Speaking of Women's Rights: Casting Call: Female Superhero wanted. Must Kick Ass. Pants Optional.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Casting Call:
Female Superhero wanted.
Must Kick Ass. Pants Optional.

As Glee’s Kurt Hummel says “every moment of your life is an opportunity for fashion.” I couldn’t agree more. Except, of course, when women are reduced to it, ala Michelle Obama, Elena Kagan, and – oh, I don’t know – every. other. freaking. female. who has risen to prominence in recent history. It seems that no matter what a woman is capable of, her worth still lies in the ability to rock the perfect outfit.

And here we go again…

It seems that our original knightess in shining armor – or bestarred leotard, if you will – is about to undergo a makeover. That’s right, nearly 70-year-old Wonder Woman is no longer hip enough for the new generation. Bloggers all across the web are frowning upon the addition of pants, the size of her bust, and her lack of muscles. Ms magazine seems to be the only publication in favor of the change, pointing out that Halloween has just been made easier for dozens of girls. Phew! Thank goodness.

Must everything surrounding women come down to fashion? Will we ever be able to do anything that upstages the clothing, makeup, or hairstyle that we do it in?

And while everyone is so busy discussing Wonder Woman's wardrobe, what's not being discussed is this: With the leaps and bounds we’ve made in the field of women’s rights, why is there still only one lead female superhero? Sure, you’ve got your Power Puff Girls, and your token X-Men characters (the umbrella of “X-MEN” making my point all the more clear). But where are the leading women among the potpourri of male comic book heros? It seems that though we’ve been chipping away at stereotypes around breadwinning, and in other roles previously monopolized by men, this one is here to stay.

Of further interest is the fact that the creator of Wonder Woman’s new look has said that he wanted her to look “strong, without screaming, ‘I’m a superhero.’” Yes, because no one likes a woman who screams anything too loudly. It’s hard not to see this change as the quieting of a great feminist icon. And really, looking at the pictures side-by-side, that’s what I DO see. But then, maybe I'm falling into the same old trap of judging a woman by her boots and leggings...