Feminism conjures divisive and at times conflicting thoughts and feelings in the current political climate in the United States. For some, Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, for her devotion to truth, justice, and equality. In recent years, Wonder Woman has become successful in the film industry, and this is reflected by the growing community of cosplayers at comic book conventions. In this study, I examine gender performativity, gender identity, and feminism from the perspective of cosplayers of Wonder Woman. I collected ethnographic data using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with cosplayers at comic book conventions in Florida, Georgia, and Washington, about their experiences in their Wonder Woman costumes. I found that many cosplayers identified with Wonder Woman both in their own personalities and as a feminist icon, and many view Wonder Woman as a larger role model to all people, not just women and girls. The narratives in this study also show cosplay as a form of escapism. Finally, I found that Wonder Woman empowers cosplayers at the individual level but can be envisioned as a force at a wider social level. I conclude that Wonder Woman is an important and iconic figure for understanding the dynamics of culture in the United States. In the era of #MeToo and TimesUp, Wonder Woman is a character that defies normative boundaries of gendered expectations.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Grissom, Amber, "The Wonder Women: Understanding Feminism in Cosplay Performance" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6493.