The Feminist Superheroine: A Critical Evaluation of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman
Freeman, Katherine G.
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The study attempts to ascertain to what extent Patty Jenkins’ 2017 film Wonder Woman can be considered a feminist text and if a female superhero film can be categorized as feminist within the constraints of Hollywood norms. The first chapter introduces the subgenre of superheroine films, feminism in film, and how Jenkins’ Wonder Woman fits into this narrative. Chapter two provides historical context on the creation of the Wonder Woman comics, the various adaptations of Wonder Woman, as well as the complex layers in William Moulton Marston’s inspiration to create the character of Diana Prince. In chapter three I explain the multifaceted nature and contested terrains of feminism and feminist film theory, then analyze moments of feminism in Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. In chapter I assess media viewpoints of feminist films and discussions surrounding whether Wonder Woman can be considered a feminist film. I consider the importance of women behind the camera in the industry, I analyze the character Wonder Woman in the later 2017 film Justice League, and I take a closer look at how superhero films have been seen to reflect concerns of post-9/11 America. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman may not be the perfect depiction of feminism, but I argue that it is a progressive step forward for women as lead superheroines and for women leading behind the scenes.