All girls like Wonder Woman. It’s practically an adage in the comic book community. Well, I’m a woman who had zero interest in Wonder Woman, Diana Prince or whatever else you wanted to call her until a few short weeks ago. Let me explain to you why I wouldn’t wonder and where my conversion lies.

When I was a child Batman: the Animated Series was all the rage followed hotly by Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited and Teen Titans. All I wanted out to life was to be Robin – not even Batgirl – and when I was persistently told that I “had to like” Wonder Woman, “had to be” Wonder Woman when playing games and “must look up to” Wonder Woman as a character I decided that this would never be the case.

Wonder Woman 1

First off, even at a young age I wasn’t about to wear a bathing suit through day-to-day life (please, spare the argument that Amazons have strong legs), and this seemed to be one of the foremost requirements to being Wonder Woman from everything that I had seen. Batman and Superman are already presented in positions of authority over Wonder Woman and they are covered from head-to-toe in, presumably, protective costuming. Nothing about the design made sense and the poofy Lynda Carter version was even less appealing than Sailor Moon‘s get up. When I started reading comic books seriously team books were an inevitable experience and I often found Wonder Woman incapable of speaking with the use of contractions. It seemed that foreign was synonymous with Conan the Barbarian‘s vocabularly, making Wonder Woman annoying when she shared panels and conversation with the DC characters I was really there to read.

 

Given the evidence that the woman at the forefront of superheroics could barely dress herself and was inarticulate on top of it can you really blame me?

Wonder Woman 2

For the entire history of my interaction with DC Comics Wonder Woman was toted as someone that I had to be infatuated with as a side effect of my gender rather than as a character worthy of being celebrated for her physical prowess, strength of character or the unique insights she could bring to any given situation. As with many things – trivial or otherwise – I rebelled against this and stuck with Barbara Gordon (Oracle, at the time), as my representation in the DCU.

 

As a result, I didn’t read a Wonder Woman solo series until my mid-twenties when I picked up Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s New 52 run at the behest of fellow Major Spoilers contributor Jason Inman. As I’m certain many Major Spoilerites know, this run retells the origin of Diana Prince and challenges everything that I had come to know [read as: dislike] about Wonder Woman. An added bonus: Azzarello’s story is deeply steeped in Greek mythology – going as far as to make Wonder Woman the illegitimate daughter of Zeus. Not only are these stories ripe for comic book inspiration, but the Greek mythos single-handedly encapsulates the seven archetypes of storytelling on one of the grandest scales to date. It’s proto-superheroes!

Wonder Woman 3

Diana’s physical and emotional strength is splashed across the pages of this Wonder Woman story and the creative team manages to work in honest moments of vulnerability (i.e. Diana apologizing to the stone version of Hippolyta). Certainly, she remains idealized (and Caucasian), but beneath the “wonder” aspects of Wonder Woman she feels like a real human being. For me, this was a really nice change.

 

I won’t contend that this is a perfect series – in the very first issue Azzarello and Chiang have Diana needlessly nude for the sake of it and in a later issue give Hera a self-deprecating speech about the inherent weakness of being feminine – but it grounds Wonder Woman in a way that I have never experienced before …

 

… they damn near manage to make her relatable.

 

Suddenly, I’m looking forward to seeing Diana Prince take to the screen in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice even though Gal Gadot is an absolutely untested quantity to me. If Zack Snyder can avoid the hand-holding and mistreatment of Wonder Woman that I experienced growing up there might be hope for the future of this character on the silver screen. That being said, she is shown in the SDCC promo photo wearing high heels and that is a big, big condescending no-no in my book.

Wonder Woman 4

 

I love Wonder Woman. I do – and I know that might be a surprising conclusion to this editorial. I think Diana Prince is strong and beautiful and taps into one of the greatest pantheons in human history in meaningful way to me as a woman and as a person of European decent. I think she is vastly mismanaged and that makes it difficult for Wonder Woman to represent hope for me the way Superman (arguably her male counterpart), does for so many male comic fans. That in mind, for Hera’s sake, PUT SOME PANTS ON THIS GIRL!

The Author

Ashley Victoria Robinson

Ashley Victoria Robinson

Ashley Victoria Robinson is a Canadian girl by day and Robin by night. She lives in Los Angeles now and stars as Ensign Williams in THE RED SHIRT DIARIES, co-hosts the GEEK HISTORY LESSON podcast and writes for Top Cow.

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9 Comments

  1. Wonderman
    October 22, 2014 at 11:51 am — Reply

    I understand many of your points in this article. However, on the issue of Wonder Woman wearing heels and putting on pants. I really don’t feel that is as much an issue that some people keep on making it out to be. Firstly, regarding the heels as being sexualized or impractical in battle, well I honestly think they have her in them in the movie just to give her some height. Wonder Woman is supposed to be this large an imposing figure, and that’ll be hard to pull off for the actress next to Henry Cavil and Ben Affleck unless they give the girl a bit of height. Also, regarding the practicality of them, well she’s invulnerable and has super strength, if a bullet or missile doesn’t impede her, I hardly think wearing a heel will. On the pants issue, Wonder Woman comes from a people rooted in ancient Greek style and traditions, no one during that time wore pants, men or women.

  2. M. Walsh
    October 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    I can understand rejecting something or a character because you’re supposed to or are expected to like it merely because it falls in your demographic or gender or race.

    As a heterosexual, white man that might sound hollow…but honestly, I’ve encountered PLENTY of stories in movies, comics, and video games where a bland, vacuous white dude is needlessly made the HERO over far more compelling female or non-white characters and I’m apparently supposed to swallow it up because these vapid cyphers are they characters I “relate” to.

    So yeah, I see where you’re coming from on that note. But I can’t agree with anything about Brian Azzarello’s take on Wonder Woman. The New 52 took pretty much everything I found interesting, unique, and likable about the character and turned her into something depressingly bland, generic, and boring.

    As soon as I saw a scene of Diana moping about how the mean ol’ Amazon bullies used to make fun of her, and call her Clay, and how she never felt like she belonged, I threw the damn comic across the room….or at least I would have, but then I would’ve had to pay for it. I’m not interested in Zeus’ bastard daughter, who is special by mere fact she’s the only Amazon that doesn’t rape people, and just whacks things with a sword.

    • October 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm — Reply

      That’s cool that you’re not as enamoured with Azzarello’s Wonder Woman run as I am and I definitely agree about them calling her “Clay”. The pettiness of that takes a lot of the nobility away from the Amazons as a culture.

      Are you looking forward to the new creative team coming onto the title?

      • M. Walsh
        October 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm — Reply

        No. I pretty much accepted a while ago the Wonder Woman I loved is gone and not coming back. The new creative team isn’t going to change anything.

  3. October 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm — Reply

    I can sorta understand where you are coming from. It always irritates me when it is assumed that since I’m female, I MUST like (insert female character here). For instance, I liked Power Rangers as a kid and currently Super Sentai, but more often than not I DO NOT imagine myself as being in the same role as the majority of the female characters when I play out my child-like fantasies in my head (as evident by the female MMPR Green Ranger and female Zeo Gold Ranger image I commissioned a friend to do ages back for a story I wrote about a sick friend and I http://craigjohn.deviantart.com/art/Female-Power-Rangers-40428025 ).

    In some cases I do, but that is because I find them interesting. I don’t care about the gender of the character as much as I care about the character themselves.

    • October 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm — Reply

      The character themselves is always the most important thing, although I always found it neat as a kid to be able to look at a character and see myself. =)

  4. October 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm — Reply

    I’m just amazed that the costume makes her look like she isn’t as thin as the actress is. I don’t know if that’s CGI or just a really good costume.

    I have to agree that the high heels was mostly give her height. I’m hoping that she holds her own in the movie. I think she did OK in the Fast and Furious movies but she didn’t have much of a role in either. I also think it’s awesome that she is getting her own movie.

  5. Alonzo
    November 28, 2015 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    When viewing Wonder Woman’s armor from the POV of someone raised in a patriarchal society of course you’re going to view it sexualized. That said, Diana comes from a matriarchal society that views her armor as just that, armor. Futuremore to suggest she ‘needs to put on pants’ just reinforces the notion a woman can’t be taken serious unless she conforms to a standard created by men.

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