Weaving Womanhood into Warfare: Gender-Hybrid Narratives of Amazons Penthesilea and Diana Prince


  • Anne Lee Yongsan International School of Seoul
  • Bethany Stallings Mentor, Yongsan International School of Seoul




greek mythology, classical reception, comics, feminism, gender, film


Largely rooted in ancient Greek essentialism, Western dichotomies of masculinity and femininity have been historically used to divide the sexes and limit women’s involvement in male institutions of power. The female warrior is an anomalous case. Fictional tropes of this type, especially the Amazons of Greek mythology, embody both masculine and feminine associations to exist in the separate spheres of womanhood and military heroism. Two transhistorical Amazons—Penthesilea (from Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica) and Diana Prince (from the 2017 film Wonder Woman)—were analyzed to explore the evolution of Western perceptions on powerful women in traditionally male spheres of influence. Guided by gender and classics theories, a thematic and narrative analysis focusing on the characters’ gender hybridity (the combination of masculine and feminine distinctions) demonstrated new understandings: Penthesilea’s story demonstrates that hybridity in antiquity reinforced the hegemonic implications of gender essentialism. Diana’s modern hybridity empowers female success in male realms. Nonetheless, both narratives establish the difficulty of crossing gendered boundaries, as compromise and defeat accompany hybridity. Comparing ancient and modern adaptations of the Amazons reveals that while women’s presence in masculine spheres remains tentative in Western society, reimagined female warriors represent increasing acceptance towards women adopting hybrid roles in public expressions of power.


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How to Cite

Lee, A., & Stallings, B. (2021). Weaving Womanhood into Warfare: Gender-Hybrid Narratives of Amazons Penthesilea and Diana Prince. Journal of Student Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v10i3.1932



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