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DC Women Kicking Ass

Thoughts, pictures, reviews and other stuff about the women in comics who kick ass. This is a feminist site. Deal with it.
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May 14 '11

It’s not the costume, stupid

And now the Monday morning quarterbacking on Wonder Woman begins. Today Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich weighs in on the difficulties in getting Wonder Woman to screen. Too bad his article is filled with stuff like this:

It’s simply impossible to imagine any take on the project that can address the character’s fundamental problem: She is meant to be an inspiring feminist icon, but she represents a vast array of things that feminism despises. By which I mean, she dresses like a stripper.

Or maybe it’s more fair to say that strippers dress like Wonder Woman. We are getting into complex territory when we talk about Wonder Woman and modern sexuality, because the character has variously defined and been defined by seven decades of extremely confusing cultural evolution. Updating the character for a modern audience isn’t simply a matter of rejiggering her timeline — like having Iron Man taken prisoner by Middle Eastern rebels instead of Vietnamese soldiers — or replacing a radioactive spider with a genetically-engineered spider.

He goes on and on about how the character is uninteresting, I can’t even bear to continue to read it. Go take a look and see what you think.

The problem with Wonder Woman is not the costume. She’s had various costumes in comics. The problem with the most recent Wonder Woman TV show was they created a god awful hybrid that tried to have its cake (the original) and eat it too. They fucked up the first one and came back with one that should have been the first try (if they had made the bodice better fitting or straps it would have been fine and certainly not any less silly than a grown man who walks around with his underpants on the outside).

And the idea that Wonder Woman’s story can’t be compelling? The number one movie at the box office this weekend was a superhero who is a God. A superhero who walks around with a giant hammer (as opposed to, say a lasso) that spends time in both “man’s world” and in the the world of the Gods.

Why is Thor so easy to get to screen, but Wonder Woman is reduced to a television drama by David E. Kelley where she’s a superhero but also a female who worries about her body and pines for her boyfriend? Why when that treatment fails do the stories focus not on the execution but on the character?

Why is it when it comes to a male character like the Hulk, we don’t see that reaction. “Oh gee, it couldn’t possibly be the character of the Hulk that is the problem. We’ll just make three movies until we get the execution right.” Three takes. Not one.

And we have seen treatments that have worked. For all its gender issues the animated movie showed that Wonder Woman can be badass and compelling.

DCU Online has Wonder Woman as a core character and anyone who has seen the cinematic trailer can see how bad ass she would look on screen.

And the original TV show, despite being 30 years ago, worked.

The problem with adapting Wonder Woman to the screen, either big or small, has nothing to do with the character other than her gender. The recent television show felt they needed to turn her into something she’s not. She’s not Ally McBeal. She’s Wonder Woman.

And the movies. Please that’s just Hollywood’s continuous stream of bullshit about women and film that’s been going on for years. They ignore the films where women are successful and prop up “Supergirl” and “Catwoman” over and over again as “proof” that strong female characters are doomed for cinematic failure.

And it gets worse every year. Today I am off to see Bridesmaids. Why? Because Hollywood has become so narrow minded about women as an audience that the entire future of female comedies has somehow come to rest on this film. I hear it’s good and I would have gone to seen it anyways but now that it is been positioned as a referendum on the female film audience, I feel compelled.

How fucking sad is it that we as a gender are forced to prove ourselves worthy as a film audience once again? Every time there is a hit or success outside the narrow little lens that Hollywood views us it is an aberration or a fluke.

Every time a male centric film fails, there’s another one right behind it. Superman Returns was a failure. You don’t read Entertainment Weekly writing about how his costume was the reason. The Hulk failed twice and is on its third take. You don’t see them writing about how his torn green pants are the problem or a metaphor? Of course not.

Entertainment Weekly wrote a big article on why there hasn’t been a Wonder Woman movie earlier this year. Its conclusion was, after going through everything else, that Hollywood has a problem with female actions heroes.

“It’s just much easier to sell a male action film to studios than a female one.”

Of course.

Here’s a tip for Hollywood. Women want to see characters that are strong and smart and capable. They don’t want to see characters that are cliches or bastardizations or characters that are seen through the lens of male writers and creators who don’t write authentic women but as archetypes and a mindfield of sexist tropes. Write that and we will come. Market correctly to us and we will come. Treat us like a valuable audience instead of an afterthought and we will come. We’ve proved it, you just ignore it.

Write Wonder Woman as the strong heroic character she is and we will come. Costume or not.

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  4. there-was-a-girl reblogged this from dcwomenkickingass and added:
    Longer article and comments about Wonder Woman that is well worth the read.
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    I strongly agree with what DCWKA is saying here, and I suggest you read the whole post. I’m sick of “Hulk” movies (to...
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    Excellent sentiments here. Read it.
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