The Public Faces of Wonder Woman

Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio

As the character which is probably the most famous of all female superheroes (though not necessarily the most popular, especially among fans) Wonder Woman takes on a different meaning outside of the realm of comic fans.  These meanings are somewhat widespread for the uninformed.  She appears as a standard for all things old fashioned, as a strong woman, as the token female super hero, a sex symbol or even as a gay symbol.  Each of these has its own derivation but most come from some aspect of the character’s portrayal in popular culture and most of which does not seem to come from a strong understanding of the comics.  In late January pictures were revealed showing Miranda Kerr posing in a Wonder Woman costume for the Australian magazine Grazia.  This is the case where the character is being used to portray something outside of the typical norm, as this essentially focuses primarily on her beauty and the connection to which Kerr has become famous and a supermodel.  While this is an interesting promotional venture, it still kind of shows the lack of understanding about the character, as the Daily Mail article associated with the article asks if she can leap a building in a single bound, a phrase much more often associated with Superman.  



In the lead-in to the trade paperback introducing the character’s redesign following the reboot in issue 600 of volume 3, Jim Lee said part of the change was needed as the character had become stale and boring, and despite her actual demeanour and character in comics that the perception of her was that she had the same appeal as spending time with one’s grandmother (this is all from memory and thus paraphrased somewhat.)  Despite this association within comics, it is still interesting to note that outside of comics that the same association did not stick as essentially if you put an attractive woman in a bathing suit that people will find her sexually attractive.  The same can be said here for the slave girl version of Princess Leia, a portrayal of the character which dominates many non-Star Wars fans concept of the character.  While Wonder Woman may not be actually as famous in her role as a sex symbol, it is nonetheless there.  In one instance in the show the OC, Rachel Bilson’s character dressed up as Wonder Woman in which she seduced one of the other main characters (I never watched the OC, can you tell?)  Yet as Jim Lee said, this is not always reflected among comic fans.  Sex appeal, attractiveness and beauty being highly subjective, there are still many that will argue that Diana does not rank highly in any of these categories. 



 As opposed to how the character is portrayed outside of comics, one of the more interesting ones is actually her role as a gay icon or gay symbol.  This actually has little (or really nothing) to do with the original assertions by Wertham that she was a practicing lesbian.  In fact although it would make sense for the character herself, who is basically a champion of all humanity,  the connection here is not as clear.  Instead it depends on the connection to the actress, Lynda Carter, who has been a strong advocate of gay rights in her public life, and as she is associated most strongly in her acting career with Wonder Woman, the character has become a symbol in this way as well, sort of by proxy.  


 Of course these are not the only ways in which the character is viewed outside the spectrum of comic book fans.  Even among the fans she is often seen as a character that is not perceived as cool, but it is interesting to note that as the character leaves the realm of direct relevance to the comic book fan that she transforms into something else.  For the fans of the character they are able to discern what is real and what is not as she enters the realm of pop culture, for the rest she represents generally what is portrayed to them. 

#1 Edited by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

I am a big fan of the last picture. I love those cute little guys.

I think it would actually be pretty cool if DC turned Diana into a lesbian like they did with Batwoman. She is a lot more famous than Batwoman is and it would help with public appreciation and awareness/tolerance. Though I don't know how true to the character it would be. However I don't really see her as a person who is really attracted to people that much.

#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio
@Daveyo520: Hmm, I am very much against the lesbian idea, not as being opposed to gay people, just as being opposed on gender lines, mainly because Batman or Superman will never be portrayed as homosexual, thus there would be a bit of a double standard.  Kind of off topic from what my post was about as well. I think all the most famous characters have this happen to them, just different in the case of Diana as she is the most famous female character.  
#3 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: That is very true, they will not be. Even though there has always been an air of lesbianism around Diana, either real or imagined but at least talked about, there has been much about Batman and Robin. Ya, it was only a little bit on topic with the talk of her being a symbol. As for being a sex symbol she most assuredly is, mostly from people who don't know comics. Though it is really easy for something to be turned into a sex symbol by the general public. It is always weird to see geek things in the eye of the public.

#4 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually being an icon was kinda touched on in Animal Man #1. Buddy Baker became somewhat of an underground sensation with well for a lack of a better word, hipsters. Since he was in the movies and famous for being an animal based super hero people saw him as a animal rights icon. They wore shirts with him on it and all the other things do with symbols and icons. It was a little novel to have that be talked about and happen within an issue itself.

#5 Posted by cattlebattle (13578 posts) - - Show Bio

These are some reasons why I enjoy Alex Ross' portrayal of Wonder Woman, she should be muscular and large....she is an Amazon after all, I do not understand the acceptance of her looking like a skinny super model. I mean she can be attractive and powerful at the same time...... 
I think its Wonder Womans clothing or lack there of more so than the actual character...she is clad like a stripper after all

#6 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

@cattlebattle: What comic book women isn't?

#7 Posted by cattlebattle (13578 posts) - - Show Bio
@Daveyo520 said:

@cattlebattle: What comic book women isn't?

LOL, I know.........well I guess Rogue isn't. The only thing that separates generally every comic book character from being naked is color
#8 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

@cattlebattle: Her costume is still sexual even if her skin is covered.

#9 Posted by jrock85 (2850 posts) - - Show Bio

If Wonder Woman isn't sexy, then the sky isn't blue.

#10 Posted by Pokeysteve (8780 posts) - - Show Bio

It's amazing how a sweet warrior woman like Wonder Woman could be a sex symbol. Especially when she's had zero notable love interests outside Steve Trevor back in the day.

#11 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pokeysteve: It's the boobs.

#12 Posted by Pokeysteve (8780 posts) - - Show Bio

@Daveyo520: Especially when they let Benes draw her lol He's a very talented artist but come on man!!

Ed Benes
#13 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pokeysteve: That's a lotta boob.

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