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The Woman Fantastic in Contemporary American Media Culture$
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Elyce Rae Helford, Shiloh Carroll, Sarah Gray, and Michael R. II Howard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496808714

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496808714.001.0001

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Placing Parker: Negotiating the Hegemonic Binary in Leverage

Placing Parker: Negotiating the Hegemonic Binary in Leverage

(p.132) Placing Parker: Negotiating the Hegemonic Binary in Leverage
The Woman Fantastic in Contemporary American Media Culture

Elyce Rae Helford

University Press of Mississippi

Extending the significance of race and class in the first two chapters, Elyce Rae Helford adds attention to sexuality in “Positioning Parker: Negotiating the Hegemonic Binary in Leverage.” Through a queer feminist lens, Helford explores popular culture’s reliance on the doctrine of natural kinds and hegemonic binarism—where the human world is divided into two mandatory, privileged, distinct, and non-overlapping categories. She posits the character of Parker in TNT’s action-drama Leverage (2008-2012) as exemplification of the Woman Fantastic through attention to the ways in which character history and superheroic (or anti-heroic) thieving abilities challenge gender absolutes. Simultaneously, argues Helford, Parker’s romantic relationship with the series’ African American computer hacker character challenges the combined effects of incest and miscegenation taboos. This case study illustrates hegemonic negotiation of the theory of natural kinds that continues to dominate popular culture.

Keywords:   Leverage, Parker, Hegemonic binary, Doctrine of Natural Kinds, Queer

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