The much cited difficulties regarding putting Wonder Woman on film—Wonder Woman isn’t big enough, and neither are Gal Gadot’s breasts—aren’t chiefly about Wonder Woman, or comic books, or superheroes, or movies. They’re about politics. Superman owes a debt to science fiction, Batman to the hardboiled detective. Wonder Woman’s debt is to feminism. She’s the missing link in a chain of events that begins with the woman-suffrage campaigns of the nineteen-tens and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later. Wonder Woman is so hard to put on film because the fight for women’s rights has gone so badly.
The Last Amazon: Wonder Woman Returns. (it is not currently behind a paywall, since I was able to read it.)
Most of this is really interesting, and I have definitely thought a lot about how complicated reactions to and opinions about Wonder Woman mirror complicated reactions to and opinions about feminism. And oh god, it says something deeply depressing that the biggest debates still going on about Wonder Woman are about what she should wear and look like.
But. It is also a pet peeve of mine when people seem to assume that Wonder Woman, and feminism, were frozen in amber in 1972. And that somehow things were *better* then??? Like, what? Things got messier after that and far more complicated. Some of it was because of an external backlash and sexist bullshit in response to actual advances. But some things were because we had to start to try to address things like race and class, in addition to the problems faced by middle-class white women, when feminism was called to account for the people it was not helping or centering, for the people it was leaving out. It got harder. In some ways it got harder because of religious conservatism and a fear of women and other such crap. But in some ways it needed to get harder. It got harder to put in a tagline that you can reduce to a character point in a movie, oh darn. And the answer can’t be going back to when it seemed simpler, even if it sounds good and comfortable to say so. Wonder Woman and feminism both survived 1972 and the ERA and kept swinging,
tl;dr I thought some of this was interesting, and a bunch of this is depressing as hell—we ARE still fighting for birth control in the US and that is scary stuff—but nostalgia sure as fuck isn’t the answer to anything involving feminism and women’s rights.
yes mom i know my room is a mess its a metaphor for my life im trying to be poetic