My entry into the DC Universe was through television. I didn’t grow up with comics, but when I was a kid, I watched a crazy amount of TV. The proof?
I watched “Wonder Woman.”
The final episode of the “Wonder Woman” TV show aired just prior to my 5th birthday, which means my memories of the TV show were memories of a show I watched when I was 3 and 4 years old. Which is lunacy. How many TV shows make that kind of an impression that early and significant?
I loved Wonder Woman. I still love her. She’s a badass. She’s strong, confident, beautiful and smart. How could you not love Wonder Woman?
My grandmother even made me a Wonder Woman cape. It was awesome. I wish I still had it.
So when I had a daughter, considering her lineage, you would assume that she would also become a fan. Right?
We’ve certainly tried to cultivate a Wonder Woman fan out of our progeny. We gave her books, older comics, tried to watch the old TV show, but it just never took.
For a long time, I didn’t consciously know why I so fervently wished she would like Wonder Woman. I guess that as a parent, I’d like to have things to share with my daughter. You know, Amazonian Princess-type things. The important stuff.
But lately, I realized my concern is bigger than that. A lot bigger.
You see, to my daughter, Wonder Woman has predominately been a part of an ensemble, not a stand-alone character. The token female in a larger group of men. “Justice League,” “Justice League Unlimited” and “Young Justice” all have a Wonder Woman, but she isn’t the main focus. And while there is a DC comic that does focus on her, it’s not really written for 10 year-old girls.
The lack of Wonder Woman in our current pop culture is fundamentally representative of inadequate gender, racial, and sexual orientation parity in all forms of media which itself perpetuates inequity and reinforces stereotypes and prejudices throughout society. Leaving us to deal with a society and culture dominated and run by the white male.
I’m dead serious.
Generations of women in the US and around the world have been inspired by Wonder Women. Strong, smart, helpful and handy with a lasso. If you don’t believe me, just ask Trina Robbins, Gloria Steinem, or watch the PBS documentary “Wonder Women.”
I know she influenced me. Still working on my rope tricks though.
But even more than an inspiration, she helps us model our culture, teaching us how to treat each other as equals and what that world looks like. Teaching the lesson to boys, as well as girls, that women are just as capable as men and are their intellectual equals, not something to be taken lightly.
So, why is it that Wonder Woman, as both a commercial intellectual property and idea, has had so many issues making a comeback? Is the idea of a woman equal in strength to the beloved Superman really that dangerous?
Is it the pure incompetence of studio system? Handing Princess Diana over to the wrong hands? Have you guys seen any part of the David E. Kelley “Wonder Woman” pilot? ‘Cause, wow — it’s not our lady.
Is it that the men in charge can’t relate to the character, don’t think she’s salable? The female lead won’t put butts in the seats and money in the tills?
What’s that you hear? Oh, it’s just Suzanne Collins, the author of “Hunger Games,” laughing all the way to the bank.
Whatever the logic or rational, I think we are a better world with Wonder Woman very present in our culture. Standing tall. But I had access to her early. Something my daughter never had.
So, like the generation that’s currently coming up and populating the comicsphere as young professionals, she’ll be influenced by and will cherish something else. She’ll instead devour “Ranma Â½,” collect her Pokemon, play on her DS, watch gaming play-throughs on YouTube, and write and draw her own comics.
But she won’t have Wonder Woman. And I think she deserves to.
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