Liberating Bicentennial America
Imagining the Nation through
TV Superwomen of the Seventies

by
Jennifer S. Clark (Fordham University)

With popular 1970s television programs Wonder Woman (aBC 1975–1976, CBS
1977–1979) and Isis (CBS 1975–1977) as its primary focus, this article explores the
ways that network television utilized images of liberated women to revise its aesthetics,
ensure audience capture, and produce fictions about american cultural coherence and
political superiority. These television programs expressed fantasies of a viable
american society during the mid- to late 1970s, a time of uncertainty and flux in
american cultural coherence and global political might. Both fantasy superheroine
series illustrate the ways representations of america’s “progressive” gender politics
worked to the economic advantage of TV networks, formulated reassuring messages
about the state of the nation, helped manage america’s less progressive attitudes about
race and other nations, and justified america’s imperialist impulses. (download)