Performing Darna: The Role of Entertainment Press in Spectacularizing Darna Actresses


This paper looks at the actresses who portrayed Darna and how they are presented as spectacles in the entertainment articles that promote the film and television adaptations. This frame of inquiry comes from the notion that the visual aesthetics of Darna in komiks is largely informed by the superhero genre’s dependence on spectacle as shown in the superhero’s feats of greatness and in her actions and movements which are all larger than life and extraordinary. If this is the case for Darna in print, then how about the actresses tasked with performing her in the movies and television series? How are their bodies being turned into a spectacle in promotional materials in order to conform to the needs of the capital (entertainment industry)?

In using the spectacle of the body as framework, the paper also draws on the star system and the role of producers of text in the creation of Darna as we know her today. The aim is to reveal how female bodies were made part of the construction of Darna’s image outside of its fictional universe which results in a discourse that highlights the body of the celebrities rather than Darna’s continuing relevance as a Filipino icon. This sets aside her representational power to embody the struggle and demand of Filipinos for justice and a better life as audience’s attention is diverted towards how these actresses prepared their bodies to perform Darna.