Fourth Wave Feminism In Science Fiction And Fantasy Volume 1: Essays On Film, 2012-2019 edited by Valerie Estelle Frankel (book review).

December 29, 2019 | By | Reply More

Looking at the book title, ‘Fourth Wave Feminism In Science Fiction And Fantasy’, you would have to ask what exactly is ‘Fourth Wave Feminism’? Actually, it is called the Bechdel Test. From their definition it is having more than one female lead and they must talk between themselves about any subject but the men and to avoid condemnation of sexism. Considering that there is tokenism between minority groups, you would have to ask should this be applied to them as well?

When they say film, they reference TV shows subjectively, although this is covered in a volume 2, released as a paperback later in 2020.

It is a shame that they confined themselves to the past 7 years. It isn’t as though films prior to then wouldn’t also pass the Bechdel Test. There is also a lot of focus on the film stories and little on the scriptwriters involved. It’s a shame really as we don’t have any idea of whether the scriptwriters are male or female, working to the constraints of the studio, director or succeeding with a spec script, let alone whether they are feminists or reacting to current society.

There’s also the matter of the writer’s feel in that no one has gone along a particular path lately so let’s try it with a different order of things to shake things up. All of these must surely have some reaction on the final material. Hollywood is notorious for following trends, whether they understand them or not.

Removing the aspect of only having one female lead character to a couple or more does a lot to change the dynamics but can also make tokens of other ethnicity within the group or unlikely combinations that are unlikely to match real life. Getting the balance of that right is never likely to be easy.

Although there is only a brief look at Janet Van Dyne, compared to her daughter, Hope, I would disagree about one point. The turning point for me of the original Wasp coming of age and not being a glitzy side-kick was back in Avengers # 26-27 when in 1968, after being captured by Attuma, and in nothing but a bathing suit shrunk and escaped to signal the team where they were.

There is only one section that addresses the creator’s role and that is towards the end of the book where Christian Jimenez looks at Patty Jenkins, the director of the recent ‘Wonder Woman’ (2017) movie and her original creator. The one thing that isn’t covered here by him or with the last article by Shoshana Kessock is that although Wakanda has a female army, there is little about the emancipation of men to only a couple as leadership roles which is quite the reverse.

Don’t think the shortness of this review is an indictment on the book. They do cover a lot of ground, but I ended up agreeing far more than disagreeing with the content from super-heroes to Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is covered.

GF Willmetts

December 2019

(pub: McFarland, 2019. 226 page indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: £43.50 (UK), $39.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-4766-776-8)

check out websites: and


Category: Culture, Movie books

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/40/d502808907/htdocs/clickandbuilds/sfcrowsnest/wp-content/themes/wp-davinciV4.6/single.php on line 65

About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Leave a Reply