Midway Honors, Honors in English
Date of Award
Thesis Professor Department
Literature and Language
Katherine Weiss, Michael Cody
Throughout history, comic books and the media they inspire have reflected modern society as it changes and grows. But women’s roles in comics have often been diminished as they become victims, damsels in distress, and sidekicks. This thesis explores the problems that female characters often face in comic books, but it also shows the positive representation that new creators have introduced over the years. This project is a genealogy, in which the development of the empowered superwoman is traced in modern age comic books. This discussion includes the characters of Kamala Khan, Harley Quinn, Gwen Stacy, and Barbara Gordon and charts how these four women have been empowered and disempowered throughout their comic canon. It rejects the lens of postfeminism and suggests that an intersectional feminism is still needed in today’s ever-evolving and diversifying world. Popular culture must be representative of everyone, and today’s women authors will be the driving force of diversity in comic books.
East Tennessee State University
Honors Thesis - Open Access
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Kilbourne, Kylee, "With Great Power: Examining the Representation and Empowerment of Women in DC and Marvel Comics" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 433. https://dc.etsu.edu/honors/433
Copyright by the authors.