Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

John Hay

Second Committee Member

Jarret Keene

Third Committee Member

Erin Zimmerman

Fourth Committee Member

Danielle Roth-Johnson

Number of Pages



Marvel Comics character Wanda Maximoff, otherwise known as the Scarlet Witch, has received significant attention in popular culture due to her recent appearances as the primary protagonist and antagonist in television show WandaVision (2021) and film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). These depictions foregrounding Wanda’s struggles with mental health have made her an admirable character to many who see her drawing power from her emotions as a celebration of aspects of womanhood that have long been shamed by society. Sourcing these contemporary adaptations, however, lies decades of blatantly anti-feminist and sexist comics that villainize and ridicule Wanda’s expression of emotions and her struggles with the trauma of being repeatedly abused and mistreated. Many of Wanda’s major comics plotlines coincide with the emergence of various women’s rights movements, often using her to make a mockery of the independence and equality that feminists advocated for in desiring to break away from the expectation that women remained confined to the domestic sphere and existed only as wives and mothers. This thesis challenges interpretations of Wanda as a feminist character by documenting the misogynistic nature of Wanda’s publication history and argues for more critical engagement with current iterations of her experience with motherhood in light of ongoing discourse regarding women’s reproductive rights.


Anti-feminism; Comics; Motherhood; Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff; Women's rights


English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Women's Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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