Snarky's Cinemachine: Wonder Woman Puts on Pants!
Talk of DC Comics' polarizing makeover of Wonder Woman managed to eclipse—well—Twilight: Eclipse. At least among my friends. Fellow I Fry Mine in Butter contributor, Chriso said:
Are? You? Shitting? Me? THIS is the new iconic costume for the new direction Wonder Woman is being taken in?!?! Because of course, gentle readers, a new costume for a female hero always signals a Major Change in Her Storyline. And since writers cannot seem to stop fucking with Wonder Woman's origin, storyline and general life as a character, she gets tweaked once again to boost flagging sales instead of realizing that the spectacular lack of consistency she's experienced in her 600 issues might have ANYTHING to do with it.
My bestie Jessica said:
I can accept a great many upgrades to the Wonder Woman iconography, but I cannot accept these disrespectful changes. They have altered every physical detail I felt embodied the character.
Raymond J astutely noted:
That is the JCPenney teen catalog version of Wonder Woman and it makes me pretty irate too. I didn't realize she was plagued with so many origin story rewrites either!
To be fair, based on the above image alone, I did not fully appreciate the outrage. It appeared Wonder Woman's ass kicking-capabilities were not diminished despite the lack of star spangled panties and glamorous accessories. However, when I saw this picture of the new costume, then the ire made a lot more sense. The new Wonder Woman looks like an extra on the 90s version of Melrose Place with her small hair and velvet choker. She looks like Bella from Twilight or a moody goth girl, which is not keeping with the compassionate, confident, intelligent grownup I remember from my childhood. I saw Wonder Woman in every empowered grownup woman I knew. Maybe it's my paternal Southern roots or the fact that I spent the better part of the 90s dancing in hot pants and go-go boots, but I like me some big Wonder Woman hair! I find its erasure the most painful to accept.
While I don't dislike upgrades to cherished characters—if they feel holistic and don't send fans over a barrel—I'm not feeling this Wonder Woman makeover, for exactly the reasons outlined so eloquently by Chriso. I am all for respectful invigoration of beloved franchises, particularly if they find a way of using the opportunity for greater inclusion and diversity. Based on the pictures, this does not appear to be the case in this instance. Maybe it's my own teen geekiness rearing its head, but with this visual reboot, Wonder Woman has gone from someone who looked like she could tackle the bullies I dealt with to becoming the girl who mocked my chub in gym class! More importantly, as more and more of my childhood pop culture becomes watered down and repackaged, devoid of the elements which made it so initially appealing, I'm not inclined to assume benevolence on the part of creators. The changes make assumptions about gender I find problematic. Some of the supportive commentary alludes to female obsession with image and costuming, like these remarks by writer J. Michael Straczynski:
If you're going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility... What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?
Not everyone's expressing outrage over the costume change. On Facebook, my friend Hank offered this explanation:
It's for a specific year-long storyline where gods re-write history so that most of the Amazons are killed off sometime in the past. She's snuck out as a baby or toddler and raised in a city by ordinary humans, thus the updated clothing. She discovers her abilities over time, and tries to undo the "fix". I'm pretty sure it's not just a "let's put WW in pants" thing. Also, the new bracelets leave a W imprint when she hits you with them, and that's kinda cool.
In addition, DC Comics has an ally in '70s Wonder Woman herself, Ms. Lynda Carter!
"I think Wonder Woman has a mind of her own. And I think she was just kind of ready for something new," Lynda said. "She's got an attitude and if this is the new thing that she wants to wear, well, by God, she's going to wear it. And I like that. And I hope that in the story someone mentions, where's the old one? And she says, get over it!"
Ms. Carter, I appreciate your attempt to bring us all together in the spirit of understanding. As Wonder Woman, if anyone can "stop a war with love" it's you! Change our minds and change the world, Wonder Woman!
So, Bitch, yay or nay?
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