Nonetheless, I hoped that with the revamping of the show out of the 40’s and into the 70’s, there would be improvement. And after watching (listening to) almost the entire season on Saturday, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but greatly relieved. THERE was the Diana Prince and Wonder Woman that inspired me as a child. Sure, WW’s costume was a bit skimpier, but Diana Prince was just as bad ass as WW! For starters, she was no longer Steve’s assistant, but his associate (love that Themyscirian hypnosis!). She no longer bat puppy dog eyes at Steve, and while he still held an infatuation for WW it is balanced by his respect for Diana. I appreciate how Diana/WW was the same character from the first season and this story just literally toke place 30 years later. And while I feel like the comic’s version of Wonder Woman is more serious, down to business, and even a tiny bit jaded, I love that the TV series portrays Diana and Wonder Woman as very optimistic and eager to find the good in every person or villain (which were constantly getting no more than hand slaps!). It’s just refreshing.
To begin with, she was someone I felt I could relate too. I remember fretting that because I had brown hair, I could never be as pretty as those with blond hair (lets blame Barbie for that!). But here was this woman with brown hair and blue eyes, just like me, and she was beautiful! And not only beautiful, but strong, kind, and a hero. The daughter of a Marine, and living on a Marine Base at the time, I was very aware of “heroes” and the concept of saving lives. But, the majority of the Marines I knew were men. To see a female hero, and at a such a young age where I didn’t completely recognize the difference between fiction and reality, taught me a sense of equality between men and women that I never bothered to question thereafter. Of course, I would be remised if I didn’t point out that my mother was also a very strong, independent woman and growing up, it never occurred to me that women could be viewed as lesser beings than men.
It used to be that I only had those fictional characters to look up to, but now my world has been opened to the genius of Maria Schneider, Asne Seierstad, Gail Simone, Joan Stiles, Ingrid Jensen, Paula Radcliff, Deena Kastor, Twyla Tharp, and Pam Pietro, to name a few.
A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a benefit for Equality Now. The organization was honoring men who made an impact on women’s equality. Joss Whedon, among others, was being recognized. Joss’s speech on “strong female characters” brought chills to my arms and tears to my eyes (as did the incredible stories of the ordinary men who were also being honored). Afterwards, I sheepishly introduced myself to Joss, got a photo with him (below), an autograph on Astonishing X-Men #1, and slipped him a CD of my Infinite Crisis inspired Master’s Recital (hear it here). He was a super nice guy whose sincerity in his beliefs were clear by his willingness to meet and greet all of his female fans.