Banerjee, Supriya: "The Superwoman of India—A Feminist Analysis of the Devi and the Deviant." In: Gnosis Special Issue 3 (2019), S. 141–154.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Banerjee2019a
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Keywords: "Devi", Gender, India, Superhero
Collection: Gnosis Special Issue
The paper proposes to explore the representation of the Indian superwoman Devi in the graphic novel series Devi produced in the year 2006-2008 by Virgin Comics. Located within the framework of recent developments in the social, economic and political areas in India, the Devi embodies the idea of “perfectness” within changing hegemonic assumptions and power centers of India. The framework of the research paper is approached by its foci on difference, deconstruction and decentering as its theoretical framework. The dualistic thinking in the representation of the Devi affirms to binaries that merely reproduces dominant discourses and regulatory power. The new generation of graphic novels internalizes “difference” in order to create a homogenous metanarrative and in doing so ultimately robs women of their individual agency. The plot of the primary texts are mainly located in their two functions. The male heroes in the graphic novels interact with a schematic order which is set in advance. In recasting the Devi from an ordinary woman, the plot centers around either purging or domesticating the Devi by transforming her as the new superwoman. The production of the superwoman is located at a time when India was easing into a commercial world of digitalization. The transformations of the ancient motif of Devi in the graphic novels betray acts that are “light on issues and heavy on vanity” (Baumgardner and Richards, 1997, 164-165). The texts engage with acts like vigilante justice, body shaming, mystification of sexual violence etc. to reproduce a superwoman Devi. The texts are an encounter with the burgeoning media savvy generation which initiates and also produces popular culture, and which has also produced the Devi as the superwoman of India.
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