Ooooh, where to start with this goodie bag of feminine power!? For most of my life, I couldn't stand Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman has fallen just short of the feminist ideals for many years. Sure, she was a great leap forward, strong and smart, but she wasn't equal. She was a joke that set us back. A symbol of false equality. Her day job was a receptionist for goodness sakes! Focusing on "woman's emotional problems" and even having her weakness be bondage! I'm not joking, new readers, go Google that! Wonder Woman use to be drained of her strength when you tied her up! And like most women in comics, she was given a revealing joke of a costume. Where was the Amazon in the Amazon princess!?
But the potential was there. Just beneath the surface, and we all saw it. With the correct writer and a brave enough publisher she could be as great as she was meant to be! That is why she survived. Wonder Woman has risen from the ashes and finally, FINALLY, we have the equal and powerful Amazon warrior we were promised!
I believe the shift in her standing started with the 2001 Justice League cartoon. Not quite up to par, but we get the strong, more warrior-like princess. In that series we see her with a strong need to understand man’s world and trying to fit in while not degrading herself. But we still get the writer’s need to instantly start trying to hook her up, with Batman no less! Good choice in men if you ask me, but that’s not the point. The point is that they can’t seem to let a woman stay single! Like there’s something wrong with a woman who isn’t in a relationship. And while they never do make a formal relationship, the intent was there and it bugs me. But we also get back lash here! The writers are trying TOO hard to make her “strong”, but instead just make her seem angry and arrogant.
This bring me to 2003, The New Frontier. In my eyes this is Wonder Woman PERFECTION! She’s thick, she’s heavy, she’s was curvy, full, and beautiful. A real woman, not a super model. She’s taller than Superman and she is the LAST person you want to get angry! Not the last “woman” you want to get angry, the last PERSON. She doesn’t compromise who she is or her beliefs for anyone! And she’s wearing armor! No heels! *sigh* My kind of woman. I’ll admit to only seeing the 2008 movie adaptation but that was enough to make me a fan. If they had stuck with this truly Amazon version, I think DC would have made all women proud.
Sadly, the built like- a (very attractive) brick house version- was not to last. But we were given what I consider a perfect compromise. DC’s 2009 Wonder Woman direct to DVD masterpiece. I will never forget the first time watching it. The opening battle is burned into my brain. And more so, the reaction of my male friends, who all complained when I popped it in the DVD player. But when that first head flew off, that was it. We were hooked! The super model looks were reinstated, even made fun of at one point to my great amusement. But she was perfect. A warrior, pointing out the many flaws in the preconceived roles of women in a man’s world, and truly matching up. The way she carried herself was perfect. Angry at first, then trying harder to understand and BE understood. There is a lot of role reversal in this movie. I think that is what makes it so strong.
An early attempt to continue this standard in her own comic title was made after this. Even going so far as to FINALLY give her pants and even a leather jacket! I’ll admit to bribing my comic book store owner with cookies to get my hands on that most sought after cover. But the new attitude that came with those pants was more a disgruntled teenager than a warrior princess. It was a nice attempt though.
This warrior beauty is continuing its path to perfection, however, in the New 52 Justice League line! I crack up when ever they show the violent streak in her. And though they have continued the trend of needing to have her in a relationship almost instantly (should have been Batman), I guess I can forgive it. She reflects the 2009 movie version with maybe a bit more battle happiness to her.
Finally, we have our equal – a true amazon warrior princess. We just need to get her on the silver screen in her own movie now, and everything will be perfect! And though I do complain about the earlier Wonder Woman, I am thankful we have her. I’m thankful she survived the years to reach the young women of today. I’m thankful that she’s finally hit that high we all knew she could. And I will be all too happy to share her strength with my niece when she’s old enough. I’d have fought by her side any day. Now if they’d just bring back the giant kangaroos!