Skip to main content

Wonder Woman Story


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.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …

The Ice Storm

Twenty-eight years ago today was, of course, another Valentine's Day. It was also the day that a great ice storm swept through Champaign County, laying waste to the urban centers of Champaign-Urbana. I was a resident of Champaign at the time, and remember it (mostly) well, though certain exact details are now lost to memory.
February of 1990 saw me living on the north side of town. Mom and I (and her then-partner and step-kids) had moved over to a house in north Champaign. My maternal grandmother, Gummy, having recently moved back to town from Wisconsin, rented a small, cozy house in Urbana. My father still lived in Champaign, in a condo in the south part of town.