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Dangerous Dames

Representing Female-Bodied Empowerment in Postfeminist Media


Heather Hundley, Roberta Chevrette and Hillary A. Jones

This book illuminates the rhetorical work performed by contemporary representations of a specific type of postfeminist hero who has garnered a lot of cultural capital: women who are smart, capable, physically agile and fit, and proficient with weaponry and technology. Employing critical/cultural and feminist approaches, Heather Hundley, Roberta Chevrette, and Hillary Jones engage with a range of theories including intersectionality, critical race theory, postmodernism, and posthumanism to examine a range of contemporary texts, including Kill Bill, Volumes I and II; The Hunger Games films; Wonder Woman; Atomic Blonde; Proud Mary; The Bionic Woman; Deus Ex; Dark Matter; and Caprica. Contributing to a robust existing conversation about postfeminist media as well as tracing how representation has changed in recent years, Hundley, Chevrette, and Jones contend that portrayals of dangerous dames offer limitations and opportunities for audiences. Specifically, should audiences read these characters as evidence of a postfeminist apocalypse, they may heed warnings of the limited interpretations offered. Yet as more women serve as role models and gain public attention, particularly regarding their assets and abilities, they provide important equipment for living for navigating around patriarchal constraints raised by postfeminism, neoliberalism, and humanism.

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About the author

About the author


HEATHER L. HUNDLEY (PhD, University of Utah) is Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She received the College Outstanding Research Award from her former institution. She has co-authored two books, coedited two books, and published in journals including New Media & Society, Communication Quarterly, and Communication Reports.

ROBERTA CHEVRETTE (PhD, Arizona State University) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She has published in journals such as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Communication Theory, Feminist Formations, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies.

HILLARY A. JONES (PhD, The Pennsylvania State University) is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at California State University, Fresno. She has co-edited a book and has published in journals including Critical Studies in Media Communication, Southern Communication Journal, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Communication, Culture, and Critique.

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