Where in the World is Wonder Woman?

by Jennifer Mach, George Mason University undergraduate student

Many people throughout the world know who Wonder Woman is. Her real name is Diana Prince and was created from clay on the beach of Themyscria—the Amazonian Island by her mother Hippolyta. Once coming to New York City to fulfill her duty as a hero, she teamed up with Batman and Superman, creating the Justice League. Wonder Woman is a legacy that many men and women look up to due to her strength. However, she is one of the only women on the team, is easily undermined when standing next to her co-founder, Superman and Batman. Diana is a great character that society does not see much of. There are a lot of movies and TV shows about Batman and Superman, but never about Wonder Woman. In the past, Wonder Woman has been an iconic idol for women, so where has she disappeared?

It all started during the 1940’s. World War II was at its peak and many U.S. soldiers were sent out to fight against the Axis Powers. Many women in the United States became more independent and took a more leading role around this time. This is also when the creation of the Wonder Woman comics and her iconic image became huge. However, once the men came back from WWII, women had to give up their jobs, and the Wonder Women era died down.

During the 1970’s-80’s the boys had Star Wars and Indiana Jones. All the character had some damsel to save, and easily won the women over. However, not every woman enjoys bring treated that way. When Wonder Woman (the television series) aired, women finally had something just like the men. They had the opportunity to stop the bad guys and be the one saving the man in trouble. However, once the television series was cancelled, Wonder Woman was rarely heard from again, and Star Wars and Indiana Jones became more iconic than Diana.

So, the question is: Where in the World is Wonder Woman? Where has she gone? Well here is the answer. She is dead. Not figuratively, but literally. In Diana’s story, the writers killed her off, making her a goddess of truth. This is surprisingly very common is the comic book world for female characters. A website called “Women in Refrigerators” was established in 1994 listing all the female characters who have been brutally murdered. The number of deaths is significantly higher compared to the male character population. Many of the women such as the Huntress and Black Canary have been raped, murdered, zapped, tortured, and maimed by villains. It has caused so much outrage in the public view that a few character had to be revived. Even though Wonder Woman was a character that was killed, she ended up being resurrected and continued her role as heroine, pretending as if nothing happened. Yet, ever since then, has there been any notion to her existence?

Even though it can be sad to see that Wonder Woman may be “dead” in today’s society, that are certainly other women who have picked up her role. The feminist movement has made a big change, and more women are taking charge. Lately, Michelle Obama has been stressing the idea of healthy living for children. She has been making inspiring campaigns, talks, and visits to the people about this problem. However, the media saw her eating ribs and instantly called her a hypocrite and liar. Thus, this has made her a strong female role that was also thrown into the “refrigerator” by the media. In addition, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has made great changes in trying to improve and focus on Foreign Policy. However, the media cannot stop their faultfinding and call Clinton out on her looks and naivety, causing her to be another woman wrongfully placed in the “refrigerator.” Angelina Jolie is a strong female actress who states who mind and doesn’t seem fazed by the media. Although she is a strong woman who many can look up to, she is also seen as an immense sex symbol, and can be a difficult role model for young girls.

Even though many women are making great and positive movements to helping the country, many of the young girls today are getting side tracked. This is a critical moment when more powerful women need to be in pop culture and not seen as only sex symbols. Just about every girl grew up with Wonder Woman, either reader his in comics, watching her in cartoons, and seeing her on merchandise. She is the most famous heroine in the United States, and she doesn’t need a man to prove her worth. Girls need a woman like Diana in their life to know that there is more to makeup, clothes, and boys. The world is in danger, and women need a reminder by Wonder Woman to show how much strength they have.

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“What are the consequences for women when they are strong?” Watch this video for interviews with pop culture excerpts and feminists about female superheros.

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2 thoughts on “Where in the World is Wonder Woman?”

  1. Jen,

    You’ve done a great job of succinctly incorporating the history of Woman Wonder and her contemporary legacy–while also introducing us to this newer site, Women in Refrigerators, which provokes further questioning of media’s understanding of women and their roles in society. Here is a clear-cut example of how women get objectified and then punished for their bodies.

    Nice work.
    Sheila

    Reply

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