This is a dark summer for geek girls. Though superhero and comic book-based films are all the rage these days, it's male crime-fighters who get all the attention: there are no films starring female superheroes on the horizon.
I've asserted several times in this series that bars were, traditionally, male spaces. It wasn't until checking Christine Sismondo's phenomenal history America Walks Into a Bar out from my local library that I found out this was not just an informal taboo: in the decades after Prohibition, many bars explicitly banned women, or banned them from visiting during certain hours.
There were a few reasons for this, depending on the region and the bar: first, during World War II, as was the case in many other fields, women went into traditionally male occupations, including bartending (in some cases forming barmaids' unions). When men came back from the war, they formed their own, all-male unions to muscle female bartenders out. But bars did employ women during the postwar era – just not to pour drinks. Instead, "B-girls" employed by the bar would show up, pretending to be nurses or secretaries on their way home from work, and charm the male clientele into buying them drink after drink. After several drinks, the woman in question – usually called a "B-girl" – would disappear, leaving her companion with an artificially inflated bar tab: he'd be charged for cocktails even as the in-the-know bartenders had been pouring one glass of juice, soda pop or iced tea after another.
The ensuing moral panic (which focused on protecting the male victims, and didn't concern itself one way or another with the women involved in the work) had the result that many bars banned women from visiting, or just from visiting during certain hours. And, of course, there were the bars that had never opened their doors to women in the first place, or just refused to serve unaccompanied women.
To be fair, based on the above image alone, I did not fully appreciate the outrage. It appeared Wonder Woman's ass kicking capabilities did not seem 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.
One of the most exciting events of New York Comic Con this year was the world premiere of the new Wonder Woman animated film that will be available on DVD March 3, 2009. No, it's not the big screen action film that Wonder Woman deserves. A whole mess of people - including Joss Whedon - have tried to make that film over the past several years, and all have failed. But this Wonder Woman adaptation is an important milestone for the title, as it joins the ranks of Superman: Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight as the fourth installment of the highly successful line of direct-to-DVD movies created by DC and Warner Bros.