Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, Apr 18, 2011 - Social Science - 288 pages
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Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture addresses the conflicted meanings associated with the figure of the action heroine as she has evolved in various media forms since the late 1980s. Jeffrey A. Brown discusses this immensely popular character type as an example of, and challenge to, existing theories about gender as a performance identity. Her assumption of heroic masculine traits combined with her sexualized physical depiction demonstrates the ambiguous nature of traditional gender expectations and indicates a growing awareness of more aggressive and violent roles for women.

The excessive sexual fetishism of action heroines is a central theme throughout. The topic is analyzed as an insight into the transgressive image of the dominatrix, as a refection of the shift in popular feminism from second-wave politics to third-wave and post-feminist pleasures, and as a form of patriarchal backlash that facilitates a masculine fantasy of controlling strong female characters. Brown interprets the action heroine as a representation of changing gender dynamics that balances the sexual objectification of women with progressive models of female strength. While the primary focus of this study is the action heroine as represented in Hollywood film and television, the book also includes the action heroine's emergence in contemporary popular literature, comic books, cartoons, and video games.

 

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Contents

WHERE ALL WOMEN WEAR SPANDEX AND KNOW KUNG FU
3
Hardbodies and the Point of No Return
20
The Bad Girls of Action Film and Comic Books
43
3 ALIAS FETISHISM AND PYGMALION FANTASIES
63
Sexy Cyborgs Game Girls and Digital Babes
93
Power Revenge and Stripper Movies
120
The Action Heroine and the Modern PostFeminist Girl
141
Ethnicity and Comic Book Superheroines
168
8 KINKY VAMPIRES AND ACTION HEROINES
185
9 WHEN THE ACTION HEROINE LOOKS
208
WONDERING ABOUT WONDER WOMAN Action Heroines as MultiFetish
233
WORKS CITED
247
INDEX
257
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Jeffrey A. Brown, Bowling Green, Ohio, is an associate professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans (University Press of Mississippi).

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