Title: Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine
Author: Tim Hanley
Star Rating: * * * *
Genre: Pop culture analysis, Superhero
Thanks to NetGalley and Chicago Review Press who provided me with a free copy of this book in return for a fair review.
Background and Synopsis
Wonder Woman is a very hot topic at the moment due to the immense popularity of superhero movies, and the unfortunate absence of female leads in any of these films. For Marvel, the conversation has been focused on Black Widow, a character that has at least gotten screen time. For DC, the heroine at the heart of these discussions is Wonder Woman, one of their “holy trinity” of main properties. However, despite the fact that she is supposedly one of the central DC characters, Wonder Woman is often ignored in terms of merchandise and non-comic appearance opportunities. This has led to a situation where most people could probably talk about the histories of Batman and Superman, but are largely ignorant of Wonder Woman’s origins and basic story premises.
Hanley published Wonder Woman Unbound to try and clear up some of the confusion regarding this iconic character. He painstakingly details her history, from the golden age to today, talking about how her stories have been affected by different authors and varying time periods. To those who think Wonder Woman is too confusing a character, Hanley proves them wrong by presenting Wonder Woman as a hero who has undergone extensive changes like all the other major superheroes of DC and Marvel, but she has multiple histories and origins that can be drawn upon to make a cohesive, interesting, and empowering whole.
Title: New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity
Editors: Rosalind Gill and Christina Scharff
Star Rating: * * * ½
Genre: Gender/Feminist Studies
NOTE: A review copy of this book was provided by Palgrave Macmillan
New Femininities is a collection of essays discussing the difficult subject of shifting femininities through an intersectional lens. From conversations about obligatory pregnant beauty to the gendered challenges arising in the realm of technology and social media, this is a very broad set of writings trying to make sense of the different ways that femininity is expressed in our contemporary society. The authors come from a variety of backgrounds and talk about feminisms and femininities as they are lived all over the world. Using postfeminism, neoliberalism and subjectivity as interpretative lenses, this is a complex and nuanced addition to feminist literature.
Title: No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood
Editor: Henriette Mantel
Star Rating: * *
Genre: Memoir/Women’s Issues
No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood is a series of essays from women in the entertainment industry discussing their decisions not to have children. Some contributors are happy with this choice, while others are filled with regret. All of them have faced discrimination because of their childlessness and have had to come to terms with how their lives have been affected by this prejudice.
Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation is a sociological look at menstruation, particularly its treatment in advertising. The book addresses topics such as the medical history of menstruation (including hysteria and PMS), religious treatment of menstruation, a history of advertising on the subject, the issue of odour, cultural traditions surrounding menarche, menopause, and alternative contemporary approaches to menstruation. The writing is fairly simple and accessible, and the book is entertaining. Overall, it is an interesting and easy read on a subject that isn’t covered very often in non-fiction aimed at non-academics.