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Abstract

While Alan Moore’s comic book Watchmen is often hailed as a revisionary text for introducing flawed superheroes and political anxiety to the genre, it is also remarkably regressive in its treatment of gender. Some critics do argue that women are given a newfound voice in Watchmen, but this interpretation neglects to examine character Laurie Jupiter adequately, or the ways in which other female characters' appearance and dialogue are limited and/or based on their sexuality and relationships with male characters. Watchmen's main female characters, mother and daughter Sally and Laurie Jupiter, lack autonomy and their identities are completely intertwined with and dependent on the male superheros that the two women interact with. This effect culminates with Earth's fate being dependent on Laurie’s relationship with fellow hero Jon - a fate that is determined through a conversation in which Laurie has no say. Written only as submissive, and depicted only as highly sexualized, Watchmen's female characters thus embody misogynistic, outdated ideas about women, even for the 1980s.