Diana in the World of Men: a character network approach to analysing gendered vocal representation in Wonder Woman

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As a big-budget action film both directed by and starring a woman, Wonder Woman is unusual given the well-documented under-representation of women in Hollywood both in front of and behind the camera. Strong claims have been made about Wonder Woman in the critical reception, with Diana, the film’s hero, being hailed as an empowered, independent leader. While there is a lot of literature on the visual aspects of gendered representation, there is a lack of research focusing on gender disparities in film dialogue despite a history of feminist theoretical work on the suppression of the female voice in Hollywood cinema. In this article, I present an approach which allows for the empirical analysis of gendered dialogue in film. I use the methods of social network analysis to develop a character networks approach to analysing vocal representation in Wonder Woman and compare the results with two other recent films: Thor (2011), and The Hunger Games (2012). I argue that the findings show the ways in which Diana’s narrative power is contained within her relationship with her male sidekick and call for a reconsideration of what it means for a film to be “female-led.”

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Early online date27 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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