I'm No Princess

Super Hero Girls Together

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 Griffith University lucy.baker@griffithuni.edu.au
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Abstract

DC Super Hero Girls (DCSHG) is a trans-media franchise that includes not just screen media texts but a wide array of themed merchandise aimed at a multi-generational market. I argue here that key components of the franchise present a queered version of girlhood that critiques femininity as a gender role while presenting femaleness as encompassing a variety of signifiers, acts, and presentations that can be read as queer (particularly by the so-called big girls in the audience). This is evident in the representation of queer relationships that exist in the sexualized zone of the canonical material, allowing the DCSHG characters to inhabit a liminal proto-queer space between homosocial/gender non-conforming and lesbian that is considered more appropriate for young girls. I examine the way in which the DC Super Hero Girls franchise rejects and reforms familiar elements of comics, super heroism, and princess culture to create that space for girls.

Contributor Notes

Lucy Baker teaches sociology and media studies in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University. Her research focuses primarily on adaptations, gender, and fans. Her recent work has been published in The Journal of Fandom Studies (2016), Continuum (2018), and Journal of Otherness (2018). Her latest publication is “Fans and Vampires at Home” in Letting the Wrong One In: Hospitality, Rape and Consent in Vampire Popular Culture (2017) edited by David Baker, Stephanie Green, and Agnieszka Stasiewicz-Bieńkowska. She recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Refractory (2018) entitled “Beyond Nostalgia: Discomfort and Difference in Stranger Things.” ORCID: 0000-0003-3355-933X. Email: lucy.baker@griffithuni.edu.au

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