Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/66248
Title: Representing Heroic Figures and/of Resistance: Reading Women’s Bodies of Violence in Contemporary Dystopic Literatures
Author: Ruthven, Andrea
Director: González Fernández, Helena, 1967-
Martín Lucas, María Belén
Keywords: Distopia
Dystopia
Literatura fantàstica
Literatura contemporània
Feminisme
Fantasy literature
Modern literature (19th-21st century)
Feminism
Issue Date: 26-Jun-2015
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [spa] Esta tesis toma como punto de partida el análisis de las mujeres heroicas en la cultura popular contemporánea, específicamente en los textos distópicos. Aplicando las teorías feministas al análisis de los textos, se hará una distinción clara entre el discurso postfeminista y la intervención del feminismo de Tercera Ola. Me centraré en las heroínas de las novelas Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (2009), Jane Slayre (2010), The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century (1990-2007), y la trilogía de The Hunger Games (2008, 2009, 2010) para analizar la violencia y el heroísmo femeninos, así como el posthumanismo. Cada uno de los tres capítulos dedicados al análisis textual reflexiona sobre el modo en que se concibe la violencia de las distintas heroínas, y cómo su representación intenta reinscribir o resistir el discurso patriarcal. Mi argumento es que el discurso que construye a las mujeres violentas funciona como una forma de violencia en y por sí misma, a la que se somete el cuerpo heroico femenino. El estudio de textos distópicos escritos entre 1990 y 2010 sirve de base para un análisis que busca interrogar no sólo a la heroína como construcción del momento actual, sino también el modo en que la cultura popular y los medios constituyen agentes clave en el predominio que el postfeminismo ha conseguido dentro de la narrativa de heroínas fuertes y violentas. La variedad de sub-géneros (Gótico contemporáneo, cómics, y ficción juvenil) ofrece un campo amplio para el análisis de esta figura ubicua. Al considerar el modo en que las heroínas y viragos se representan en los textos contemporáneos queda claro que el modo en que la violencia de las mujeres se ofrece como instancia postfeminista de igualdad y empoderamiento de las mujeres funciona en realidad como re-inscripción de las mujeres dentro de un marco patriarcal. Esta tesis identifica las maneras en que se construyen las versiones postfeministas de las mujeres y ofrecer una posible alternativa, una que coincide con la visión del feminismo de Tercera Ola, acerca del papel de la heroína en la sociedad contemporánea.
[eng] This thesis analyses heroic women in contemporary popular culture, specifically within dystopic texts. Relying on the use of feminist theory to interrogate the texts of the corpus, a clear distinction will be drawn in the introduction between postfeminist discourse and rhetoric and Third Wave feminist intervention. The heroines of the novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (2009), Jane Slayre (2010), The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century (1990-2007), and The Hunger Games trilogy (2008, 2009, 2010), will serve as the focus for an itnerrogation of female heroism, violence, and posthumanity. Each of the three chapters dedicated to textual analysis considers how the various heroines’ violence is mobilised, and how its representation works to reinscribe or resist patriarchal discourse. My argument is that the discourse which constructs violent women works as a form of violence in and of itself, to which the heroic female body is subjected. The focus on dystopic texts written between 1990 and 2010 serves as the basis for an analysis that seeks to consider how the heroine is a construction of the contemporary moment, and how popular culture and media are driving forces in the way in which postfeminism occupies a central role in the narrative surrounding strong, violent heroines. The range of sub-genres, contemporary Gothic, comic books, and young adult fiction, offer a broad field for interrogating this ubiquitous figure. Chapter one, ‘Spectres of Feminism: Postfeminism and the Zombie Apocalypse’ considers how the integration of posthuman monsters (zombies primarily but also vampires, sea monsters, and the she-wolf) manipulates the potential for agentic heroines such that their violence is reinscribed within heteronormative and Humanist frameworks. The matrimony plot so prevalent in the texts highlights how the active heroine’s violence is only permissible within the bounds of heteronormativity. Chapter two, ‘Violent Heroines, Comic Books and Systemic Violence’ considers the construction of the super heroine of the comic book genre and considers the way in which a racialised female body disrupts the norm and yet is still subjected to patriarchal strategies for containing representations of heroic women’s bodies and violence. The introduction of the cyborg as the posthuman enemy further emphasises how violence is mobilised in the postfeminist heroine as a means of sustaining patriarchal culture and anthropocentric normativity. The analysis in Chapter three, ‘Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games: Dystopia and Resistance to Neoliberal Demands,’ brings to light the potential for a heroine that disrupts the postfeminist model seen in the previous two chapters. Through an interrogation of the way in which the novels are critical of spectator culture and the romance plot, a space for resistance is opened up. The representation of a heroine who eschews the individualist notions of postfeminist heroism by privileging the formation of affective bonds, as well as embracing the posthuman condition rather than fighting against it, offers the potential for a Third Wave feminist protagonist. Considering, in the conclusion, the way in which heroines and viragos are represented in contemporary texts, whether they be fighting zombies, enemies of the state or the state itself, it is clear that the way in which women’s violence is often offered as a postfeminist depiction of women’s equality and power serves to reinscribe women within a patriarchal framework. For the late-capitalist, globalised culture, it is imperative to represent a postfeminist vision of women as powerful, independent and equal without actually challenging the socio-political structure. This dissertation identifies the ways in which postfeminist versions of heroic women are constructed and offer a possible alternative, one which coincides with a Third Wave feminist understanding of the heroine’s role in contemporary society.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/66248
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Filologia Romànica

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