Laura Mattoon D'Amore
Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture (Fall 2008)

“Scholarship about superhero comics has been overwhelmingly focused on maleness, and feminist analyses are only just beginning to appear. Within even that small body of work, very little has been written about the superheroines of the 1960s. Recent criticism of strong female characters (comic, film, and television) tends to revolve around post-feminist consciousness. For example, Sherrie A. Inness, editor of Action Chicks: New Images of Tough Women in Popular Culture (2004), credits second-wave feminism with questioning “the notion that women are ‘naturally’ not aggressive, incapable of handling the same challenges of men…question[ing] the status quo” (5). Since the 1970s, more and more women have taken on what had previously been considered male roles, particularly in the workplace. Inness argues that the female action hero was popular culture’s answer to this transformation in “women’s real lives.” However, her analysis is primarily focused on such post-feminist characters as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, and Lara Croft. This study of the early years of The Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl, on the other hand, examines the subtle, unconscious influences of what could be called a pre-feminist awakening. As such, the following discussion of Invisible Girl’s transformation exemplifies how culture both shapes and is shaped by its own representation of itself.”


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