Wonder Woman was big news this week. And although I don’t like the costume or feel comfortable with the reboot, I’m thrilled to see that the celebration of her 600th issue has generated so much interest and coverage of a comic character I am fond of. But underneath the news, I’ve seen that the costume change being used as reason to label the character a failure and that failure being tied to her inherent feminism. I am sure you have all seen the ridiculous post of blogger James Hudnall who states that the problem with Wonder Woman isn’t her costume but “strident feminism.”
“The problem with Wonder Woman isn’t her look. It’s her personality. She has never been a warm, appealing character. She comes from an island populated only by immortal Amazons who hate men. And men aren’t allowed to set foot on the island. This island of super-women send her to “the man’s world” where she brings the baggage of this sexist worldview.
See, here is problem #1. Most comics readers are male. So you start off telling them their gender sucks. Great sales pitch.”
I never heard of this guy or his blog before this piece started making the rounds yesterday. His argument is easily dismissed because it is so over the top. But I just saw another story and it echoes some of the same thoughts. And the frightening thing was this was in the Wall Street Journal. Sure it’s owned by Murdoch but it is considerably more mainstream.
“Wonder Woman has always been a slightly muddled figure. She was conceived in 1941 as a hopelessly compromised antediluvian idea of a tough-yet-feminine heroine. Her traditional costume, something like an American-flag bustier, is silly and almost parodically revealing. According to the DC Comics web site, she was molded out of magic clay by her Amazon “mother” (potter?) Hippolyta and sent out into the world to improve a patriarchal world, like a kiln-fired Gloria Steinem. It’s a preachy, impersonal role, and lacks the visceral stakes of a Batman or Spider-Man - which is sad, given the richness of Greek mythology as a source of angry, unruly, ass-kicking female characters.”
Did you guess it was a man who wrote it? I question whether he’s even read an issue of the book. In fact I think his research may have consisted of no more than he fesses up to – perusing the DC site. He goes on to blather about how mainstream media has let females down with their portrayals of superheroes and that basically Wonder Woman has failed to reach her potential so it’s time to reinvent her.
“She was conceived to be the original, iconic female superhero, but seventy years into her history, no one quite knows what a genuinely powerful superheroine should look like or what her story is. It’s sad, but because there have been a hell of a lot of interesting women, and women characters, to think about since 1941.
The idea of a strong female still isn’t terribly a stable one anywhere in mainstream media. Given the mainstream comics world’s abysmal track record portraying women, is it any surprise that Wonder Woman is still a work in progress?”
Again, did he even read one issue of Wonder Woman? When will people learn that a female superhero shouldn’t be a male superhero with boobs. Every time a man talks about how Wonder Woman isn’t Spiderman or Batman it just shows that they don’t get it. Wonder Woman is a strong female character. And there are others like her. The problem isn’t that they don’t exist— it’s that writers like this evaluate their existence only in terms of the characteristics of male superheroes.
If you think this guy is full of shit go post a comment on the Journal’s website.