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! 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."
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.
"Fills 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."
"Channels all of the excitement of reading a comic book into an exhilarating and captivating historical account of the evolution of the media’s first true Girl Power figure, Wonder Woman. More importantly, the film compellingly documents the importance of strong mediated role models for girls."
"[Explains] what should be evident but is SO not: Girls need super heroes because they need to know that their gender is not an obstacle. If you have a daughter, it is a moral imperative that you show her this film as soon as possible."
"I 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, activism. I would use it as a way to ground conversations about gender and power, media impact on girls, media activism, and social constructions of femininity."
"This film makes a great addition to the women’s and gender studies classroom. Who knew that the depiction of Wonder Woman paralleled the pursuit of women’s rights throughout the twentieth 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."
"This important film provides an unparalleled perspective on the enduring power of Wonder Woman in popular culture. Dynamic animations kapow this archetype beyond comic books into the living systems of post-millennial girl power. The result? A truth-telling lasso capturing decades of Wonder Woman’s superheroic impact on the collective imagination."
"A delicious journey through decades of popular culture [that] interweaves the evolution of women superheroes, from the original Wonder Woman comic through Charlie’s Angels, Buffy, Riot Grrrls and beyond, and the history of modern feminism. It’s a vivid demonstration of the complex relationship between creators and consumers of popular culture."
"Instead of a static essay on a comic book character, director Guevara-Flanagan broadens the scope to give the superhero angle its proper historical and societal perspective. Wonder Women! fills a niche in feminist collections."
"Appropriate for all age groups, and would be especially useful in media and women’s studies classes."