Author Identifier

Jessica Taylor

ORCID : 0000-0002-4897-3392

Laura Glitsos

ORCID : 0000-0003-2576-6371

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Feminist Media Studies


Taylor & Francis


School of Arts and Humanities


Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021


Taylor, J., & Glitsos, L. (2021). “Having it both ways: Containing the champions of feminism in female-led origin and solo superhero films”. Feminist Media Studies. Advance online publication.


In this article, we consider the emerging trend of solo, female-led superhero films, and their repeated location in aesthetically distinct pasts or “closed moments.” This pastness, we contend, serves to distinguish the concerns of the protagonists, which are often read as feminist, as redundant for the contemporary audience. This framing is in keeping with a postfeminist cultural context, wherein feminist values and successes are celebrated, while simultaneously declared irrelevant.

We examine the historical or closed settings in Wonder Woman (2017), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), Captain Marvel (2019) and Black Widow (2021), and consider how this collective investment in the past impacts and informs the films’ engagement with sexism. We also explore how the bodies of the protagonists become implicated in this process, via the repeated framing of particular body politics as historically resolved. Overall, we signal the birth of a new subgenre, and signpost the continued containment of female superheroes, even as they, and their politics, become more visible.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.