#WCW Wonder Woman – An Exclusive By Myla Dalbesio
Why we love her:
It all begins with the origin story, right? First appearing in 1941, Wonder Woman was created by William Marston, a psychologist, feminist, and inventor of the lie detector machine (the lasso of truth makes sense now, doesn’t it?). Intended to be a symbol of strength and integrity, Wonder Woman was inspired both by Marston’s wife, Elizabeth Holloway, and his live-in lover Olive Byrne (yes, they lived a polyamorous lifestyle). Olive just so happened to be the daughter of radical feminist Ethel Byrne. Ethel, along with her sister Margaret Sanger, were the first women to open a birth control clinic in the United States. Sanger went on to form Planned Parenthood. Suffice it to say, Wonder Woman has feminism running deep in her ancestral blood.
In addition to saving the day, over the years she’s accumulated many admirable titles as her story shifts and grows: she is a founding member of the Justice League, a demigoddess, warrior princess, Ambassador-at-Large of the Amazonian people, and, in a 1943 storyline, the President of the United States! But Wonder Woman, though an almighty daughter of Zeus, has had her “Just Like Us!” moments as well. She has fought through misogyny in the workplace, overcoming the delegation to secretary for the Justice League (though she was just as qualified – if not more – than the other male heroes in the League). She spent decades losing her powers, being captured on missions, and pining over men, all at the hands of male writers. But just when we thought she’d be completely lost to Steve Trevor and the tired old tropes of female characters, Wonder Woman was rescued from her damsel in distress depiction by none other than Gloria Steinem, feminist leader, and icon. Steinem selected Wonder Woman to cover the second issue of Ms. Magazine in 1972 and helped usher in a new ass-kicking era for our favorite heroine.
Fast forward to today, and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman’s civilian identity) is still breaking boundaries and crushing glass ceilings. Finally headlining at the box office, she raked in $100.5 million the opening weekend of her self-titled blockbuster, one of the best turnouts for a superhero movie…ever. And the pressure was high. It’s been 12 years since a female-led superhero movie hit the big screens, even though we are in a boom of comic-book-to-silver-screen projects. Studios keep churning out flicks featuring buff dudes in capes, but a Wonder Woman project took years to be green-lit. Following failed attempts by a series of male directors including Joss Whedon, it was a female director, Patty Jenkins, who finally got the project off the ground. Off the ground could be a bit of an understatement though – she made history this past Sunday evening, clocking the biggest domestic opening weekend for a female director ever. And with women continuing to struggle to have their voices heard in Hollywood, it was a much-needed milestone. No surprise though, that it would be Wonder Woman who swoops in to save the day.
Image Source: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Ms. Magazine, wonderwomanfilm.com