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CFP: Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction & Fantasy

deadline for submissions:
June 30, 2018

full name / name of organization:
Valerie Estelle Frankel, editor

contact email:

This anthology is seeking to define the new kinds of heroines that science fiction/fantasy films and television are producing right now (it may be split into two collections between these types). Multiple proposals are fine (certainly, non-genre programs are doing the same, but for the time being the scope will be limited to scifi and fantasy films). Hunger Games has been chosen as the cutting-off point – films and television should be later than 2012 and have significant heroines. Though the term is imperfect, these heroines will be described as fourth wave feminist – the authors in the collection can be the trendsetters who help define the term.

Authors are free to give it their own spin without perfect agreement, but fourth wave is being defined as more powerful and diverse heroines who needn’t be softened or sexualized or reduced to sidekicks like those of previous eras. There’s more acknowledgement of a world beyond the US, but the biggest issue setting the fourth wave apart is internet culture: on feminist blogs and online journals, everyone learns the terminology to the point where filmmakers as well as critics apply the Bechdel test and similar lenses. There are flame wars and trends like Gamergate but also diversity campaigns which the producers acknowledge. Filmmakers are discovering that diversity sells and they’re finally producing more of it, though not always perfectly. Basically, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Frozen, Hunger Games, Force Awakens, and a few other blockbusters are breaking out a new kind of storytelling we’re documenting.

Your essay may analyze a single film on these issues or address a trend in one or more films – that are doing new feminism right or wrong in your opinion. Other media types like gaming or nongenre might be briefly touched on for comparison. You might also address a big issue like the Bechdel Test or whitewashing. Certainly, you’re welcome to use films and shows not mentioned here.

Deadline for proposals June 30 (roughly 300 words, optional bio or CV) to valerie at subject: FOURTH WAVE SUBMISSION

This is planned as a McFarland collection.

Possible topics and trends listed on