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  • Emma Ford

Dissertation Draft

Where are the female heroes?

The lack of representation of female characters in major entertainment media./ The lack of representation of female characters in entertainment media such as comics, games and animations.

Note to tutors, this is still a very incomplete document. Although I plan to make the final piece into a magazine style submission, there are no illustrations or final layouts in this version as I want to get the text right first.

Some citations are also missing and will be added later


As a female artist with an interest in video games, comics books and animations, it is often difficult for me to find games and comics with believable and interesting female protagonists.

I have wanted to create a narrative around a female protagonist, but I am not a writer so the Master’s in Design Practice has allowed me to explore options that are more suited to my skill as an illustrator and artist. I know I can illustrate my world in a more fulfilling way trough visual media than I can through the written word.

When I began my Master’s Degree, my aim was to create a world and characters for a video game, however my particular skills lie in illustration and I quickly learned that making a game was far beyond my currently skillset and learning the skills I need to create a game that I would be happy with, will take much longer that the time I have available for the Masters. I decided instead to introduce people to my world and characters through the medium of a graphic novel. Much of the research and design in transferable between disciplines and many of the ways in which game designers and comic book designers approach narrative and viewpoint as also similar.

I have created a fantasy world, filled with a mixture of races with different cultures and beliefs. The graphic novel I will be presenting for the Final Show is just the beginning of a much larger narrative. The overall narrative will reflect of the female as a strong protagonist and examine relationships between characters, it will address racism within my fantasy world and reflect upon this as a real-world problem, it will touch upon the way we interact with the world, and how people have a negative impact on their environment, due to farming, mining and war. The overall project is much larger that I can manage withing the time constraints of the master’s degree, so I am focusing on a small section of my created world and the opening narrative that will introduce readers to the main protagonist and the larger world. The protagonist, Felisandariel is not just central to the narrative, the story is centred on her. She is the driving force of the story, she controls the narrative, and she changes the world around her.

My interest lies in the representation and objectification of characters within these entertainment media. Visual narrative follows common principles in comics, animations, and games. The viewpoint of the reader is often similar, following one character’s story from over their shoulder or from outside the screen or page. The viewer or reader nearly always sees the narrative unfold in the third person, as a spectator. I feel that there are strong links between games, animation, and comics, not only because overall they appeal to the same demographic but also because this demographic has certain expectations of female characters within the three genres.

Comic book and video game heroes are most often painted in broad stereotypes that reinforce age-old character troupes. Often the characters are over simplified and one dimensional in their character motivations, lacking deeper complexity and failing to push the boundaries of gender expectations.

Comics, graphic novels, games, and animations are significant cultural artifacts that provide us with insight into our historical and contemporary identity. They shape the way in which we see ourselves and imagine the world around us. While animation studios like Studio Ghibli are at the forefront of creating films with strong female leads, and have been for many years, comics and games are falling behind. Creators and publishers behind main stream comics and games are still reluctant to release big titles with female leads.

Studio Ghibli is perhaps the most well-known Japanese animation studio. The studio has produced twenty-three world class films and have an impeccable record when it comes to casting female leads. Most of their films have a strong female character who drives the story. Studio Ghibli takes strong female characters and places them squarely at the centre of the film. Japanese culture is considered to be massively over-sexualised, and teenage girls are often sexualised beyond imagination within anime, but Studio Ghibli consistently creates films with strong female leads that are not sexualised and are consistently applauded for doing so. This is due to the way that the studio portrays the humanity of its characters in innovative ways.

"I've become sceptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue," says Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli’s semi-retired animator in chief. "Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live – if I'm able to, then perhaps I'll be closer to portraying a true expression of love."

While there is generally less academically written about video games, social constructions such as expectations of gender, race and power are all evident in comic books and scholarly texts relating to the genre. Comic book characters are fictional personifications of these desired traits and serve to introduce young boys and girls to their “appropriate” gender roles. They indoctrinate readers with societal expectations of what men and women should be, and should look like in order to be considered “good” or “desirable.” Mass media plays a huge cultural role in shaping our ideas of femininity and masculinity.

Animation is well ahead of comics and games when it comes to finding the female narrative and creating well rounded, believable, and inspiring female characters. Animation studios like Studio Ghibli have proved that it is possible to enforce positive female narratives and be successful in doing so, why is it then that video games and comic books have fallen so far behind?

People watch animations, read comic books, and play games as a means of escapism. Are sexualised characters simply part of that expectation?

Is our perception of beauty and femininity in comic books, video games and films skewed by society’s expectations? People objectify others and make assumptions and judgements based on their appearances because society is bombarded with images and statements about what we should look like and what we should find attractive. Does this mean that consumers of comic books and video games base their ideas of what women should be like on their own fantasies of beauty? Do female characters look the way that they do to appeal to theses fantasies? Does this mean that strong female characters, wearing sensible clothing are too far removed from the fantasy of consumers and therefore will not be accepted?

“Superheroes confined within the pages of comic books and graphic novels, provide fascinating contributions to material culture. They serve as fictional actors that impart us with important social values and commentary. Comics also act as industrial sounding boards from which the culture apparatus can propagate messages of worth, importance and value. Telling the consumers what and whom to value, the comic book industry creates societal ideals. Manipulating ideology by means of material culture, comic writers design the characters that we champion, desire, or wish to emulate.” [1]

Women in Games

I have specifically chosen a female protagonist because I believe this is an important issue, not just in the video game industry, but also in the greater community. So much of what we do and the way we behave is influenced by social media and wider media pressure: video game consumers are still somewhat shunned and considered nerds by the wider population.

But does it really matter whether a character is male or female? Perhaps the sex or gender of a character isn’t important at all and players do not purchase games on this basis.

It is more likely that consumers make pre-purchase considerations based on a character’s likeability, rather than similarities in physical attributes between themselves and the character. It could be argued that the less apparent attributes such as psyche, desires and abilities or goals of the character are more important to a player due to the unique merging of player and character identities that occur when playing video games. [2]

Perhaps publishers and developers and entertainment media are getting hung up on an issue that doesn’t seem to affect the consumer. Perhaps I’m getting hung up on the same misconception. I have to admit that I do enjoy playing games where I can create a female character, but when a story is compelling and a character is well written and relatable; the game is no less enjoyable when that character is male.

The gaming industry is primarily composed of male employees and video game culture has proven to be hostile towards women and other minorities. The lack of female employees within the industry may be contributing to the lack of female representation in the games, since there is a lack of advocacy for strong female protagonists. The assumption however that video game culture is predominantly a male space is incorrect.

Video games do not include female characters in proportions representative of the world population. An analysis of 60 top selling games found that male characters appeared four times more frequently than female characters. The female characters that were presented tend to play secondary roles. [3]

Traditionally, it is suggested that playing video games is viewed as a male activity, but a report published in 2016 by the Entertainment Software Association suggests that over 40% of players of players are women. The same study found that the average age of consumers playing video games is 35, demonstrating that playing video games is no longer simply a childhood past time. The numbers of female players does however, fluctuate significantly when considering the genre, for example, women tend to play role-playing games most frequently.

A study by Williams, Yee and Caplan in 2008 for the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication found that female gamers put in more hours per week than their male counterparts on online games. Although female players still make up a minority of gamers, understanding how player gender is perceived in the game environment has important consequences for understanding the complex social interactions in the game world.

· Developers

Despite the growing number of consumers being female, there is still a significant gap in representation of women in the creative side of the industry. Women are often the target of harassment and negativity within the industry.

In 2017 TIGA the gaming industry trade body reported that just 14% of people working in the UK games industry are women (the ratio is more or less the same in the US). The Guardian Newspaper’s article “The Gaming Industry had a Diversity Problem – But it Can be Fixed.” stated that “The current games industry represents a vicious circle of under-representation that is familiar across the whole of tech: the less that young women and people of colour see themselves represented in the sector, the less they’re likely to apply for jobs. “Society doesn’t see technical women enough so it’s assumed that they don’t exist and ‘technology isn’t something women do’,” says Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of Stemettes, a group offering free Stem workshops and events for young women. “These attitudes and social norms permeate decisions made at all levels so women aren’t hired, promoted or given positions of responsibility and the cycle continues.” [4]

In 2014 a harassment campaign on Twitter targeted several women in the video game industry. The campaign used the hashtag #GamerGate and began after the former boyfriend of Zoe Quinn and video game creator, wrote a disparaging blog post about her. #gamergate users began a harassment campaign against that any female in the gaming industrytrying to take a stand against harassment that included doxing, threats of rape and death threats. [5]

The video game industry is already a competitive one - artist jobs in London that I have looked at online are only offering the national minimum wage, which is far lower than other careers based in London. Social Media harassment campaigns like Gamergate are further reducing the incentive for women to become involved in any aspect of the industry. It also makes industry leaders less likely to hire women, due to the negative press that these campaigns draw.

· Publishers

When video games first became an entertainment format, they were initially developed to appeal to a broad audience. However, after the video game market crash of 1983, new console developers targeted specific demographics in order to minimize risk. From 1990 onwards advertising for games shifted to primarily target young boys and teenagers, this lead to the self-fulfilling process wherein games were made and marketed to appeal to this audience who in turn purchased the games and continue to influence future design and marketing. The perception persists that games are for young heterosexual male players and that games centred on a female protagonist will not sell as well.

In 2013 Dontnod Entertainment released their game Remember Me – an action adventure game with a female lead. Despite the game reviewing well after release and becoming popular with consumers, the game’s Director, Jean-Maxime Moris reported that Dontnod Entertainment experienced difficulty in finding a willing publisher for the game. “We had some [potential publishers] that said ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You cannot have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that’…” [2]

This assumption that male players prefer male characters may be contributing to the lack of female protagonists in games, but they are also failing to take into account that almost half of the consumers are female.

Negative Press around Women in games

My research into the lack of female representation in video games led me to the article ‘The Virtual Violence Against Women Scale (VVAWS): A Measure of Player’s experiences of Violence Against Women in Video Games.’ The article claims that the researchers performed paid surveys and only sampled 115 people, which is lacking in verisimilitude: it is not a fair representation of video game players in general. In the USA alone in 2018, 164 million adults played video games and ¾ of all Americans have at least one gamer in their household. (ESA) Video games are a leading form of entertainment, so the miniscule percentage of 0.00007% that the study questioned is laughable. It forces me to question the reliability of the study because they can’t possibly say that video games lead to real world violence when the study doesn’t even account for 1% of the gaming community.

Further-more the list of violent acts that participants were asked about is specific to female characters, with no mention of male characters. In online games there is opportunity to commit these “violent” acts against both male and female characters equally. Therefore the numbers are skewed because the article focuses solely on violence against females and did not question whether participants have committed the same violent acts against male characters.

Articles like this are potentially damaging to the desire to put female characters at the forefront of violent video games because they demonise violence against women in games specifically. They colour the media representation of video game culture and give video games a negative image which only serves to increase the representation gap because it will put publishers off making female protagonists.

Exposure to over-sexualised females characters in games

Not unlike other main stream entertainment media, video games offer a limited range of roles for female characters. “Overall research suggests that when female characters appear in games they often serve as victims or prizes and occupy stereotypical gender roles such as brazenly sexualised beings or objects of sexual desire”

The Effects of Sexualisation of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept” claims that female sexuality is often accentuated by highly revealing clothing, and although this has been the case for many years in video games, we are seeing a shift in the way female characters are portrayed. While these females do not often take lead roles, the characterisation of women in games is focusing less on scantily clad beings and more on women wearing practical clothing and armour.

Games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Control are two that place a women at the centre of the action, these women are not sexualised or considered prizes and are depicted as strong independent, intelligent people. They are a clear step in the right direction towards advocating for more lead female roles.

Real Feelings for Virtual Characters

“Real feelings for Virtual People: Emotional Attachments and Interpersonal Attraction in Video Games” states that an understanding of what makes a character believable and likeable or dislikeable is an important topic for both researchers and designers.

Games developers are very interested in what it is about characters that makes players respond to them and develop an emotional attachment to them, whether this is love, hate, envy or tolerance. Understanding the factors which determine how a player will respond to a character, will assist in the development of more effective, believable and entertaining virtual characters.

Women in Comics and Graphic Novels

“A Man never thinks he should feel uncomfortable in a comic book shop because he’s never been given a reason to feel uncomfortable, while on TV a popular joke is a woman walks into a comic shop, cue laugh track. We’ve been raised to believe that certain things are for girls and certain things are for boys, so when we cross over that invisible divide, there’s a sense that you shouldn’t belong. That’s an important thing to understand and be aware of.” Sam Gaitan [6]

The comic book industry is historically a very male dominated one, which capitalizes on the male and female stereotypes that the male characters are the protectors and female characters are dependent on men.

According to Jacqueline Danziger-Russell in her paper Girls and Their Comics:

“There is an abundance of comic with pages filled with stereotypes: women who can’t live without a man and women who give up their careers, their ambition, their independence to be by his side.” [3]

The portrayal of women in comic books has been an issue for as long as comic books have been a source of entertainment media. There have been many articles written on the topic. There is a gap in female representation in the industry and most creators and characters are male.

“The percentage of both characters published and creators involved in overwhelming male. And when you add in events like Tess Fowler accusing Brian Wood of sexual harassment it doesn’t exactly paint a welcoming picture of women in the industry.” [4]

“To say that the comic book industry has a slight gender skew is like saying Superman is Kind of strong. Comic books – much like the the film industry they now fuel – vastly under-represent women. The people who write comic books, particularly for major publishers, are overwhelmingly men. The artists who draw them are, too. The characters within them are disproportionately men, as are the new characters introduced each year.” [5]

Women are however, both consumers and creators of comic books and graphic novels, and always have been, regardless of whether the target audience is male, and comic convention attendance is practically split evenly between men and women. This could be evidence that the audience is broader than the industry has long believed, or that its efforts to appeal to new and more diverse readers are working. New readers, who may have been intimidated by the traditional comic book shop, can now find comics online, and digital sales are booming.[5]

In Peter Haines book ‘The Penny Dreadful Or, Strange, Horrid and Sensational Tales!’ There is an engraving depicting a gruesome scene of cannibalism illustrating the story of Sawney Beane, an influence on the creation of the famous Sweeney Todd Character. The caption exclaims “The Terrific Register published in 1825 was one of the very first Penny Dreadfuls. The bloodthirsty engraving was the work of a woman, Mary Byfield!”[6]

This is proof that women not only read Penny Dreadfuls - often considered the predecessors to modern comic books in Britain - but also that they had a hand in creating them.

“There is a noteworthy contradiction between what girls actually read, the prohibitive rhetoric which laid down what they ought and ought not be reading, and what is in fact tacitly accepted that girls read.” [7]

These charts from the article ‘Comic Books are Still Made by Men for Men and About Men’ by Walt Hickey:


show that while the major comic book creators are introducing new female characters, the growth is slow and still not close to parity with their male counterparts.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941 in Sensation Comics, and was the first female comic book character and super hero designed to be a role model for female readers, and the ultimate representation of womanhood.

She was devised by William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Holloway Marston, who had some radical ideas for the time about gender, sexuality, and feminism. Elizabeth Holloway Marston was a career woman and mother in a time when women were expected to give up work and look after their families once they were married.

In 1942 Wonder Woman was given her own comic book series, and has become an enduring symbol of feminism and strength, and a staple figure in the DC Comics Universe. According to pop culture historian Jill Lepore, “Marston liked to say that Wonder Woman was meant to be “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” [8]

In his article for The American Scholar in 1943, Marston lamented that:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good, beautiful woman.” [9]

Wonder Woman is portrayed as a strong, capable hero, but her female empowerment since her creation has been mostly devised and delivered by a male dominated industry and must still conform to their expectations and act and perform in socially appropriate ways. Her figure, gender and sexuality are constantly scrutinized.

The Wonder Woman franchise has faced a lot of controversy over the years, due to her ever changing and hyper-sexualised style. This has been brought into mainstream entertainment media and society in general due to the blockbuster films that feature this character. When the titular character was brought to the big screen in 2017, Warner Brothers were praised for having a female director, but there was also debate as to whether a summer blockbuster could be profitable without a leading male protagonist. However Patty Jenkins’ directorial take on Wonder Woman went on to be the most profitable super hero movie of 2017, and was both critically and commercially acclaimed.

“It should come as no surprise in these increasingly fractious times that the first female-fronted superhero movie in 12 years is being met with a fair share of controversy. Wonder Woman, the latest instalment in the embattled Justice League franchise, may have scored glowing advance reviews, but the politicized debate over a handful of women-only screenings of the film has ensured that, like the all-female Ghostbusters before her, Wonder Woman will have to fight bad guys while also juggling a considerable amount of cultural baggage. And like 2016’s Ghostbusters, the box-office receipts for Wonder Woman will carry an extra significance that will surely inform the ongoing debate over whether a summer blockbuster can be profitable without a man in the leading role.” Joanna Robinson for Vanity Fair - Why Wonder Woman Faces an Unexpected Ban.

Justice League was released in the same year, and was shrouded in controversy due to the costumes of the Amazons. This controversy came about because Wonder Woman was directed by a woman, but Justice League was directed by a man. Although the costumes were actually meant to show the evolution of the Amazons as a race – the shots including the Amazons in the Justice League were set thousands of years previous to the Wonder Woman film, the director, Zack Snyder was blamed for sexualising the women.

The truth is that there are scenes in Wonder Woman that portray the Amazons entirely nude, or draped in translucent gowns, and some of their armour does leave torsos bare. Only some of the Amazons in Justice League are actually wearing less armoured costumes, there are plenty of costumes similar to Wonder Woman’s that cover more of the body. The way in which the Amazons are presented are very similar to Zack Snyder’s 300. The costumes are designed to show the super human nature of both the Spartans in 300 and the Amazons in Wonder Woman’s universe, these are extreme demonstrations of strength and power, portrayed by prominent arms and abdominal muscles. None of these designs are meant to gaze at the characters with a sexualised eye.

“There’s a difference between sexy power and sexualised power - you don’t need a bare midriff to be sexy,” she says. “Women can be powerful without being sexualised.” Melissa Silverstein, founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood.


I designed the character for my project based on my research around video game character creation. I believe that this research and the outcome is relevant to comic books as well as games, since as I have mentioned previously, there are strong links between games and comic books. It is still important that my work celebrates female heroes and reviews the feminine narrative. As a female creator who has designed a female protagonist I can reflect the real world problems of women in these industries within a fantasy setting.

Felisandariel is the protagonist in my graphic novel. I still feel that the principles that informed her conception are important in a fantasy graphic novel. Female characters are usually supporting characters and are often hyper-sexualised: with exaggerated features and skimpy clothing. Felisandariel is designed to break the female character stereotype. She is normally proportioned and lacks the huge anime eyes and enlarged assets that most female comic book characters possess, and she wears sensible, practical clothing.

Most leading characters in this genre are male warriors, very much cut from the same cloth as Aragorn or Faramir from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. His works of literature were so impactful on the fantasy narratives that followed him, that the races he created are the defining fantasy expectation, regardless of the form of entertainment media. Books, Films and Games all conform to the Tolkienesque view of elves, dwarves, and orcs. There is rarely a fantasy narrative that diverges from this, and those that do are usually obscure.

While Felisandariel breaks with the graphic novel hero trope, as in she is not a male warrior, nor is she a scantily clad female, she still needs to conform with the expectations of readers of fantasy literature. As such she has pointed ears, a slender figure and is generally more beautiful that the humans of the created world, with a longer lifespan. To make her race different to the conventional elves of Tolkien and his likes, would have made my work too abstract and may have detracted from the point of the art I am creating and the point I wish to convey.

I dislike the term “Strong Female Character,” all women are strong in their own way. When the idea of Felisandariel was first conceived, I knew that she was going to be a strong woman. She has dealt with a lot in her life, and her survival serves as testament to it.

Felisandariel is meant to be a “strong female character”, with sensible clothing and practical armour, but that does not mean that she can’t also be feminine. Women can have relationships without being sexually involved. There are plenty of male and female characters that Felisandariel will form relationships with, however, strong women also don’t need to hate men, Felisandariel isn’t meant to be subservient to men, but she must also be realistic, therefore she can love men, she can have fears and flaws. The point is to create a realistic and believable character, and human nature is very complex. A strong woman should not be one dimensional.

“It’s not enough to populate a story with characters because you are supposed to. It’s not enough to heedlessly scatter characters throughout the game like chicken feed in the barnyard mud because we need an adversary at that moment, a merchant here, a puzzle giver there. Characters in games must be more than clones of Vanna White, magically revealing those letters in ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ Characters have a right to their own lives in a game. And giving them that right – granting them purpose beyond the writer’s convenience – in fact makes it easier for us to tell our stories.”

Lee Sheldon – Character Development and Storytelling for Games

I wrestled with the decision about showing signs of violence and abuse on a female character. Negative press about females characters in video games and violence against these characters made me consider whether I should show Felisandariel as a beaten and bloody character, however, when I sat and thought about it, I realised that I did not struggle with the decision when it came to the male characters. If a character has been fighting, or course they are going to be injured, and those injuries manifest as cuts and bruises, regardless of gender. My procrastination was brought about by media exposure to women in entertainment media. It is less likely that we will see female characters that are battered and bruised, in comparison to their male counterparts, and this, I believe is wrong. If a woman is a fighter or has been attacked or abused, then the marks are going to show. To make Felisandariel truly believable and relatable, she should have injuries from fights.


Male characters can be drawn humorously, with embellishments such as huge feet and big noses, but female characters should always have small feet, hand and waists. Female characters should always be attractive.

Paige Braddock writes, in her article Women in Comics that she created a comic called Jane’s World.

“In the first collection of the strip into book form, I wrote in the introduction that Jane was goofy, self-absorbed and basically just another B-cup gal trying to figure life out.”

She goes on to say that she showed Jane’s World to a newspaper editor who told her that he was not going to run it because it was not gender specific enough. She is a woman drawing a comic about a woman. How much more gender specific can you get? But her editor was actually saying that female characters in newspaper comics have to worry about dishes, dating and dieting, because that is what male newspaper editors think women worry about. Until there are more of us telling a different side of the story comic pages will always be dominated by the old boy’s club.

“For the love of all that is good and just in the world, can we just get some of these girls a decent pair of pants? Short skirts and chainmail bikinis may be attractive, but it’s hard to fight crime when you are worried about someone sneaking a peek.” Comics and the Gender Gap by Greg DeVries

“I’m not saying heroines can’t be attractive, far from it. But at least give them something appropriate and functional to wear. Like Carol Danvers, Kate Kane or Velvet Temptation. Functional, and appropriate to their tasks. Batman needs his belt right? Same thing for female heroes.” Comics and the Gender Gap by Greg DeVries

Works Cited


T. L. Crawshaw, “Truth, Justice and Boobs? Analyzing Female Empowerment and Objectification in the Graphic Novel Genre,” Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2015.


T. M. D. Michael D Hanus, “The Faulty Assumption That Male Players Prefer Male Characters:How Desirability and Likeability Influence Video Game Purchase Intentions and Enjoyment,” vol. 8, no. 4, 2019.


Entertainment Software Association, “Essential facts about the computer and video game industry,” 2016.


“The Video Game Industry has a Diversity Problem - But it Can be Fixed,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 April 2020].


Headstuff, “Gamergate - The Ugly Side of an Industry Built on Fun,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 April 2020].


J. Rhode, “The Comic Industry's Struggle for Gender Diversity Will Always Be a MAze,” Paste Media Group, 11 August 2017. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 April 2021].


J. Danziger-Russell, “Girls and Their Comics: Finding a Female Voice in Comic Book Narrative,” The Scarecrow Press Inc, Lanham, 2013.


K. Reynolds, Girls Only? Gender and Populare Children's fiction in Britain, 1880-1910, New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990, pp. 92-93.


J. Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2014.


P. Williams and J. Lyons, The Rise of the American Comics Artist, Oxford MS: University Press of MIssissippi, 2010.


P. Haines, The Penny Dreadful Or, Strange, Horrid and Sensational Tales!, London: Victor Gollancz, 1976.


W. Hickey, “‘Comic Books are Still Made by Men for Men and About Men,” ABC News Internet Ventures, 13 October 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed April 2021].


G. DeVries, “Comics and the Gender Gap,” The Game Fanatics, 10 December 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed April 2021].


Rachel Gannon & Mireille Fauchon [Book] Illustration Research Methods, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London (2021)

Soraya Murray [Book] On Video Games: The Politics of Race, Gender and Space, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London (2021)

Matthew Wysocki & Evan W. Lauteria [Book] Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Video Games, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London (2015)

Lee Sheldon [Book] Character Development and Story Telling for Video Games, Thomson Course Technology (2004)

Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz & Dana Mastro [Paper] The effects of the Sexualization of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept, Springer Science and Business Media (2009)

Michael D Hanus & Ted M Dickinson [Journal Article] The Faulty Assumption That Male Players Prefer Male Characters: How Desirability and Likeability Influence Video Game Purchase Intentions and Enjoyment, American Psychology Association: Volume 8 (2019)

Laura Mulvey [Journal Article] Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, Screen Volume 16, Issue 3, Pages 6-18 (1975)

Mark Coulson, Jane Barnett, Christopher J. Ferguson & Rebecca L. Gould [Online Publication] Real Feelings for Virtual People: Emotional Attachments and Interpersonal Attraction in Video Games, APA PsycArticles: Online Article (2012)

Joanna Robinson [Website] Why Wonder Woman Faces an Unexpected Ban, Vanity Fair, (30 May 2017, Accessed: 23 March 2021)

Devan Cogan, [Website] The Evolution of Wonder Woman’s Look, Entertainment Weekly, (02 June 2017, Accessed 23 March 2012)

Mark Hughes [Website] Controversy Over ‘Justice League’ Costumes Ignores Facts on Both Sides, Forbes, (13 November 2017, Accessed: 23 March 2021)

Emma Saunders & Ian Youngs [Website] Justice League: Laying bare the row over ‘skimpy’ costumes, BBC News, (15 November 2017, Accessed: 23 March 2021)

Ronak Parmar [Website] The Powerful female leads in Studio Ghibli Movies, (11 April 2020, Accessed: 4 Jul 2021)

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