An Other Nonetheless: Gender, Sexuality and Monstrosity in Supernatural

  • Author / Creator
    Schowalter, Glenna
  • Supernatural (SPN) is a long-running horror-fantasy television show that first aired in 2005 on the WB network, moved to the CW network in 2006 and recently released its final episode on November 19, 2020. With intertextual links to both horror cinema and the American Western, the show features few prominent women or queer characters, focusing instead on the protagonists, the Winchester brothers, and other male characters. When women and queer characters are featured, they are othered either as monsters or as humans who do not fit within a masculine, heteronormative status quo. This thesis analyses SPN’s treatment of gender and sexuality in the first five seasons, and the ways in which it interacts with representations of otherness and monstrosity. For this analysis, I draw on theoretical contributions in the areas of gender studies, genre studies and popular culture scholarship, specifically the study of the horror genre. The thesis consists of three chapters, which explore gender ambivalence, monstrous femininity and monstrous sexuality respectively. I conduct analyses of specific episodes, using close reading as a method to examine representative scenes and characters. Within SPN one can trace concerns and anxieties surrounding otherness, especially regarding women and queer people, and a desire for individualist masculine power. The project contends that while the creators of the show attempt to explore nuanced and non-normative representations of gender, the series nonetheless is entrenched in a conservative worldview that is undergirded by a patriarchal status quo.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.