Gendered violence by Hollywood superheroes

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Pinni B 1096, osoite: Kanslerinrinne 1.


Tampereen yliopiston tutkijakollegium IASR

Guest lecture by Professor of Sociology Neal King, Virginia Tech (USA)

Comic-book superhero movies of the last few decades in Hollywood (1987-2017) have altered the profile of the female superhero, from sexual adjunct and relatively powerless sidekick of a male superhero, to a full protagonist independent of men. Still, feature films focused on such superwomen remain rare.

This analysis of female superheroes tracks their developing roles in the protection rackets of (fictional) national governments, entangled in corruption and state violence, inflicting the large-scale destruction on the very communities for which they also provide protection. Where female heroes formerly protected small circles of loved ones, in older films, newer heroes are moving closer to the heart of state violence that once distinguished masculinity.

I conclude with a discussion of the feminist politics of such violence. Do such heroes become more or less feminist as they enter the halls of state power and do more violence as state agents? Does their increasing violence make them more or less useful to feminism?"


Marjukka Virkajärvi
050 318 6697