Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gloria Steinem's Adventures with Wonder Woman

Dork Note: In 1971Holt, Reinhart and Winston put out a hardcover collection of Wonder Woman stories from the Golden Age. The TPB/Hardcover was grouped into four themes: Origins, Sisterhood, Politics, and Romance. Each section/theme are introduced by Gloria Steinem.

The book received quite a bit of media attention and sparked a backlash against the then currently running "Non-Super" Wonder Woman, who lost her powers in Wonder Woman #178 (1968)
Clipped from Wikipedia: Gloria Steinem, who grew up reading Wonder Woman comics, was a key player in the restoration. Steinem, offended that the most famous female superheroine had been depowered, placed Wonder Woman (in costume) on the cover of the first issue of Ms. (1972) The costume used on the cover of Ms. was very much like the Silver Age version of the costume, but in one way it was unlike anything that the character had worn before. Steinem's version wore the red high-heeled boots that the character had worn off and on – most recently in issues #157 – #177 of her magazine. The eagle on her costume was also the newer, stylized version. However, the character's original incarnation had worn a skirt, and more recent versions had sported shorts; Steinem's version wore what was essentially the bottom half of a bathing suit.
Wonder Woman's powers and traditional costume were restored in issue #204 (1973)
Dork Note: When Jim Lee redesigned Wonder Woman and JMS rebooted her story (of course; which lasted for a mere brief moment) Gloria Steinem had a few words to share.
Clipped from Purse Pundit

"There are at least two things about the Wonder Woman change that are in the Olympics of blunders.

First, the guys doing this -- and they seem to be all guys -- cite no research from the generations of girls and women who've loved Wonder Woman ever since she was invented during World War II; an alternative to the sadism and gore in boys' comic books that were so extreme, they inspired a Congressional hearing. Instead, Wonder Woman converted her adversaries, compelled them to tell the truth with her magic lasso, and otherwise made the world safe for girls, women and democracy.

I don't have a big issue with jeans versus skirt -- though jeans give us the idea that only pants can be powerful -- tell that to Greek warriors and sumo wrestlers -- and though in fact, they're so tight that they've just painted her legs blue; hardly a cover-up. I have an issue with changing her clothes and destroying home and family on what seems to be the brainstorming of a very limited group pf brains.

Second, the new Wonder Woman birth myth has her arriving as a baby after her Amazon home of Paradise Island is destroyed; an exact copy of Superman who came as a baby from the exploding planet Crypton. This destroys her home, her Amazon mother and sisters, and gives her no place to go to gain strength and create an inspiring story line; something the original Wonder Woman often did.
As in the late '60s when Wonder Woman creators took away all her magical powers -- and would have perished along with them, had not Ms. magazine come to the rescue with a lobbying campaign to restore them -- I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again.
The original Wonder Woman was changing the world to fit women. This one seems changed to fit the world."

Gloria Steinem

1 comment:

Geordiegreenlantern said...

Good Stuff! I found your blog while writing my own and doing a special on Wonder Woman. Despite being male, I consider myself a feminist and carried my geekery and feminism through uni, in which I forced through a dissertation on comics and manga! Funnily enough I haven't read Wonder Woman#176 so I might just write about the possibilities on offer lol. Anyway I thought your blog was worthy of following. I'm following back as Geordiegreenlantern.blogspot.co.uk btw.