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"This Woman, This Warrior": Comics & Women's Liberation

February 7, 2023 | 7pm - 9pm

"This Woman, This Warrior": Comics and Women's Liberation


"This Woman, This Warrior": Comics and Women's Liberation
At the Intersection of Commerce and Culture
with Susan Kirtley, PhD, author, Professor of English and the Director of Comic Studies at Portland State University.

Feb 7, 7-9PM | Doors @ 6PM | Advance tickets recommended; $5 suggested donation

In 1977 a comic was launched with the tagline, “This female fights back!” We can’t disclose who the character is, but you would recognize her from her blue and red outfit and oversized fists. Indeed, this character punched her way past a cavalcade of villains, but did so while struggling not to gain weight and keeping her day job as a magazine editor. This character was identified as “This Woman, This Warrior” in the first issue of her solo series, and her story arc offers a complicated response to second-wave feminism in the mainstream media, particularly as she was written by male creators who, based on interviews and letter columns, seemed unfamiliar with key tenets of feminism and were more beholden to publication demands than egalitarian beliefs. In fact, she was created at the uneasy intersection of commerce and cultural reform, designed to sell comics by appealing to a mainstream version of women’s liberation and furthermore, to sell a version of feminism through a character appealing to a wide audience. Thus, in these early issues, the character performs as a self-identified feminist hero who frequently undermines feminist—and heroic—ideals. This presentation will examine the evolution of this hero, beginning as a secondary character and love interest for another hero before taking control of her own title and destiny and being marketed as the second-wave feminist who “fights back” and champions Women’s Liberation.

Susan Kirtley is a Professor of English and the Director of Comics Studies at Portland State University. She is the author of the Eisner-winning Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass (2013), and co-editor of With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Comics (2020). Her book, Typical Girls: The Rhetoric of Womanhood in Comic Strips was the 2022 Charles Hatfield Prizewinner for the best book in Comics Studies. She is currently an Associate Editor of Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society.

Zoom Option
If you are unable to join us in person, you can watch on zoom. You must register in advance using this link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Questions? Email sciencepub@omsi.edu
Ticketing questions call 503.797.4000 x0

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We have answers! Explore frequently asked questions. For more information please contact us at sciencepub@OMSI.edu or (503) 797-4000.

Is a Zoom option available?

If you are unable to join us in person, you can watch on zoom. You must register in advance via the link above. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Are there any COVID-19 guidelines or recommendations?

Masks are optional but highly recommended for all guests.

There is an air filtration system in the theater.

Are tickets required?

Science Pub at OMSI’s Empirical Theater is a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, purchase your ticket online. Please show your ticket at the check-in table in front of the theater upon arrival.

We will always have tickets available at the door. They are first-come, first-served and admission will remain a suggested donation.

Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 6PM.

Will food be available for purchase?

The Empirical Café has sandwiches, salads, movie snacks and more. Food and drink are welcome in the theater.

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