Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

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The hero is a key archetype in Western culture, yet heroes have almost invariably been male and white. Twenty-eight centuries since Achilles — arguably the first superhero — the classic heroic archetype remains unaltered: displaying the so-called “masculine” virtues of strength, courage, assertiveness, leadership, physicality, and sometimes violence.

Why are these characteristics considered “heroic”? What happens when women engage in ways of thought and behavior traditionally confined to “masculinity”? Why do most superheroes show little or no talent for communication, family, or empathetic caring? Why aren’t these values considered heroic, and how do our ideas about heroism reflect our culture’s values? Let us know your thoughts!

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