Monday, March 30, 2009

Wonder Woman and Feminism: An Overview

I'm clearing out some old links and found this article from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tim Hanley, a masters student, is writing his thesis on the history of Wonder Woman.

He talks in particular about Wonder Woman's role as a feminist icon:
Although she started out ahead of her time in the 1940s as the original Amazon princess feminist, she certainly didn’t stay that way.

This is especially true from the 1950s through to the ‘70s when Wonder Woman regressed as a superhero. With comic books being blamed for the moral decline of American youth, Wonder Woman in the 1950s spent more time mooning over her boyfriend Steve Trevor than fighting bad guys. In the ‘60s, her intriguing origin story was revamped and she lost many of her powers. In the ‘70s, she started a clothing boutique and became completely helpless in the face of male advances.

“By the early 1970s, Wonder Woman became a feminist icon in the wider world and the image stuck, even though that image wasn’t really borne out in the comics,” explains Mr. Hanley.
Though tere's not much new for hardcore Wonder Woman fans, it's a nice primer on the character and how she's related to feminism over the years.

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