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Loving Wonder Woman!

Those of you who know me will know I LURVE Wonder Woman. Always have. It is not about the star spangled pants or hot red boots (although both are kind of cool). It is all about her Amazon attitude and – most importantly – her Golden Lasso.

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Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso is actually officially known as the “Lasso of Truth”. Once she wraps it around the baddies, they must speak words of truth to her. YES – our words are powerful. YES – they can take us to dark places, or to light, love and laughter. This would be one prop I would love to have…along with her Goddess Powers of course!

You can understand my excitement then when I read on Feministing this week that for the first time, the Wonder Woman comic will have an ongoing woman writer! Although women writers have made “guest appearances” since WW was launched 66 years ago, Gail Simone will be the first regular. The New York Times profiled Gail Simone: “Ms. Simone was effusive when discussing Wonder Woman. ‘She’s just the best kind of person,’ she said. ‘She was a princess who didn’t need someone to rescue her. I grew up in an era — and a family — where women’s rights were very important, and the guys didn’t tend to stick around too long. She was an amazing role model.’ ”

Ms. Simone came to the attention of DC Comics through her site Women In Refrigerators– an online chronicle of the suffering experienced by female comic-book characters. She makes some excellent and disturbing points about how women are presented in comics –

It occurred to me that it’s not that healthy to be a female character in comics… superheroines have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator… Some have been revived, even improved — although the question remains as to why they were thrown in the wood chipper in the first place.

Not every woman in comics has been killed, raped, depowered, crippled, turned evil, maimed, tortured, contracted a disease or had other life-derailing tragedies befall her, but given the following list it’s hard to think up exceptions:

All of Savage Dragon’s girlfriends (dead)
Alysande Stuart (dead)
Amethyst (blinded, merged with Gemworld, destroyed in LSH; became a power-hungry witch in Book of Fate)
Apparition (one of her three bodies dead, soul bound to boyfriend)
Aquagirl (dead)
Arisia (dead)
Aurora (Multiple Personality Disorder, depowered)
Batgirl I (paralyzed)
Batwoman (dead)
Betty Banner (abused, changed into a harpy, multiple miscarriages, dead)…”

And this was just her A – B list!

The YouTube clip below also questions the portrayal of women in cartoons. the young filmmaker who posted it, “Tomalley” makes some really valid points: “The portrayal of females and femininity in cartoons, in particular, is quite skewed, to say the least. When they do have screen time, which isn’t often, they are often objectified, overtly feminine, begin rescued or absurdly sexualized. This is an issue in American media as the target audience of such productions is primarily children. It is no wonder why the youth of our society grows up with distorted views of women.”

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/4BQm9UEuSrs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Get that lasso out and round ’em up WW. No more victims…no more Bimbos.

All power, all the time. 🙂

P.S It would be worthwhile getting students to deconstruct the way women are portrayed in cartoons and comics – they would really enjoy this exercise! How about asking them to create their own Superheroines too – what super powers would they have?

P.S There are some really interesting perspectives and new threads in the comments here – join in!

Published inPower of Words

9 Comments

  1. Donelle

    Thanks for sharing this story. It will be interesting to see over time how female characters are portrayed in the comic, with a woman writer on an ongoing basis. Wonder Woman is already a great role model for girls. Even in cartoon form it’s great to see strong, confident female characters saving the day, rather than just seeing the helpless, batting eyelids of Jessica Rabbit and Betty Boop types. Looking forward to future Wonder Woman adventures!

  2. Sonia Lyne

    Fantastic idea for the girls … the number of fictional female characters is MINIMAL. As you know I have two beautiful twin boys, hence I am now immersed in a world of trucks, helicopters, spiderman, superman and the like. Therefore, being in the work we do, I am constantly thinking about the many characters that are out their for boys in comparison to the number of fictional characters for girls that embody strength and uniqueness.How many do I come up with???

    As a young girl Miss Piggy was a character who I adored for her determination and nothing was going to stand in her way. I saw her curves as completely yummy and she exuded the belief that she was beautiful. At an early age I thought she was a great role model for many young girls. She embodies an ideal to which I still aspire … STRENGTH, COURAGE and the BELIEF THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL !!

  3. Ella James

    Thanks for this Danni. Thank goodness for you and your team out there. I have been working in the city today, and am dismayed when I look at some of the young women. It is apparent they regard themselves as wholly sexual beings and wish to be judged as if they are in a video clip. They dress like tarts, walk like tarts..well some can hardly walk their heels are so high! What is it with young women relating so strongly to the images in video clips? Is sex more powerful than the mind? Than the personality? In speaking to a young woman last week she said “I’m no feminist..who needs them” Well darling” I replied “it’s a pity you finished year 12, studied at Uni, became a pharmacist, have equal pay and the ability to walk into a bank and get a home loan..it’s a pity you don’t have a husband yet because when your rights are taken away from you..the rights feminists won for you…you won’t be able to have your own passport, or travel without your father or brother…you won’t be able to get a job unless you are a teacher or nurse…” “you’re kidding…that’s the dark ages’ she replied “no…even your own grandmother couldn’t have got a loan and your mother couldn’t get equal pay’ Being a feminist is not about not being feminine, it is not about being harsh..or hard…it is about the freedom to make choices. As long as we live in a country that still regards a deputy PM who’s a woman as something ‘different’ as long as women are still described by their age and marital status in the media…we have a long way to go to change attitudes regarding our freedom of choice.
    I’ll have a cup of tea now!

  4. Oh I hear ya sista!!!

    Also feeling enraged as I am just back from a lunch / focus group I had today with a group of pretty powerful women in business.

    One of the women at the luncheon was adament that there was no such thing as discrimination for women anymore, that women did not need special programs or interest groups. She saw women’s initatives / programs as separatist.

    What really offended me was that she was a powerful women living a priviledged life – could she not see that is NOT how all women live and NOT the experience of all women in business?

    I respect every women’s right to an opinion so power to her for speaking up and being honest but I do so miss a sense of the sisterhood! Saying “Well I am on a Board so it is just up to other women to get out there and speak up too…” is really not demonstarting the empathy I so admire in women generally.

    Marie Wilson (an amazing feminist) argues that our biggest problem as women today is that we have become complacent and we no longer think there any problems!

    No issues worthy of special attention? Tell that to:

    the teen girls who starve themselves to fit an idealised image of beauty, or cut themselves and binge drink to relieve stress,
    the women enslaved by the sex industry,
    the women who work full time and who are still expected to go home and do the majority of the housework and child rearing,
    the women who would love to work part time whilst rearing their children but cannot find work that will fit in with school hours or a decent, affordable pre-school,
    the women who choose to parent full time and get treated like they have “opted out,”
    to the women and children living in poverty or with domestic violence …

    Oh bugger Ella I need a cuppa and a lie down too.

  5. P.S In relation to your opening comments about young women dressing in an overtly sexual way…

    Here is my personal take on it ( for what it is worth!).

    I have no problem with women dressing in any way they please – hey I loved my mini skirts and killer heels back in the day!I do think it is limiting is that is ALL we choose to present ourselves as being ALL the time (ie: Paris Hilton style). I also don’t buy into the argument that dressing in this way is a feminist statement ( the whole “I am women… see me strip” line. ) It is fundamentally Hugh Hefner’s vision of women – not a feminist perspective.

    I do however, feel very strongly that young girls should not feel pressured (and YES popular culture and music videos in particular are to blame here) to be sexy too. I think some music clips are really just obscene…

    I LOVE that Missy Higgins chooses to put clothes on rather than take them off in her clips.

    Not saying music clips all need to be “Mickey Mouse Clubesque” (God knows that sanitised vision did not help Britney long term!) but a few more alternatives to the gyrating gangsta gals would be helpful. 🙂

  6. It’s my mind I’ll focus on, there is still so much to share and give..and what can big boobs offer? So I put on my robe and went over to my computer and thought about a new post for my blog. Hoping I’d think of something helpful to our families. Nothing clicked yesterday. I was working on the tree and our decorations, I think I was too focused.

    However, here you give me lots of things to write about on my own primitive blog.. Thanks and Ill be back..

    Dorothy from grammology
    call gram
    http://www.grammology.com

  7. I was just sent these fabulous song lyrics by English teacher Lisa Porter – loving the message!

    India Arie: “Video”

    Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
    Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t
    Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
    It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

    Chorus:
    I’m not the average girl from your video
    And I ain’t built like a supermodel
    But I learned to love myself unconditionally
    Because I am a queen
    I’m not the average girl from your video
    My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
    No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie

    When I look in the mirror the only one there is me
    Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be
    And I know our creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
    My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; I’m lovin what I see

    Chorus

    Am I less of a lady if I don’t wear pantyhose?
    My mama said a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows
    But I’ve drawn a conclusion, its all an illusion, confusion’s the name of the game
    A misconception, a mass deception
    Something’s gotta change

    Don’t be offended this is all my opinion
    Ain’t nothing that I’m sayin’ law
    This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share wit’ Y’all
    So get in where you fit in go on and shine
    Free your mind, now’s the time
    Put your salt on the shelf
    Go on and love yourself
    cuz everythings gonna be all right

    Chorus

    Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
    I don’t need that to have a good time
    Keep your expensive car and your caviar
    All I need is my guitar
    Keep your cristyle and your pistol
    I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal
    Don’t need your silicon I prefer my own
    What God gave me is just fine

    Chorus

  8. Justin

    I am very much a proponent of equality, especially as it related to what we teach our youth. I think it is important to teach people not to identify with what they see in the media. Media largely still does reflect society. It is not accurate to portray every woman as independently wealthy, secure with herself, and in a dream job career. Just as it is not accurate to portray husbands in commercials as people who don’t know how to replace the toilet paper. I am offended by the “dumb dad” advertising. I know there is an actual ad with dad being “toilet paper replacing” deficient, ads with horrified kids saying things like “Oh no! Dads making dinner!!”
    I think we need to always focus on teaching our students to see figures in the media as having positive or negative qualities – not necessarily overall positive, or overall negative. Role models can be a good thing, but also a dangerous thing if students buy in to a person being someone they want to replicate.

  9. Janine

    This is great! I love to read about positive roles and rolemodels for women and girls. Wonder Woman is strong, independent and smart-all while wearing a pwer outfit that shows her womanly figure! Not to mention the cuffs! (:
    Can I use the picture in a piece I am doing? It would be perfect!

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