To the Max: embodying intersections in Dark Angel

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Dark Angel is often classed with other television shows featuring female action heroes (such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias) but I argue that it exhibits a more than usual emphasis on the body of its female protagonist and that this is integral to its use of science fiction and other genres to mediate a politicised postfeminist representation of gender. The science fiction genre, it is often argued, arises directly out of Gothic fictions such as Frankenstein, and in Dark Angel the protagonist, Max, is a post-modern Frankenstein's monster, blurring boundaries between human and monster, subject and object: her apparently human body is the site of (racialised, gendered and monstrous) Otherness. Intersections between science fiction and other genres, between traditional notions of "masculine" and "feminine" gendering, and between the personal and the political are all apparent in Dark Angel and this paper explores the show's use of genre, its negotiation of gender (including romance and sexuality), and the shift from personal to larger political concerns. While many elements of the show might be common to other recent television shows, more unusually, Dark Angel situates its postfeminism in a wider social context by contrasting political activism with a bureaucratic/capitalist system encompassing science/the military, joining personal and social history in (the body of) Max
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalReconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


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