Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wonder Woman's New Look Isn't So Wonderful

First The Karate Kid gets the Hollywood re-treatment and now this; Wonder Woman gets a new outfit. Last Wednesday, DC Comics revealed that they'd tossed out her iconic look for leggings and *shudder* a cropped jacket. The DC Comics press release says, "What woman only wears one outfit for 70 years? What woman doesn’t accessorize?" but the real question is, what woman accessorizes a bustier with a friggin cropped jacket and choker?! True, the toned-down flag motif fits better with today's aesthetics but this Wonder Woman is almost unrecognizable. She looks just a bit too average. Plus, Gloria Steinem makes an additional point. This new costume sends the message that only pants are powerful.

There's a great piece on Politics Daily about why the new Wonder Woman may not be what we need. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941 after his wife urged for an alternative to the testosterone-fueled comics available at the time. She filled a void of physical beauty and physical power. Wonder Woman was steeped in mythology; she was an Amazon, daughter of Hippolyta, and made her wristbands were made from pieces of Athena's shield. Her alter ego was Diana, the goddess of the hunt. In short, she was everything, combining uberfemininity (as Diana was also a fertility goddess covered in breasts) and the balls that makes a woman cut off her breast so she can shoot her bow and arrow (luckily for us, Wonder Woman has both her boobs).

Shortly after creating her, Marston wrote, "Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world." Now, D.C. wants her to be born in the land of the Amazons but taken away as an infant just as her mother and most of the other Amazons are killed. She grows up in our world and becomes "street-wise" (their word) and tough, trying to rescue the rest of the Amazons. To be honest, this sounds suspiciously like Dune: one race with superior powers but few resources fighting to regain control of what's theirs. We'll see how fans react to the new storyline, but DC will have to work hard to make sure they complicate a feminist symbol without destroying it.


  1. Great post, Desiree. I saw this in the news last week and I think maybe there's too much political correctness being involved in this, as I heard DC Comics wanted to tone down WW's sexiness and cover her up somewhat. Devil's advocate - I didn't like it when Dora the Explorer got a modern day tween makeover. So, not sure what the happy medium would be. Your line about matching the bustier with the cropped jacket and choker cracked me up!

  2. I'm sorry but cropped jackets are just criminal.

    She's wearing what essentially looks like a cat suit like *duh* Cat Woman. I agree with you on Dora's makeover...just let her be a little girl! The tweens will switch to watching One Tree Hill or whatever crap's on TV these days.


Thanks so much for your comments!