The Age of Wonder Woman

Article By: Anugraha Babuji

When I was exposed to my first Spider-Man movie, not only was I fascinated by the new genre, but I also wanted to explore more of the superhero world. From then on, I watched the other Spider-Man movies and even dressed up as Hulk for the premiers of the Hulk movies. Now what do all these superheroes have in common? They are strong and courageous MEN who fight to protect their communities and the whole human race. Notice the emphasis on the word “men.” In the world of superheroes, it is usually men who reign supreme. When you ask a child who their favorite superhero is, he or she will most probably list figures such as Iron Man, Thor, Batman, or Superman, or many others. But have you ever heard a child say, “My favorite superhero is Wonder Woman”? The answer to that is probably no.  But with Wonder Woman’s new movie, we may be entering a new age wherein female superhero become the new household favorites. The Age of Wonder Woman.

An Amazonian queen, a formidable warrior woman, and a defender of peace, Wonder Woman is widely considered a feminist figure. In a world full of testosterone-fueled male superheroes, the legendary Wonder Woman stands out as an iconic female superhero. With her Lasso of Truth and fearsome fighting skills, super villains everywhere are hard-pressed to defeat her. Though she had only a minor role in the recent Batman vs Superman movie, many fans have gotten hyped up about Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman. This feminist figure will feature in her own movie, which comes out in 2017. This movie is important in the fight for gender equality because it will be the first movie about a female superhero that is also directed by a woman.

Even though she is only now gaining more popularity because of her role in the male-dominated superhero world, Wonder Woman has done more than just serve her part as a superhero; she has helped to shape feminism. Despite not being the first female superhero — she was preceded by Black Widow, for instance — Wonder Woman was created by a proto-feminist, William Moulton Marston, whose distinct perspective shaped Wonder Woman’s character. Wonder Woman created an image for what Marston describes as “the new type of woman who should rule the world.” She represented feminist movement through which women gained confidence and started engaging in originally male-dominated tasks, such as entering the workforce, whilst men fought at war. However, the value of Wonder Woman as a feminist icon degraded as she became heavily sexualized in her portrayal and clothing. After all, her metal bikini certainly reminds one of overly sexualized pin-up models. Thus, it can be said that though Wonder Woman was originally a superhero who embodied and represented the feminist movements, over time her character became overly sexualized and in some ways hindered the feminist movement.

Will Wonder Woman’s new movie break barriers in gender equality, or will it simply be a failed attempt at promoting feminism due to the over sexualization of her character? We can only wait and see whether this movie will simply be an excuse for eye candy, or will actually be a platform to further promote feminism and break barriers in gender equality.