Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wonder Woman as a Sex Object

I'm going to start re-posting some more Wonder Woman articles from my other blog just to get them all here where they belong. I'll do some minor editing and updating where needed.

I wrote this first one when former Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka got upset about Playboy's featuring Tiffany Fallon in a painted-on Wonder Woman costume. The pictorial may be old news, but the issues it raised are still relevant. What Rucka said about it was, "You've no idea the damage you've done. No idea at all."

And he may be right. But not according to Steven Grant who wrote about that same time, "We're talking about Wonder Woman, right? Bazoongas out to here, skintight costume, high heels, bare legs and emphasized crotch, slave bracelets on her wrists Wonder Woman. Right? The Wonder Woman whose creator intended her to warm girls up to the joys of freedom via bondage and submission, right? If you think Wonder Woman is a role model, bodypainted nudes are about the least of your problems... "

My take on it is falls somewhere between the two. I think Wonder Woman is a role model for girls. That doesn't mean I think little girls should go out and start dressing like her; it's Wonder Woman's attitude and confidence that I wish more girls -- hell, more people -- would try to mimic. It's that same confidence that allows her to wear that costume without giving a crap about what anyone else thinks about it.

But in response to Rucka's post title, "Either You Get It or You Don't," I guess I kind of don't get it. Someone explain to me how a Playboy Playmate's imitating Wonder Woman hurts Wonder Woman's image or impact as a role model. Yes, it's sexist. Yes, it's completely focused on Wonder Woman's attractiveness.

But to Grant's point, Wonder Woman has always been attractive. That's an undeniable aspect of her character. And as far as her being the perfect role model for girls goes, it's a flaw. Sure, it's a lot easier for Wonder Woman to be as confident as she is. Just look at her. I don't see how the Playboy pictorial changes that. It overemphasizes one aspect of her character to the neglect of the rest, but it doesn't ruin her effectiveness as a role model any more than her unchanging attractiveness already does.

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