It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's...a Girl?!: Analyzing Representations of Femininity on The CW's Supergirl

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Freitag, Dylan Willis




Although it takes more than diverse media representation to create positive social change, representation is still important in normalizing identities and discussing social issues. However, representations of minority groups are often either flawed or absent in media. This is true for the genre of superhero stories: for instance, it has long been dominated by superheroes who are heterosexual cisgender men, creating a reputation of a sexist boy's club. Focusing on the CW's Supergirl, this thesis provides a snapshot of how women are fairing in superhero media in the mid-to-late 2010s. This snapshot highlights that representations of superwomen have improved greatly, no longer entirely reflecting a problematic singular ideal of what femininity means. Centered around three superwomen, protagonist Kara Danvers/Supergirl, Kara's sister/super spy Alex Danvers, and Nia Nal/Dreamer, this analysis argues that the show presents complex and nuanced depictions of femininity that are a strong step forward for the genre.


Mass Communications
Gender Studies




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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