The Mutilation of Wonder WomanNovember 9, 2011
In a recent Los Angeles Times article (5 Nov, 2011), Geoff Boucher reports on changes being made by DC Comics to improve Wonder Woman. The folks there are working on a film, and to make the Amazon heroine more understandable to today’s audiences, they explain, they are giving her a do-over.
In fact, it is a mutilation. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang were interviewed about how this fabulous heroic icon will be improved. She will no longer be the daughter of an Amazon Queen. She will be the daughter of Zeus, a god-king.
In a photo provided with the article, we see the new and improved Wonder Woman. Her fists are clenched. Her face is not calm and firm with resolve; it’s contorted with rage. She does not wear her golden lasso, a way to extract truth from the bad guys without torture. Instead she grasps a gratuitous bloodied sword, an eternal symbol of violence and gruesome death.
It is not enough that she have her classic heroic strengths: “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules.”
Through the years, readers knew her as a woman sent to bring peace from her Amazon home to the world of men. A woman whose Amazon training also gave her limited telepathy, profound scientific knowledge, the ability to speak every language known to man, super breath, ventriloquism, imperviousness to extremes of heat and cold, the ability to ride the air currents as if flying, microscopic vision, the ability to bestow wisdom to other beings, the ability to throw her tiara with such skill it could stop bullets, and much more. No, these powers put to the defense of the good are not sufficiently “understandable.” She must be the daughter of a male god and brandish a blood-covered sword.
I read this article at my small table in Starbuck’s, then sat transfixed with tears in my eyes for a long time. A tight knot of righteous rage at what they propose to do to this beloved heroine tightened around my heart.
This corporate takeover of the female icon who uses nonviolent means in the struggle for peace and justice by the warrior, bloody culture of violence is an abomination.
You are now aware of what DC Comics intends to do. You may want to protest in whatever way you are able. I hope that all women’s organizations, women’s studies departments, peace groups, and groups or individuals who understand the value of Wonder Woman as a female champion for justice and peace will rise up, and, if possible, put a halt to this attempt to kill her by mutilation.
The stories we imagine, the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell our children. They define who we are. They shape our worldview. They shape the future we create, for ourselves and most critically, for our children and the generations to follow us.
We do not need Wonder Woman to be the avenging, sword-carrying daughter of a dominating god-king. To what kind of future does such a heroine lead us?