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Valerie Estelle Frankel - Author

About the Author

Books by Valerie Estelle Frankel

Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 1. Essays on Film Representations, 2012-2019

Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 1. Essays on Film Representations, 2012-2019

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/10/2019

Fourth wave feminism has entered the national conversation and established a highly visible presence in popular media, especially in cutting-edge science fiction and fantasy films and television series. Wonder Woman, the Wasp, and Captain Marvel headline superhero films while Black Panther celebrates nonwestern power. Disney princesses value sisterhood over conventional marriage. This first of two companion volumes addresses cinema, exploring how, since 2012, such films as the Hunger Games trilogy, Mad Max: Fury Road, and recent Star Wars installments have showcased women of action. The true innovation is a product of the Internet age. Though the web has accelerated fan engagement to the point that progressivism and backlash happen simultaneously, new films increasingly emphasize diversity over toxic masculinity. They defy net trolls to provide stunning role models for viewers across the spectrum of age, gender, and nationality.

Fan Phenomena: Harry Potter

Fan Phenomena: Harry Potter

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/05/2019

Nineteen years later . . . Even as a new generation embraces the Harry Potter novels for the first time, J.K. Rowling's wizarding world continues to expand. Rowling herself has created a five-film spinoff, a two-part stage play, and an immersive online universe. The fictional sport of Quidditch now has a real-world counterpart, complete with an international governing body and a major league. Fans have adapted the series into role-playing games, crossover parodies, musicals, films, dances, art, and real, published fiction. There are new mobile games, toys, theme parks--even a complete line of Harry Potter-inspired home d cor from Pottery Barn. More than ten years have passed since the end of the series, and Potterheads still can't get enough. In this addition to Intellect's Fan Phenomena series, enthusiasts and scholars explore the culture of the fandom, its evolution, and how it managed to turn a boy wizard into the international icon we see splashed across lunchboxes, printed on t-shirts, and enshrined in tattoos. Harry Potter: Fan Phenomena is a journey--yes, a magical one--through one of the largest fanbases of all time and their efforts to ensure that The Boy Who Lived would live forever.

Star Wars Meets the Eras of Feminism Weighing All the Galaxy's Women Great and Small

Star Wars Meets the Eras of Feminism Weighing All the Galaxy's Women Great and Small

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/10/2018

Star Wars defined popular, big-screen science fiction. Still, what many viewers best recall is assertive, hilarious Leia, the diminutive princess with a giant blaster who had to save them all. As the 1977 film arrived, women were marching for equality and demanding equal pay, with few onscreen role models. Leia echoed their struggle and showed them what they could be. Two more films joined in, though by the early eighties, post-feminism was pushing back and shoving the tough heroine into her pornographic gold bikini. After a sixteen-year gap, the prequels catered to a far different audience. Queen Amidala's decoy power originates in how dominated she is by her massive royal gowns. This obsession with fashion but also costuming as a girly superpower fits well with the heroines of the time. The third wavers filled the screens with glamorous, mighty girls - strong but not too strong, like the idealistic teen Ahsoka of Clone Wars. However, space colonialism, abusive romance, and sacrifice left these characters a work in progress. Finally, the sequel era has introduced many more women to fill the galaxy: Rey, Jyn, Rose, Maz, Qi'ra, Val, L3-37, Captain Phasma, Admiral Holdo, and of course General Leia. Making women the central warriors and leaders while keeping them powerful and nonsexualized emphasizes that they can share in the franchise instead of supporting male Jedi. There's also more diversity, though it's still imperfect. Hera and Sabine on the spinoff cartoon Rebels and the many girls in the new franchise Forces of Destiny round out the era, along with toys, picture books, and other hallmarks of a new, more feminist fourth wave for the franchise.

The Women of Orphan Black Faces of the Feminist Spectrum

The Women of Orphan Black Faces of the Feminist Spectrum

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/05/2018

BBC's Orphan Black shattered conventions with one actress-Tatiana Maslany-playing a host of main characters. At the same time, it burst through the expectations of a crowd that anticipated male heroes and female victims. As the mighty heroines save one another and destroy the patriarchy, they're aided by supportive, gentle, even bumbling male love interests and friends. Even as the characters subvert gender expectations, they provide models that celebrate the many types of feminism through history and emerging today: Sarah, the punk feminist and protagonist, clashes with her foster-mother Siobhan, herself a veteran of radical feminism and literal combat. Housewife Alison begins as the quintessential post-feminist, while Krystal sports pink tops and high heels as a girl power icon. Cosima hails from Berkeley in her Birkenstocks and dreadlocks, the herald of second-wave lesbian feminism as she earns herself a science PhD. Beth has it all in the spirit of third-wave feminism, though her drug habits and relationship problems show the weakness of the era. M.K., hidden in her trailer yet ruling the internet as its hacker-queen, offers a new image as a fourth-wave feminist, conquering her disability through the new medium of the internet. At the same time, the science and ethics of cloning emphasizes the women's war against corporate power. Together with metafiction, allusions, symbolism, and deeper imagery, the show breaks all the barriers of gender as well as science fiction television.

Women in Doctor Who Damsels, Feminists and Monsters

Women in Doctor Who Damsels, Feminists and Monsters

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/01/2018

Over the past half-century Doctor Who has defined science fiction television. The women in the series-from orphans and heroic mothers to seductresses and clever teachers-flourish in their roles yet rarely surmount them. Some companions rescue the Doctor and charm viewers with their technical brilliance, while others only scream for rescue. The female villains are memorable, including the Rani, Cassandra and Missy. Covering all of the series-classic and new-along with Class, K9, Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures, novels, comics and Big Finish Audio adventures, this book examines the women archetypes in Doctor Who.

Superheroines and the Epic Journey Mythic Themes in Comics, Film and Television

Superheroines and the Epic Journey Mythic Themes in Comics, Film and Television

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/03/2017

The heroine's journey echoes through ancient legend, as each young woman combats her dark side and emerges stronger. Of course, this quest is also a staple of the most American of mythologies-comic books. With her fabled birth, Wonder Woman exemplifies a new female-centric creation story. After this, the lasso or Witchblade or totem necklace offers each superhero semidivine power. Batgirl, Batwoman, and Black Widow discover their great enemy is the dark mother or shadow twin-all the savagery they've rejected in themselves. On her new television show, Supergirl has a similar struggle but must also restore harmony with her closest bond of all-her sister. From Jessica Jones and Catwoman to the new superwomen of cutting-edge webcomics, each heroine must descend into the darkest place of all, not to become a warrior-hero but a savior. Thus women like Captain Marvel and Storm sacrifice all to join the ranks of true superheroes. At the same time, their earthshaking feminine powers and dazzling costumes spin the most ancient tales, offering the world an extraordinary new popular mythos.

Superheroines and the Epic Journey

Superheroines and the Epic Journey

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: eBook Release Date: 16/03/2017

The heroine's journey echoes throughout ancient legend. Each young woman combats her dark side and emerges stronger. This quest is also a staple of American comic books. Wonder Woman with semi-divine powers gives us a new female-centered creation story. Batgirl, Batwoman and Black Widow discover their enemy is the dark mother or shadow twin, with the savagery they've rejected in themselves. Supergirl similarly struggles but keeps harmony with her sister. From Jessica Jones and Catwoman to the new superwomen of cutting-edge webcomics, each heroine must go into the dark, to become not a warrior but a savior. Women like Captain Marvel and Storm sacrifice all to join the ranks of superheroes, while their feminine powers and dazzling costumes reflect the most ancient tales.

Outlander's Sassenachs Essays on Gender, Race, Orientation and the Other in the Novels and Television Series

Outlander's Sassenachs Essays on Gender, Race, Orientation and the Other in the Novels and Television Series

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/11/2016

Outlander, an epic time travel adventure with plenty of history and romance, has hit cable television. And unlike many other shows, this one seems designed particularly for the women. There's a spectacle of scantily dressed men (or rather one kilted man in particular), a female narrator, and fantastic period costumes. More interestingly, both show and books address many issues most series shy away from-breast feeding, abortion, birth control. Role reversals are common as powerful Claire rescues her virginal husband Jamie from sexual abuse. The villainous Black Jack Randall even displays his genitals onscreen in a spectacle for the heroine Jenny to laugh at. On a wider level, the story considers what it means to be a capable woman in the eighteenth century versus the twentieth as Claire explores different models of strength in the two times. Likewise, Jamie comes to understand the nuances of male honor, power, and alternative sexuality through the contrasting models of Black Jack and Lord John. While most characters are white early on, the books introduce the Cherokee and the slavery question with sympathy as Jamie and Claire struggle to improve the world. As the heroes encounter all the complications of a marriage, along with life in their wider community, they make discoveries about gender that resonate with all their fans here in the modern world.

Buffy and the Heroine's Journey

Buffy and the Heroine's Journey

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: eBook Release Date: 31/03/2016

The worlds of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and other modern epics feature the Chosen One-an adolescent boy who defeats the Dark Lord and battles the sorrows of the world. Television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer represents a different kind of epic-the heroine's journey, not the hero's. This provocative study explores how Buffy blends 1990s girl power and the path of the warrior woman with the oldest of mythic traditions. It chronicles her descent into death and subsequent return like the great goddesses of antiquity. As she sacrifices her life for the helpless, Buffy experiences the classic heroine's quest, ascending to protector and queen in this timeless metaphor for growing into adulthood.

The Comics of Joss Whedon Critical Essays

The Comics of Joss Whedon Critical Essays

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/06/2015

A great deal of scholarship has focused on Joss Whedon's television and film work, which includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers. But Whedon's work in the world of comics has largely been ignored. He created his own dystopian heroine, Fray, assembled the goofy fannish heroes of Sugarshock, and wrote arcs for Marvel's Astonishing X-Men and Runaways. Along with The Avengers, Whedon's contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe include script doctoring the first X-Men film, writing a ground-shaking Wonder Woman screenplay, and co-creating ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Today, Whedon continues the Buffy and Firefly stories with innovative comics that shatter the rules of storytelling and force his characters to grow through life-altering conflicts. This collection of new essays focuses on Whedon's comics work and its tie-ins with his film and television productions, emphasizing his auteurism in crossing over from panel to screen to panel. Essays focus on the comic inspirations and subversive tropes of the Whedonverse, as well as character changes and new interpretations.

The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander The Scottish Fairies, Folklore, Ballads, Magic and Meanings That Inspired the Series

The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander The Scottish Fairies, Folklore, Ballads, Magic and Meanings That Inspired the Series

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/04/2015

Outlander is much more than a television romance about a World War II nurse and a Jacobite soldier in a fetching kilt. The massive book series has been categorized as a period drama, adventure saga, military history, and fantasy epic. Further, those who look deeper will find an extraordinary amount of symbolism and mythology from around the world. Enter the world of myth behind Outlander, from the Fair Folk and the Loch Ness monster to the magic and lore of standing stones and the pagan Sun Feasts that control them. Reach into the original legends of culture hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the prophecy of the Brahan Seer that inspire parts of the saga. Discover the meaning behind popular Outlander symbols: heather and white roses, the dragonfly in amber, Claire's blue vase and shining wedding gown, her wedding ring and pearl necklace. Throughout Claire and Jaime's journey, they're surrounded by the literature and music of the time, which likewise offer a deeper significance. Claire quotes the English romantic poets of her childhood but also the anachronistic Robbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Later the characters encounter wendigos and ghosts, zombies and Vodou ritual, succubae, acupuncture and astrology, and much more. All in all, the Outlander, world has much more behind it for the discerning fan to discover.

Symbolism and Sources of Outlander

Symbolism and Sources of Outlander

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: eBook Release Date: 28/04/2015

Outlander is much more than a television romance about a World War II nurse and a Jacobite soldier in a fetching kilt. The series-and the massive serial novel on which it is based-has been categorized as a period drama, adventure saga, military history and fantasy epic. Inspired by the Irish legends of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the prophecies of Brahan Seer, the storyline is filled with mythology and symbolism from around the world, from the Fair Folk and the Loch Ness monster to wendigos, ghosts, zombies and succubae. Literary references abound, from the Bible to the classics, to Shakespeare and the English romantic poets. The series is also rich with its own symbolism: heather and white roses, the dragonfly in amber, Claire's blue vase and wedding gown, her wedding rings and pearl necklace. This book untangles the myriad of myths, legends, symbols and literary references found in the series.

Women in Game of Thrones Power, Conformity and Resistance

Women in Game of Thrones Power, Conformity and Resistance

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/04/2014

Game of Thrones is one of the hottest series on television. However, hundreds of critics are divided on how feminist the show really is. Certainly, the female characters, strong and weak, embody a spectrum of archetypes - widow queens, warrior women, damsels in distress, career women, priestesses, crones, mothers, and maidens. However, the problematic area is that most play a single role without nuance - even the strong women have little to do besides strut about as one-note characters. This book analyses the women and their portrayals one by one, along with their historical inspirations. Accompanying issues in television studies also appear, from the male gaze to depiction of race. How these characters are treated in the series and how they treat themselves becomes central, as many strip for the pleasure of men or are sacrificed as pawns. Some nude scenes or moments of male violence are fetishised and filmed to tantalise, while others show the women's trauma and attempt to identify with the scene's female perspective. The key is whether the characters break out of their traditional roles and become multifaceted.

Women in Game of Thrones

Women in Game of Thrones

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: eBook Release Date: 11/04/2014

Game of Thrones, one of the hottest series on television, leaves hundreds of critics divided on how "e;feminist"e; the show really is. Certainly the female characters, strong and weak, embody a variety of archetypes-widow queens, warrior women, damsels in distress, career women, priestesses, crones, mothers and maidens. However, the problem is that most of them play a single role without nuance-even the "e;strong women"e; have little to do besides strut about as one-note characters. This book analyzes the women and their portrayals one by one, along with their historical inspirations. Accompanying issues in television studies also appear, from the male gaze to depiction of race. How these characters are treated in the series and how they treat themselves becomes central, as many strip for the pleasure of men or are sacrificed as pawns. Some nude scenes or moments of male violence are fetishized and filmed to tantalize, while others show the women's trauma and attempt to identify with the scene's female perspective. The key is whether the characters break out of their traditional roles and become multidimensional.

Myths and Motifs of the Mortal Instruments

Myths and Motifs of the Mortal Instruments

Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/07/2013