Trim: 6½ x 9½
978-1-4985-9684-8 • Hardback • December 2019 • $100.00 • (£77.00)
978-1-4985-9685-5 • eBook • December 2019 • $38.00 • (£29.00)
Andrew L. Grunzke is associate professor of education at Mercer University.
Chapter One: Redemption, Collaboration, and Compassion: Education and the Construction of the Female Superhero Identity
Chapter Two: How Sorority Girls Became Wonder Women: Higher Education, Comic Books, and Female Empowerment during the Second World War
Chapter Three: from Holliday Girls to Angels: Second Wave Feminism Meets Prime Time Television
Chapter Four: She Became a Dual Person: Children’s Television Program The Secrets of Isis and the Teacher as Alter-Ego of the Female Warrior of the 1970s
Chapter Five: The Cyborg and the Post-Human Schoolteacher: The Bionic Woman and 1970’s Prime Time Feminism
Chapter Six: High School Is Hell: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Feminist Education at the Turn of the Millennium
Andrew Grunzke does a deep dive into the decades-long history of the female superhero within the historical context of gender attitudes. He reveals how media representations educated audiences in multiple ways—conforming to, responding to, and at times challenging both cultural expectations and societal changes. This is truly a thought-provoking and deftly-analyzed work!
— Eileen H. Tamura, Co-editor, The Oxford Handbook of the History of Education
In this wonderfully creative book, Andrew Grunzke explores the impact of gender on the development of female superheroes, with thoughtful speculation on why so many are educators. Some of their alter-egos are actual teachers, while all of these superheroes approach crime-fighting as educators, teaching their enemies and trying to change their behavior. What does it say about our views of female empowerment, Grunzke asks, that these powerful heroes are connected to a field socially constructed as both feminine and sometimes lacking in power? With a keen historian’s eye focused imaginatively on comics and television, he explores how cultural attitudes about gender have intersected around schooling and the growth of popular culture.
— Linda Eisenmann, Wheaton College
Situating his argument historically and sociologically, Grunzke analyzes the identities and stories of Wonder Woman, Isis, The Bionic Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to illustrate how female superheroes have been used as a vehicle for both forwarding and constraining feminist messages. Grunzke analyzes the characteristics and dispositions of female superheroes and how these simultaneously empower and disempower them; female superheroes both supersede and remain anchored in the patriarchy. The educator role of female superheroes makes them complex, collaborative, and empathetic but also positions them as less independent and less decisive than male superheroes. Readers discover how our country’s tumultuous, complex negotiation of gender roles, sexual objectification, and feminist movements and backlash can be examined through the female superhero. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in female superheroes and who is interested in how pop culture educates us about feminism, gender roles, and power.
— Autumn Dodge, University of Lynchburg