Today I read this on Alternet, and I must say I was quite disappointed. The article details a recent makeover that Wonder Woman has undergone “to toughen her up and give her a modern sensibility,” says J. Michael Straczynski, the new head writer for Wonder Woman (according to this New York Times article). The makeover corresponds to a change in Wonder Woman’s history that seems to detract from some of her power. Now I must say, I have never been really into either comic books or superheroes; however, for a time in my childhood, I did enjoy Wonder Woman, and I think that I have always appreciated her strong feminist nature. Therefore, I am not a fan of Wonder Woman’s new makeover. She has gone from being someone who is clearly strong and a force to be reckoned with to someone who could be easily overlooked.
This is part of a larger problem though – there is such a shortage of really strong female role models. And, to me, this just makes it worse. Sure, Wonder Woman was a character in a comic book, but she is also a fairly accepted part of pop culture. As the article reports, “(new)statistics from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media pertaining to female role models for young girls. In G rated movies, just one in three speaking roles is female and in PG and R rated films, about 73 percent of the characters are male. While there are notable exceptions, like Dora the Explorer and the girl superheroes in The Invincibles, young women are still hard pressed to find pop culture role models that look and sound like themselves.” In a time when TV is dominated with shows like 16 and Pregnant and the media is full of stories about young celebrities and sex scandals, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse, who are girls and young women supposed to look up to now?
While this is a perplexing question with seemingly no answers, we do know one thing: we need to create a place in pop culture and the mainstream media for more strong women to become easily accessible to girls and young women as role models.
P.S. Please revert Wonder Woman back to her original look and story!