Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes (Kobo eBook)
Impossibly muscular men and voluptuous women parade around in revealing, skintight outfits, and their romantic and sexual entanglements are a key part of the ongoing drama. Such is the state of superhero comics and movies, a genre that has become one of our leading mythologies, conveying influential messages about gender, sexuality, and relationships.
Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes examines a full range of superhero media, from comics to films to television to merchandising. With a keen eye for the genre’s complex and internally contradictory mythology, comics scholar Jeffrey A. Brown considers its mixed messages. Superhero comics may reinforce sex roles with their litany of phallic musclemen and slinky femme fatales, but they also blur gender binaries with their emphasis on transformation and body swaps. Similarly, while most heroes have heterosexual love interests, the genre prioritizes homosocial bonding, and it both celebrates and condemns gendered and sexualized violence.
With examples spanning from the Golden Ages of DC and Marvel comics up to recent works like the TV series The Boys, this study provides a comprehensive look at how superhero media shapes our perceptions of love, sex, and gender.