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Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1845119652
ISBN-10: 1845119657
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Editorial Reviews


“Blogging as Ink-Stained Amazon in the Bitch blogs, Jennifer Stuller took on Barbarella, Lois Lane, and Tura Satana with her blog Girl on Film. With her new book, Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors, you can find even more on kick-ass women in popular culture.”
--Kjerstin Johnson, Bitch Magazine (online)

“Female heroes abound in literature, film and all walks of life, although most people don’t know that they do. Not surprising given how much they challenge the gender roles in which women and girls have historically been confined. This wonderful book shows female heroes breaking out of gender boxes left and right and illuminates new possibilities for the indomitable hero in all of us.”
--Kathleen Noble, Ph.D., author of The Sound of the Silver Horn: Reclaiming the heroism in contemporary women’s lives.

“Once upon a time -- only a few years ago, actually -- women could turn on their TV sets and glory in the adventures of Buffy, Xena, Sydney Bristow, Dana Scully, and many more strong, ass-kicking women. Today there is not one show on the small screen that stars a female action hero. What happened? Comics are not much better. Aside from the occasional exception (for which we are grateful) like Birds of Prey, and women writers like Ivory Madison (The Huntress) and Gail Simone’s newly feminist interpretation of Wonder Woman, most comic book action heroines continue to be male-written and drawn creations whose breasts are bigger then their personalities. Now along comes Jennifer Stuller, with her very entertaining book, Ink-Stained Amazons, to explore the whys and wherefores of pop culture super women, and perhaps jolt us all into demanding more and stronger women characters. Thank you, Jennifer. We need those role models!”
--Trina Robbins author of From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines

About the Author

Jennifer K. Stuller is a writer and journalist, specializing in gender and sexuality in popular culture. She has been researching and speaking internationally on superwomen for over a decade, and has contributed to such publications as Geek Monthly, Washington CEO and the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Stuller also teaches at the University of Washington, her alma mater, and maintains two blogs: Ink-Stained Traveler and Ink-Stained Amazon. She lives in Seattle, Washington.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845119657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845119652
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Kate Stuller is a professional writer, critic, and scholar, and the author of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology--a comprehensive history, critique, and reference guide examining feminist history and potential within popular culture (I.B. Tauris, Fall 2009). As an erudite connoisseur of television, films, novels and illustrated works of fiction, with a special interest in gender, sexuality, and diversity, Ms. Stuller strives to be the Joseph Campbell of modern myth -- only much more feminist and much less crotchety.

She has been invited to speak at conferences in the United States and Australia, provided expert opinion and interviews for radio, documentaries and newspapers, and is a regular contributor to local and national publications & organizations, having her work appear in publications as diverse as Geek Monthly and Bitch to Washington CEO and the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society (SAGE Publications). She writes on subject matter ranging from architecture & design to feminist issues, corporate profiles and lifestyle trends, to travel, real estate, history, and popular culture.

Ms. Stuller received her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in the Program in the Comparative History of Ideas, where as a student she co-facilitated a credited course using the television program Buffy the Vampire Slayer to explore issues of human nature, and later returned to her Alma Mater to offer a survey course on the history of comics. She contributed a biweekly opinion column to the UW Daily in which she explored the larger social relevance of popular entertainment as well as reflected on her experiences as an adult undergraduate. She earned a minor in Women Studies.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Stuller moved to Seattle in 1997. She is married to Ryan Wilkerson, an art director employed by Microsoft Game Studios. They live with their two Maltese, Giles and Wesley.

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Top Customer Reviews

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I am someone who thinks a lot about how comics, television, and movies shape how our culture sees itself and the higher wishes we may have for ourselves. Stuller's book is the something I didn't know I needed until I got it.

This is a great historical social commentary. Chapter one starts with Wonder Woman and places her in her author's original historical context, and then she touches on just about every great (and silly) female super hero from the 1940s to the 2000s. Reading this book made me feel like I was a part of a very big family (a feeling I don't often have as a 30-something year old woman who reads comic books).

After touching on the characters themselves, and how they refelct or inspire the time when they originally appeared, Stuller has an impressive glossary of superwomen with brief biographies,and a recommendation list of books, tv shows, movies, and internet sites to continue your exploration of fantastic women.

Whether you are a man or a woman, whether you were inspired by Emma Peel, Lynda Carter, Buffy Summers, or Xena the Warrior Princess -- you will want this book next to your comic book or DVD collection.
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Format: Paperback
As I read Ink-Stained Amazons, I found myself relapsing into grad school behaviors. I read with a pen in hand, annotating and underlining constantly. And I found myself wishing that I'd had this book while I was still in school, because Stuller's astute observations about tough women would have worked perfectly in the last paper I wrote, an examination of Zoe and Kaylee from Firefly as feminist heroes. I've even written about Hollywood's version of the tough woman on my blog, and no matter what your stand is on the matter, I think it's important to be aware of the history and the issues at play when Hollywood and the comic book industry creates these superwomen.

Stuller's book serves as an excellent introduction to superwomen throughout entertainment's history, from Wonder Woman's early comic book days to television's relatively recent tough chicks, like Sydney Bristow and Dana Scully. Along with the useful history are a series of chapters about common issues in the portrayal of superwomen: redemption, collaboration, and compassion; superwomen and their fathers; and the maternal, filial, and mentoring relationships between women.

The idea of collaboration between women is of particular interest to me. Most of the male heroes we see are loners, but many of the women work within a team. Female superheroes are often members of teams, but you also have collaboration and female friendship featured prominently in some fandoms such as Xena and Buffy. I wrote about this in my Firefly paper: all four of the women of Serenity depend on each other as well as the male members of the crew as a family unit.
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Format: Paperback
Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology is about heroic women characters in modern media (1940's to today) and what their stories say about our society and most importantly how our society views the roles of women and their potential. The book is very accessible and easy to read, even if you aren't familiar with every movie, show, comic book, or novel which Stuller references. (There's an appendix filled with footnotes and notes on characters and the author's own recommended reading and viewing.) It's definitely a geeky book as Stuller is very excited to share with you, the reader, about the media and super-powered women she loves.

But at the same time, Stuller is very much an academic feminist, who chooses instead of harshly critiquing the flaws in the media she discusses to celebrate the strengths and the good points. This is not a bad view to have. It is just different than my own; and at many times in my reading, I wanted to say, "But!" (I can love Buffy: the Vampire Slayer without particularly loving Joss Whedon, for instance.) That said, I still enjoyed her viewpoint, and I do cherish many of the texts she discusses despite their flaws.

In Section I, Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors flows really nicely from one topic to the next, in both a chronological and evolutionary development of the woman hero. I absolutely agree that most of our modern superwoman mythology is thanks to Wonder Woman and those hard-working, ever iconic Rose the Riveters of WWII. Stuller does a great job at addressing the political climates of the different eras and the resulting heroines without passing judgments.

In Section II, Stuller covers what she calls the 'Journey of the Female Hero.
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Format: Paperback
Are you a feminist? Are you a genre-TV-and-movie geek? Do you ever ask yourself 'what would Buffy do'? Then you need to read this book. Stuller concentrates on TV and graphic novels for the most part, and it is /kind/ of depressing that almost every show in this book has been cancelled...and we're now innundated with gossip girls and pretty little liars who are most spectacularly lame in the superpower department.Still, relive the glory days of Buffy, Xena, Dark Angel et al and hope some new blood is inspired to make women super again.
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