This volume of essays provides a critical foray into the methods used to construct narratives which foreground antiheroines, a trope which has become increasingly popular within literary media, film, and television. Antiheroine characters engage constructions of motherhood, womanhood, femininity, and selfhood as mediated by the structures that socially prescribe boundaries of gender, sex, and sexuality. Within this collection, scholars of literary, cultural, media, and gender studies address the complications of representing agency, autonomy, and self-determination within narrative texts complicated by age, class, race, sexuality, and a spectrum of privilege that reflects the complexities of scripting women on and off screen, within and beyond the page. This collection offers perspectives on the alternate narratives engendered through the motivations, actions, and agendas of the antiheroine, while engaging with the discourses of how such narratives are employed both as potentially feminist interventions and critiques of access, hierarchy, and power.
Melanie Haas is chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Southeast Arkansas College and is completing her PhD in Rhetoric at Texas Woman’s University.
N.A. Pierce is completing her PhD in English Literature at Old Dominion University.
Gretchen Busl is associate professor and graduate program coordinator in the Department of English, Speech, and Foreign Languages at Texas Woman's University.
Part I: Making a Mess of Motherhood
1.From “Basic Bitch” to “Boss Bitch”: Morality & Motherhood in NBC’s Good Girls – Henriette-Juliane Seeliger and Tiara Sukhan
2.Challenging Cultural Attitudes to Maternal Ambivalence through Antiheroines in The Americans and Homeland – Brenda Boudreau
3.Tracking the Relationships between Post-feminism, Representations of Ageing Women, and the Rise of Popular Misogyny as Portrayed in FX’s Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) – Lucinda Rasmussen
4.“As Bad as Him”: Reframing Skyler White as the Overlooked Antiheroine – Melanie Piper
Part II: Women to Watch (Out For)
5.The Other’s Hero: The Importance of Annalise Keating and Olivia Pope as Black Antiheroines – Melanie Haas
6.Where the Streets Have No Shame: Queen Cersei Lannister’s Journey to Alternative Patriarchy – Louise Coopey
7.Killing Eve and the Necessity of the Female Villain du Jour – Kathleen Waites
Part III: Crazy is a Sexist Word
8.Rewriting the Psycho Bitch: Exploring the Psychological Complexity of the Antiheroine in Contemporary Domestic Noir Fiction – Liz Evans
9.“Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All”: Representations of the Antiheroine in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Stephanie Salerno
10.The Antiheroine and the Representation of PTSD: The Case of Jessica Jones – Anja Meyer
11.“Small-breasted Psycho”: Debunking the Female Psychopath in Killing Eve – Siobhan Lyons
About the Editors and Contributors
Focusing on the proliferation and variety of female antiheroines in contemporary media, Antiheroines of Contemporary Media offers an incredibly rich array of essays on the ways this new character has appeared in recent television and what it says about our current assumptions of women who deviate from traditional norms. With a sharp eye for detail and new ways of thinking about these characters, the essays in this volume together provide an excellent introduction as well about how creatives in the television industry have brought to life these women for their viewers and what it says about the diversity and increasing political impact of these new images in contemporary culture.
A welcome addition to the flourishing body of scholarship on the television antiheroines, this collection brings together contributions that provide fresh insights and fine explorations into the emerging, in contemporary television storytelling, of female figures that defiantly stand against normative visions of womanhood. An interesting and recommendable reading, the book offers and stimulates analyses and reflections on changing television's politics of gender representation.
Haas, Pierce, and Busl’s collection on antiheroines provides a fine contribution to the body of pop-culture scholarship concerned with women who resist, refuse, and rebel. The essays, primarily focused on contemporary TV series, are both up-to-the-minute and timeless. The shows themselves might disappear from the cultural scene, but the issues examined here of women’s place and power, sexuality and survival, will continue to inspire reflection and change.