Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television
By (author) Elyce Rae Helford Contributions by Linda Badley, Marleen S. Barr, Hanley E. Kanar, Nicole Matthews, Farah Mendlesohn, Sharon Ney, Kent A. Ono, Sarah Projansky, Robin A. Roberts, Jessica A. Royer, Elaine M. Sciog-Lazarov, Leah R. Vande Berg, Rhonda V. Wilcox
Publication date:30 May 2000
Length of book:288 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
A new collection on women in American television in the 90s uncovers a cultural obsession with tough yet sexy heroines in mythical pasts, the "girl power" present, and utopic futures. Xena, Buffy, Sabrina, and a host of other characters have become household words, as well as icons of pop culture 'feminism.' Their popularity makes for successful programming, however, how much does this trend truly represent a contemporary feminist breakthrough? And what does it mean for feminism in the next few decades? Fantasy Girls: Navigating the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television seeks to explore as well as challenge the power and the promises of this recent media phenomenon. Such TV programming offers the exciting opportunity to rethink established gender norms, but how far is it really pushing the limits of the status quo? Amidst the exuberant optimism of fanzines and doting fan websites, the contributors to this volume endeavor to provide us with a much needed critical analysis of this contemporary trend. These essays explore the contradictions and limitations inherent in the genre, forcing readers to take a fresh and critical look through a variety of lenses including girl power, postfeminism, cyborg feminism, disability politics, queer studies, and much more. Programs covered are Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Disney's Cinderella, Lois and Clark, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Third Rock from the Sun, and Xena: Warrior Princess.
In this imaginative volume, Fantasy Girls boldly maps the emergent gender terrains characterizing new fantasy and science fiction TV. Combining close textual with rigorous theoretical analysis, this volume is the new feminist media studies at its best. It will be indispensable for teachers and scholars searching for the most up-to-date treatments of gender and television, including issues of sexuality, race, ethnicity, and the body. Fantasy Girls addresses head-on the tough issues facing feminists and others concerned with television and its impact.