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WHAT WOULD WONDER WOMAN DO? – Gun Control In America

Gun control. It’s a major hot topic in our society today. If you haven’t heard anything about it, then you need to crawl out from under that sub-aquatic Atlantean rock your hiding, and join us surface dwellers. The arguments both for and against gun control have galvanized our country on both sides. Personally, I’m probably not the best person to ask about gun control. You see, my father was a life-long police officer (he retired as captain of the state police), and my step-father is a hunter. So, guns weren’t a big deal for me growing up. I pretty much equate them with the way that knives are kept in any household; They’re kept in a certain place, have a specific function, and are only brought out when needed. My view is based on my upbringing. So, I think it best that I defer to someone who can quell the opposing sides, and maybe offer us a more tranquil solution. But who would that be? Gail Simone had an idea. She was once quoted as saying, “When you need to stop an asteroid you get Superman. When you need to solve a mystery, you call Batman…But when you need to end a war, you get Wonder Woman!” So, today when I ponder gun control, I ask the age old question…What Would Wonder Woman Do?

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First appearance of Wonder Woman in ALL STAR COMICS #8 1941.

Wonder Woman was conceived in World War II by psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston III. Her first comic book appearance was December 1941. That’s the same month which marked the end of America’s isolation from World War II; aka the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was a direct response to war and a time of crisis for not just America, but for the world. Dr. Marston took a psychological approach to addressing this crisis. He looked at the nature of man and theorized that many of the roots of anger, hate, combat, and things that caused war, were in masculine aggression. Like any good psychologist, Dr. Marston knew that in order to shift this occurrence, the root of the problem would need to be addressed. He theorized that a race of women, whose natures were more nurturing, would minister to this global issue of masculine aggression. He chose them to be Amazons. These Amazons would choose the best and brightest of their race, and send her to our patriarchal society in messiah-like fashion, to heal us and lead us to a better way. This choice would be made by a series of tests of skill. Now, Wonder Woman had numerous messages throughout her book on the topics of: philosophy, religion, society, psychology, truth, love, power, the environment, and health. However, it’s the 21st and final test she was required to take to prove herself as emissary to America, which I believe has the most blatant and powerful message on gun control.

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In Wonder Woman’s first origin story she receives the hero call to action in the form of a contest. This contest, per Aphrodite’s decree, would prove who would be the Amazon to accompany an American Army Officer back to the US and in the Goddess of Love’s words would, “…help fight the forces of hate and oppression.” The ‘final and greatest test of all’ in the contest would be the deciding factor to identify who would best represent the Amazon nation in patriarchal society. This test was called ‘bullets and bracelets’. Basically, a gun would be shot at you, and you’d have to catch or ‘deflect’ the bullets with your bracelets. First off, let’s just note that this is the first and only time guns are really seen on Paradise Island in Marston’s writings. That in itself is clear and direct message about the control of guns. One can only assume that guns had a time and a place on Paradise Island, and that place was NOT in everyday society. I mean, you didn’t see these women running around with guns at their sides. It just wasn’t necessary. One can infer that in Marston’s original writings guns were kept in the confines of the sporting arena where the contest took place. My mom has a great saying about this which she derives from the bible. ‘There is a time and place for everything!” Dr. Marston’s Amazons clearly knew the time and the place.

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Second, let’s touch upon the fact that bullets and bracelets was the ‘final and greatest’ test to traveling to what the Amazon’s called patriarch’s world. There was a clear emphasis on guns being a representation of the male dominated society. Simultaneously, guns were a reflection of the war transpiring in the world outside of Paradise Island. An item being the amalgamation of war in a male dominated society points to one thing: Guns represented the ultimate expression and physical manifestation of masculine aggression. What was most fascinating is that the game of ‘bullets and bracelets’ utilizes an article of feminine jewelry to combat and DEFLECT this energy. Coincidence? I think not. Her people were given a decree by Aphrodite, the personification of love, to find said emissary. And her (Wonder Woman’s) final test of competency against war is to literally take aggressive energy and refocus or redirect it. Take a moment and marinate on that.

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Wonder Woman (Diana) in one of the original depictions of the test of Bullets and Bracelets.

I’m not going to go on and on pontificating on this topic. I think it’s pretty clear where Marston’s Wonder Woman would stand on the topic of gun control in society. Her final and greatest test was to understand how to redirect the aggressive energy, and guns were considered the physical manifestation of it. The messages of peace, equality, and truth were clearly the foundation of the character, and are found throughout his scripts. Wonder Woman’s greatest weapon on her mission of love was truth (aka her magic lasso), and I feel that we could all use a dose of truth these days. The truth is that in nearly 75 years after her creation, not much has changed with hate, oppression, and violent aggression. And not much has changed regarding guns. So, What Would Wonder Woman Do on the topic of gun control? Well, I think she would be for it. Not because I, you, or anyone else really wants it….but because we need it.

“Stop a bullet cold. Make the Axis fold. Change their minds, and change the world!” – Lyrics to 1st season 1970s Wonder Woman theme song.

A more modern take on Wonder Woman in an 'Amazon Salute' drawn by Nicola Scott.

A more modern take on Wonder Woman in an ‘Amazon Salute’ drawn by Nicola Scott.

 

A more modern (late 1980s) take on the Bullets and Bracelets test. Written and drawn by George Perez.

A more modern (late 1980s) take on the Bullets and Bracelets test. Written and drawn by George Perez.

Brian J. Patterson
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Brian J. Patterson (contributing writer) is a commercial, film, and theatre actor based in California. He works in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, with some appearances in New York City. His writing for Ace Of Geeks primarily centers around awareness of diversity and positive representation in entertainment. A self proclaimed ‘geek’ having proudly accumulated a comic book collection which has surpassed a net worth of approximately $12K, Brian usually focuses on the ‘comics (or sci-fi) 2 film’ genre. He is honored to have been given the opportunity to work with AceOfGeeks, loves geek culture, and especially loves interacting with fans. His three life dreams are: 1) to be cast as a lead character on a Sci-Fi channel show, 2) be the first openly gay action-film star, and 3) later host a television show which explores diversity within geek culture. You can connect with Brian on all his social media accounts by visiting www.brianjpatterson.com.

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