Considering a variety of female superhero narratives, including World War II-era Wonder Woman comics, the 1970s television programs The Secrets of Isis and The Bionic Woman, and the more recent Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Education and the Female Superhero: Slayers, Cyborgs, Sorority Sisters, and Schoolteachers argues that they share a vision of education as the path to female empowerment. In his analysis, Andrew L. Grunzke examines female superheroes who are literally teachers or students, exploring examples of female superheroes whose alter egos work as schoolteachers or attend school during the workday and fight evildoers when they are outside the classroom. Taking a broader view of education, Grunzke argues that the superheroine in popular media often sees and articulates her own role as being an educator. In these narratives, female superheroes often take it upon themselves to teach self-defense tactics, prevent victimization, and encourage people (especially female victims) to pursue formal education. Moreover, Grunzke shows how superheroines tend to see their relationship with their adversaries as rehabilitative and educative, trying to set them on the correct path rather than merely subdue or dominate them.
Andrew L. Grunzke
Country of Publication:
Series: Education and Popular Culture
15 February 2020
Professional and scholarly
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 L. Grunzke is associate professor of education at Mercer University.
Reviews for Education and the Female Superhero (GN): Slayers Cyborgs Sorority Sisters and Sc
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