"If she be worthy": performance of female masculinity and toxic Geek masculinity in Jason Aaron's Thor: The Goddess of Thunder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Marvel character Thor was canonically male until 2014 when a masked female picked up his hammer and was worthy of his title and powers. Jane Foster, a side character and love interest to the main character since the beginning of the comic series, became Thor when the original Thor Odinson became unworthy of his name and trademark hammer. While female characters have taken up the mantles of male heroes in superhero comics before, their names are usually changed to more female-centered designations like Supergirl or Spider-Woman. Jane Foster, however, retained the name Thor and was not Lady Thor or Thor Girl. And, perhaps more importantly, she was not hypersexualized. Unlike the female superheroes that came before her, Jane Foster's Thor was fully clothed with bulging biceps instead of bulging breasts. Her Thor was different and, thus, encouraged new female readership in Marvel's superhero comics. While inspiring to some, the new Thor was seen as threatening to others. Some fans took to the internet to voice their dismay and anger that a woman could be worthy of Thor's hammer, and that she could be as powerful if not more powerful than the male Thor. When the comic was successful and outsold the male Thor, some fans created hate groups online that targeted female comics creators, characters, and fans. The message they conveyed was that women are neither welcome in comics nor worthy of comics culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuperheroes and masculinity
Subtitle of host publicationunmasking the gender performance of heroism
EditorsSean Parson, J. L. Schatz
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781498591508
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

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