As a kid, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.
This isn't a confession of some sort of sexuality (not more than what regular readers and friends already know). I simply liked the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV series (1975-1979) and, like most fantasy characters that kids enjoy (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc.) I wanted to dress-up and role play as them. In the case of Wonder Woman, it would have meant wearing a more feminine-defined garb.
Such childhood thoughts came back to me recently, no doubt spurred by the Wonder Woman movie released in theaters this week. That movie may be good, but it will never be the show that first introduced me to the character, in all its '70s glory. When I watch it now its corniness bleeds through, but as a kid, it was pure gold. Lots of fun and adventure.
Lynda Carter, who portrayed the titular character, was beautiful. But beauty isn't the sole requirement to inhabit such a role. She carried herself well. She brought a certain gravitas, not only to Wonder Woman, but to her alter-ego, Diana Prince. Season One was set during World War II but, due to budget constraints that period pieces often incur, the remaining seasons were brought forward to the present day (in this case the 1970s). Truthfully, I prefer the WWII setting, but understand the need to leave it behind.
So, dear reader, about that desire to be Wonder Woman.
Obviously, we're looking at the standard Wonder Woman costume. Like most other female super heroes who are created by heterosexual men, she was dressed rather scantily. Male super heroes simply aren't costumed in such a manner. Robin, the Boy Wonder, is an exception that comes to mind, but when he is realized for movies or TV, they either make him fully clothed or, in the case of the 1960's TV show, make him wear some sort of leggings, lest his bare legs be exposed.
I remember wanting to ask my parents if I could have a Wonder Woman costume, so I could look and act just like her! The golden crown, the high boots and the Lasso of Truth. Oh, and that twirl! Of course, the rest of the outfit would have accompanied. I was still young enough to not give any thought that there were gender roles (and attire) in this world, and so I innocently asked my parents. They weren't having it, my dad especially. It was not unlike the reaction provided when I asked for a Strawberry Shortcake play set. "Boys don't play with those," dad had said.
And that was that. No Wonder Woman costume, no Strawberry Shortcake play set. Granted, my life wasn't ruined by the withholding of those things, but they were moments of clarity about how the world worked, moments that helped impress upon me how gender roles were established. Nowadays we are (refreshingly) seeing some gender bending going on, some of it without raising an eyebrow. Back in the day, it simply wasn't the case.
Hopefully, in 2017, we can pick our favorite super heroes without worrying about what sex or gender they are, and just have fun. It's clothing, costumes, etc. It's all a social construct. We have far more pressing matters to concern ourselves with than a kid who wants to dress-up as his favorite super hero. Whomever she may be.