Wonder Woman is receiving a lot of attention these days. If you’re a lifelong fan like me, then you’re probably receiving an influx of friends (both close and distant), texting, facebooking, messaging; Saying things like, “Did you hear about…?” I always find this to be an entertaining question (and fodder for jokes), because it’s usually a non-fan asking someone who is an avid fan and has a life long love and dedication to the character. The two things that I’ve personally been contacted about the most as of late are: 1) current scribe Greg Rucka calling her ‘queer’, and 2) Wonder Woman being honored at the United Nations.
If your inner voice just went, “queer???”, then you probably don’t know that just prior to October 11th, 2016 aka National Coming Out Day (Well played, DC Comics!), current Wonder Woman scribe and all around genius Greg Rucka, in a September 28, 2016 interview with Comicosity, came right out and said that Wonder Woman is queer. The cacophony of audible clatter and giggling you heard all around the world at the time, was the collective of Wonder Woman fans chatting and laughing because DC Comics finally succumbed to the power of Hestia’s golden lasso of truth, and stayed silent while someone who was directly involved with the character said what Wonder Woman fans everywhere have known forever. That Wonder Woman is inherently a queer character.
I have this friend named Katherine. She has some really amazing one liners and go to phrases. One of my favorites is when she looks at me with one eyebrow raised and says, “It’s dark.” The line is from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where Arthur Dent says about the universe that “It’s dark.” and Ford Prefect mentions in narration how he found it difficult to understand humans, “…habit of continually stating and repeating the obvious…” Katharine would often recite “It’s dark” to me when we encountered someone stating the obvious, and I laugh every time. This is exactly how I perceived Rucka’s most recent quote about Wonder Woman. It was just more stating of the obvious. The character had received serious scrutiny during her creation in the 40s, where it was claimed that she promoted homosexual and/or perverse behavior. Although Dr. Marston was brilliant enough to be so ambiguously obvious with his material that he was able to continue his work, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall. Especially considering the creator’s personal history, parallels to his work, actual MENTIONS in his work (read Emotions of Normal People), and the cultural context into which Wonder Woman was written. I have to say, though, this was an absolutely BRILLIANT move on the part of DC Comics. The company allowed an independent contractor to identify the most iconic female character in the world (which is currently owned by DC Comics) as a member of the LGBTQ community. It was all done just after the first year anniversary of marriage equality, just prior to National Coming Out Day in the US, AND in the year prior to the Wonder Woman film’s release. Perfect timing. Keep in mind, if there was backlash, the company could reject an independent contractor’s statements. We have heard nothing yet and the Wonder Woman buzz continues to abound….brilliant move DC!
The second thing I’ve been contacted about as of late, is the United Nation’s appointment of Wonder Woman as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. The ceremony took place today, October 21, 2016. A great year for Wonder Woman to assume this mantle for many reasons, but two in particular come to mind. First off, it’s her 75th anniversary, and what a perfect birthday present that would be to celebrate the life of one of the original feminist icons and also the life’s work of self proclaimed feminist Dr. William Moulton Marston. Second, this year we had the first female nomination for presidential candidate, and what better way to celebrate that then have another historically iconic female as a symbol of female empowerment.
You can watch the video of the UN ceremony here.
However, not all are in accord with this decision. The New York Times reports that “More than 600 UN staff members have signed an online petition, calling on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a self proclaimed feminist, to reconsider the appointment of the fictitious superhero as it’s ambassador for women’s empowerment.” Apparently, advocating for the empowerment of women and girls is a job that not everyone agrees she can handle. Well, it seems that history is repeating itself as Wonder Woman was doubted during her inception. Most thought that a female superhero couldn’t hold her weight, but Wonder Woman proved them wrong, and this wouldn’t be the last time. Her popularity with both boys AND girls soared in the 40s, and she empowered women and girls when she became the first female member of the Justice League as depicted here:
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls when she became a symbol of the 70’s women’s movement by gracing the cover of Ms. Magazine:
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls when she proved that a woman could hold the lead of a popular television show; when Lynda Carter donned the costume (and did many of her own stunts) for three seasons:
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls when she took on women’s equality and reproductive rights in this issue of the comic written by Phil Jimenez:
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls’ health when she was a stand for breast cancer awareness:
(And had an entire fundraising event started in her honor: https://www.wonderwomanwalk.org/)
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls to embrace their sexuality when she came out as a member of the LGBTQ community:
Wonder Woman empowered women and girls when she (in the comics) became an official ambassador from her nation:
and will continue to empower women and girls by becoming the UN ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls today:
Very much like another woman I am aware of in politics today, Wonder Woman has an extensive history of advocating not just for the empowerment of women and girls, but for all people. Her impact culturally has been resonating for decades with women and humanity as a whole. For me personally, wonder woman has been a symbol of equality, and example of humanity. Phil Jimenez (who I look up to very much) once expressed in an incredibly eloquent and articulate manner, exactly how I felt. He said that, “…one of the things that makes Wonder Woman terrific is that when she walks into a room, her very spirit makes you want to be better; makes you want to be good, and do good, for yourself and for those around you. Her innate goodness matters because, in play, it inspires others to greater goodness. And if you’ve ever been with someone who does that (and I have), you know how potent a power that truly is.” That is who Wonder Woman is. She shows up and IS the work that we should do every day, and has proven over 75 years, that she not only empowers women and girls, but goes above and beyond the task. Therefore, I reject each and every notion that she is not fit to be ambassador to the U.N., and I suspect that many more will as well. Besides, Wonder Woman originated as a piece of political and psychological propaganda meant to better humanity…why should that change now?
So, Wonder Woman fans and those who contact them about upcoming events and media regarding the character (for which there will be many as the push for the movie continues), take the time to follow her example. Use the opportunity to connect, to appreciate, to inspire, to better, and to empower each other. We have the power to change the world, as long as we are in service of love and wisdom. Thanks, Dr. Marston.