Recommendations from the Women’s Studies list serv about female superheroes:
I’d add this from my book Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution:
A list of the best 19 female cartoon characters was compiled by The Telegraph newspaper.[i] A Pakistani TV cartoon series called Burka Avenger spread to India and other countries in 2015. The heroine is a teacher named Jiya who wears a burka as a disguise to fight the ban on girls going to school, attacks on polio health workers by Taliban extremists, child labor, environmental destruction and other current issues.[ii] Some feminists criticize showing the burka as a symbol of liberation but Jiya is powerful. Despite progress, few girls submit their films to youth film festivals, despite film schools like Reel Girls for girls nine to 19.
Wonder Woman is the favorite female comic book superhero (since 1941), according to The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2015). The UN even appointed her as honorary ambassador for gender empowerment in October 2016 in an effort to reach young people. The campaign called “All the Wonder We Can Do” received some criticism and petition against it for picking a white woman cartoon figure in hot pants with an US flag design. One of her DC writers noted that Wonder Woman is queer due to her origins in Themyscira, an all-female island in Greek mythology. A movie about her was released in 2017, part of a long history of sexy warrior goddesses and heroines.[iii]
However, female superheroes are rare. Some are listed online, along with film superheroines.[iv] A website called Girl-Wonder.org collects positive female comic characters. The Marvel comic titled Ms. Marvel features a Pakistani-American teenager called Kamal Khan, the first Muslim girl hero in mainstream comics, collected in a book by G. Willow Wilson (2014). Marvel’s Riri Williams took over from Iron Man. She’s a science genius who went to MIT age 15. Kamal talks about women’s rights with the imam at her local mosque in Jersey City. The first Latina superhero called La Borinqueñaa was created by Puerto Rican artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriquez.[v] Also at DC Comics, Beth Ross is the first female and teen president in Pres, elected on Twitter in 2036.[vi] (The comic can be purchased online.) Boom Box comics publishes “The Lumberjames” about a diverse group of girls at a summer camp including queer girls, “Goldie Vance” about a teenage black girl who solves mysteries, “Giant Days” about three female university students, and “Jonesy” about a Latina teenager.
[ii] FP Staff, “Burka Avenger Cartoon Series Coming to India to Empower Girls,” First Post, April 15, 2015.
[iii] Christian-Georges Schwentzel, “Selling Sex: Wonder Woman and the Ancient Fantasy of Hot Lady Warriors,” The Conversation, May 25, 2017.
[vi] Tim Beedle, “Are You Ready for Prez’s Mark Russell,?” DC Comics, August 27, 2015.
Sophia Rose Arjana’s *Veiled Superheroes*
Tim Hanley’s Wonder Woman Unbound, which discusses the feminist aspects of the character in different phases
Carolyn Cocca’s book Superwomen (published with Bloomsbury). There is also an excellent edited volume on Superheroes and Identity edited by Mel Gibson published by Routledge.
Check out Christina Blanch’s work at Aw Yeah comics:
Whaley’s *Black Women in Sequence* and Fawaz’ *The New Mutants.* Mafe’s *Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before* isn’t about comics, but it is about women heroes in popular culture and may be helpful.