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Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Kelcey Edwards

A nuanced critique of gender and heroism in popular culture

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Kapow!  Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines offers a nuanced critique of gender and heroism in popular culture as well as a powerful dose of Vitamin F(eminism) for the undernourished.  From the birth of the 1940s comic book heroine, Wonder Woman, to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about strong and healthy women. Wonder Women! reveals the complicated negotiations girls and women face as they attempt to achieve confidence, strength, and agency in a society often at odds with those goals. Yet it also inspires through its evocative images, upbeat soundtrack, and richly contextualized history of American superheroines—including the everyday wonder women and action girls in our midst.

Wonder Women! goes behind the scenes with actors Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (the Bionic Woman), comic writers and artists, and real-life superheroines such as feminist icon Gloria Steinem, riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna and others, who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.

quoteWonder Women! hits us right where it counts, offering a nuanced critique of gender and heroism in popular culture... Reveals the complicated negotiations girls and women face as we attempt to achieve confidence, strength, and agency in a society often at odds with those goals.
Mary Celeste Kearney
Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Texas at Austin, and author of Girls Make Media
full review

quoteMovie clips and interviews with Lynda Carter and other actors enliven this exploration of women, power, and popular culture that is both entertaining and a great discussion starter.
Candace Smith
Booklist Online
full review

quoteFills a void in popular culture critiques that will inspire both girls and women, and enable lively classroom discussions about the profound influence of media in shaping notions of what women can be and do.
Caroline Heldman
political commentator and Associate Professor of Politics, Occidental College
full review

quoteI thought I knew Wonder Woman, but Kapow! Bam! In true superhero fashion, this film delivered a knock out blow to my simple set of assumptions. Great as a way to introduce ideas and initiate discussion about gender, feminism, girls, and activism.
Lyn Mikel Brown
Professor of Education, Colby College, author of Packaging Girlhood, co-founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women and SPARK Movement
full review

quoteWho knew that the depiction of Wonder Woman paralleled the pursuit of women’s rights throughout the 20th century? This provocative lens on U.S. women’s history promises to engage students, while pushing them to think critically about the current depiction of strong and empowered women in the media.Drawing together central themes within the fields of women’s and gender studies – beauty, body, sex, power, violence, and media – this film will assist teachers in demonstrating the relevance of feminist criticism to the media-saturated, celebrity-obsessed, and digitally-enhanced culture in which our students live.
Desiree Henderson
Director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program and Associate Professor of English, University of Texas at Arlington
full review

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AWARDS & SCREENINGS:

  • Indianapolis International Film Festival, winner of Audience Award
  • Dallas Video Festival, winner of Documentary Feature Award
  • Bend Film Festival, winner of Documentary Feature Award and Best Director Award
  • Spokane Film Festival, Winner of Audience Award
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • South by Southwest Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • DOC NYC Film Festival
  • New Orleans Film Festival
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
  • Australian Center for the Moving Image
  • Montreal International Documentary Festival

Visit the official website for Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

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Appropriate for: Middle School High School College/University

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Closed captions

Deleted scenes

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Comprehensive curriculum guides for middle school, high school and college