Wonder Woman and Feminism
Wonder Woman isn’t just a feminist icon, she is THE feminist icon. Crazy to say with the likes of Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Oprah, Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson as famous feminist icons in their own right among many others.
Wonder Woman wasn’t even the first female superhero created, Black Widow and Bulletgirl have that honor, but she was the first molded from a proto-feminist perspective. Created by William Moulton Marston in 1941, he saw female leadership as the future, unheard of in his day. He thought having a strong female character making decisions and showing leadership would counter-balance the natural urges of men to want violence and war. It made sense at the time with World War II going on and many women entering the workforce.
On her 75th birthday this year, Wonder Woman has gone from sex object for fan boys to strong female roles depending on who has written her. I don’t know if Marston’s true vision for Wonder Woman has ever come true. I have high hopes that with the release of the movie next year it will shape Wonder Woman into the character she was always meant to be, a strong feminist who handles her own in any situation, not just a tag along with the boys.
There needs to be balance between the feminine and masculine. When creating Wonder Woman Marston didn’t always get his way or ideas across to others. REAL men don’t talk about love or feelings. He initially was pushed to make this character a man but he saw the early flaws of Superman and decided that the DNA of the character had to be female. She is essentially Superman but as a woman, nice gender equality, even if you rarely see it in real life.
Her first appearance was quite embarrassing in All-Star comics #8. She quickly became an honorary member of the Justice Society and a few books later ended up as a secretary for the League!! What better way to alienate women huh?? It’s flat out ridiculous that they made a strong woman character and turned her into a secretary with no shame whatsoever and made her an honorary member when she’s a better hero than any of them. Should tell you all you need to know about the state of the world then (and now for that matter). It’s hard to write a character when the world around you is telling you she has to act/be a certain way. Now she eventually had a much larger role in the Justice Society but why did it take so long? Why are these problems still relevant today? It’s downright crazy when you think about it.
Throughout her various changes she always has remained true to her purpose, the balance between feminine and masculinity. Put her in a skimpy outfit, doesn’t matter Wonder Woman still comes across as a badass!! One of the hardest characters to write because of the way people could interpret anything related to sexism or favoritism of gender, her story of living in Themyscira ( Paradise) in itself is strange. It’s basically women oppressing themselves by not having any “corrupt” men about. Her story to leave is what sets her apart though. She chooses to leave the island and fight for what she believes, again a great example of a strong willed female character.
She understands at a very young age the difference between all men are bad and that some people in general being bad. Against her family she still decides to leave. She symbolizes the idea that balance is the key to equality.
As a huge Wonder Woman fan, I’m very excited to see her on the big screen next year. We need to get to the point where certain adjectives don’t scream out any specific gender. Wonder Woman’s creation was a massive start in that direction. She proves that a woman can be smart, beautiful, tough and equal! I wrote this with my daughter in mind. I hope one day she reads this and understands that equality is possible and we have in large part Wonder Woman to thank!!