Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Carol Mejia-laperle (Committee Member), Crystal Lake (Committee Member), Kelli Zaytoun (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


DC Comics has existed through the first, second, and third waves of feminism, publishing popular female characters who appeal to a mass market. By focusing on depictions of Batwoman and Catwoman, this paper examines the contrast between the social and political progress forms of feminism promised for women and the increasingly violent treatment of female characters in DC Comics, focusing on Batwoman and Catwoman. M. Thomas Inge maintains that male "comic book heroes [...] tend to fit most of the classic patterns of heroism in Western culture" (142). These heroes are designated by their completion of quests or missions, their victory in combat, and their self-improvement through these aggressive acts. However the heroines are denied many of the successful quests and missions that are a common motif for their male counterparts. Heroines' actions are often reactionary, not active. Moreover, comic heroines tend to fall into certain non-heroic normative archetypes: the domesticated woman (or woman seeking domestication), the transgressive temptress that must be punished (or domesticated), or the moral woman who woos the hero away from the dark side (and joins him in domestic bliss). Following Catwoman from 1940 and Batwoman from 1956, this paper examines the disparity between the rights women gained through feminist movements and the increasing commoditization, fetishization, and torture of females within comic books.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of English Language and Literatures

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.