Wonder Woman Arguement
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In the writing Wonder Woman, Gloria Steinem states that Wonder Woman is a feminist symbol and promotes feminism among the youth. Mrs. Steinem also states that in other comics, other than Wonder Woman, women are always the ones being saved and rescued which promotes a feeling of female inferiority. These and other sentiments illustrated in Wonder Woman are completely contradictory to my thoughts and beliefs on the comic Wonder Woman. Although Gloria Steinem shows many interesting examples and reasoning for her thesis, I find other contradictory meanings to the same examples. In the following paragraphs I will be proving my theory that Wonder Woman does not promote feminism and other comics are not putting women below men.
The first problem I see with the Gloria Steinem’s argument is the age group targeted for the original Wonder Woman comic. I remember as a young kid reading comic books at face value, I did not look into the deeper issues that the comic book might have portrayed such as gender roles. Although I did not spend all of my time reading comic books when I was younger, I did not read them thinking that women were inferior or weaker than men because they were getting rescued. In fact, many times men are the ones getting saved, just as Gloria Steinem pointed out in this example, “Even in comic books, heroes sometimes work in groups or are called upon to protect their own kind…”. This shows that the comics have men getting saved just as well as women. But at the age of many comic book readers it does not matter what gender the hero or the person getting saved is. Normal children at comic book reading ages cannot grasp the deep concept of “feminism” or “gender roles”. These readers simply read comic books for the excitement and interesting aspects that the story line offers.
Wonder Woman is not the only comic that features a female superhero or females in a position of power. I went through a long stage when I was younger of being a big fan of the Power Rangers. Although not directly related to comics the Power Rangers, which are directed towards the same age group, show women in a position greater than or equal to the men around them. The group of Power Rangers consisted of several rangers that included both men and women. These women in the group are in a position that is equal to the other rangers. Another example of a comic heroine is Batwoman. This character was originally set out as a love interest for Batman but morphed into her own, independent, hero by 1956. She held a position that was almost identical to that of Batman, which shows that women were not subjugated and relegated to a second class citizen as Mrs. Steinem seems to believe.
These instances of women being equal to or in Batwoman’s case, greater than some men, shows that Wonder Woman could not be a feminist icon because it was a common thing to have a woman in a position that was on par with her male counterparts. These examples are concrete facts that disprove Gloria Steinem’s argument that Wonder Woman was the only female superhero consistently printed during her time. Gloria Steinem states in her writing that “this female super-hero was devoted to peace, justice, and liberty and freedom for all womankind.” This quote shows a very interesting thing to me. It shows that Wonder Woman was not for equality for all people, just equality for women. I do not believe that an icon that only wants equality for one group is a good thing. For example, I believe that everyone should be equal with no regard for race, gender, creed, or any other classification. It seems what Mrs. Steinem is trying to portray here is that equality for women is more important than equality for all. This, in my mind at least, is a very bad thing and I do not think that an icon that will not recognize the importance of other classifications of people is a good thing.
Wonder Woman was a great read for young and experienced comic book readers. Even though I do not agree with everything that was stated in the text I found that Mrs. Steinem made some very educational points. Because of age group targeted in this comic book I do not believe that this is a feminist movement. I also do not think that she was the only heroine around during her time, maybe she stayed around the longest but there are other comic book heroines. Although I haven’t picked up a comic book in years, there was a time when I kept up with that lifestyle. I hope my arguments were clear and maybe this will give comic book readers of this day and age a new look on an old heroine.