Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Marlin C. Bates

First Committee Member

Teresa Bergman

Second Committee Member

Qingwen Dong


This project investigates the loss of power on screen for female comic book characters. Specifically, I investigate how scenes create narratives using heteronormativity and over-sexualization of female characters. The artifact of analysis included in this project is Batman and Robin (1997). This text focuses on Poison Ivy, including the background of the character before dissecting her role in the film. Turning to Sonja J. Foss (2009) and her feminist critique as a guide to understanding the implications of this research. Using feminist criticism, I argue that Poison Ivy was put in a lesser position, removed of her power, and was made dependent on men more than she is in comics. Poison Ivy was created from the feminist movement, and Batman and Robin (1997) create tension between the comic book representation and the expectation of gender. Superheroes have skyrocketed in popularity over the past fifteen years, and their narratives are extending to individuals that are not necessarily comic readers. This cultural significance of superheroes suggests that comic books and therefore their characters appeal to a wide audience who has the potential to be influenced, even implicitly, by these messages.