Jo’s Fashion Column: Wonder Woman
Drop-d’s resident fashionista Jo Linehan turns her eye on newly-returning DC Comics heroine Wonder Woman for her latest musings.
‘In your satin tights, fightin’ for your rights’ Wonder Woman – the feminist through the ages
With the impending release of the new Wonder Woman TV series I thought a brief history of the powerhouse in question was in order. Sure, we all know the costume but probably as a bad haloween outfit than the feminist salute it was first created for.
So who was Wonder Woman ? And how has her depiction through the years led her to her form today ?
Created in 1942 as part of the DC comic series, Wonder Woman was the brainchild of Doctor William Moulton Marston, a psychologist and feminist. Marston was ahead of the pack with his pro-feminist thinking and wanted to create a female character who was just as powerful and iconic as her DC male counterparts, free of the ‘damsel in distress’ stereotypes which had preceded her. Her powers included bullet repelling bracelets and a truth lasso both of which have interesting origins; Marston invented the lie detector (hence the lasso of truth connection) and it was well known that Wonder Woman would lose her powers if her wrists were bound together (a metaphor for female empowerment).
An Amazonian princess, Diana lived on Paradise Island inhabited only by beautiful women. When she learns of the Nazi movement in the Western world she leaves behind her secluded life to fight against the impending doom of America in the form of Wonder Woman. Yes, it’s propaganda at it’s lowest common denominator, check out those star spangled hot-pants!
Throughout the years the different adaptations of princess Diana have varied . Cathy Lee Crosby’s 1974 depiction as an American spy without any superpowers or costume remains a cheesy tarnish to the franchise while Linda Carter’s 1975 TV movie is a classic take on the character even today.
In 2009 an animated movie portrayed our leading lady in a much more violent tone. Set in a mythological war, Wonder Woman is a sword wielding martial artist and skilled warrior. The film interprets the female – only island of the characters origin as a symbolic representation of the lack of understanding between woman and man and Wonder Woman’s exploration of the world is a breaking down of barriers between the sexes.
Marston was idealistic in his creation of wonder woman , she always triumphed over the men who stood against her. For this reason I’ve always wondered if her costume was a symbol of empowerment or an ironic twist in the ‘we’re taking women seriously now!’ campaign. Her ample chest, thighs of steel and gold plated tiara amplify her Amazonian heritage but are also sex-symbol status material. Either way the costume is intrinsically part of what Wonder Woman is known for .
It is no wonder therefore that the recent pictures released of the NBC remake currently in the works has caused a stir among WW fans. Starring Adrianne Palicki, the series depicts our heroine in modern day Los Angeles as a crime fighter in Los Angeles / successful corporate executive and ‘a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life’. Her costume is less hot-pants, more leather leggings and the stars have been ditched in an attempt to sell the series abroad as well as detangle the character from an American connection. But surely this is where the problem arises; Wonder Woman’s patriotic nature and thigh-high delirium are what made her the kitsch creature we all loved ( even if it if slightly confused her equal-rights intentions). Can she really be as appealing in nondescript pants , working in a corporation by day and fighting Liz Hurley by night ? (you heard me, Liz ‘ character is her arch nemesis in the new series). The fun seems to be lost somewhere. Will the series succeed? Most seem doubtful already, and only time will tell where Wonder Woman will pop her brown haired head next. I am certain though that Wonder Woman will travel with us through the years, bringing all good feminist intentions with her. As Princess Diana would say herself : ‘‘Any civilisations that doesn’t recognise the female is doomed to destruction..women are the wave of the future’.