Kicking Ass is Comfort Food: Television and the Feminist Heroick Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Brown, Lena
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Kicking Ass is Comfort Food investigates the fraught intersection between television and feminism. The dissertation takes an interdisciplinary, trans-temporal, genre-bending approach to its subject. Kicking Ass is Comfort Food fully embraces television culture by incorporating contemporary popular-culture critics, such as Maureen Ryan and Jace Lacob, as well as actresses (and actors), writers, and creators, such as Joss Whedon. To implement its aims, Kicking Ass is Comfort Food employs a revived keyword: heroick. Rather than insisting on a univocal, uncomplicated definition of what makes a woman (or man) heroick, Kicking Ass is Comfort Food embraces a multivalent group of characters who all exemplify heroick womanhood (and masculinity). This dissertation includes a wide-range of television series and their heroines (and heroes): Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife; Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones); Emma Swan and her parents Prince Charming and Snow White (Once Upon a Time); Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica); Echo and Sierra (Dollhouse); and Frederick Lyon (The Hour) are all characters who play a substantial role within the dissertation. The title, Kicking Ass is Comfort Food is a direct quotation from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Buffy, both text and heroine, serving as the critical foundation. Along with Buffy, Maureen Ryan, a television critic; Jane Espenson, television writer and creator; Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey); Caroline Sheridan Norton (English Laws for Women); and Virginia Woolf (Three Guineas, A Room of One's Own, and "Professions for Women") star as integral critical voices and help define heroineism (and heroism). While by no means comprehensive, Kicking Ass is Comfort Food empowers its audience to re-see what makes a woman (or man) heroick.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Taylor, Todd
  • Anderson, Daniel
  • Marr, Timothy
  • Thompson, James
  • Salvaggio, Ruth
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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