Gender issues Lecture – Wonder woman – the first female superhero

After the gender roles lecture I came away feeling very wary of the prospect of writing a blog post on feminism and gender roles.

I am actually of the opinions that men and woman are NOT the same,  even within our radically changing culture the fact is that biologically speaking, our sexes are different. Of course I must call myself a feminist because I do believe in woman’s rights but no more so that men’s rights.

After going back to the lecture notes I began to understand a little bit better what the teacher was trying to tell us about. We are different biologically but we are the same in the way that we think about ourselves, free independent human beings. And this is the difference between sex and gender.

The gender, for the most part is how we have been nurtured by society to act.  In the past Men where (and to some extent still are) expected to be strong and dominant charicters, because biologically speaking they are generally stronger than women. Where as women are the mothers and wives, it is our role to care for our families, this role tends to be more passive.

I am a fanatical comic book reader and I couldn’t help but notice that within comic before the 1940’s (ww II) these roles where dramatize. Men where the strong, heroic, masculine characters with superpowers making them dominant where as women if they ever actually appeared In a comic they tended to take the passive roles of, secretary, love interest, damsel.

For a woman to have an important role in a story before the 1940’s, it was rarely due to a strong character. She was a technique to drive the male hero to be a better person.

The term “woman in refrigerator” was created by Gail Simone for a website name. it refers to an incident in green lantern issue  54 (1994).

Like many comics before it the male protagonist’s (Kyle Raynor) partner is cruelly killed by the villan and left in the refrigerator for him to find. There by driving him to be a better hero.

The actual character wasn’t important, it was the action of killing her that gave her presence in the story importance.

There was however a break through in 1941 with the creation of wonder woman. She was created during WWII, when women where being encouraged to join in with the men’s work and the poster girl “rosie the riveter” was created.

Inevitably she became a feminist character, a further role model for women;

However there where still very few women reading comic books at this time, it was a male dominated field of interest. This meant that in the beginning wonder woman was a scophophilia. A beautiful, (if not a little butch) sex object for teenage boys in comics.

The artist and creator of wonder woman, William Marston had been educated in harvard university and had a PHD in phycology. Marston was a key role into the invention of the lie detector through his work on blood pressure. he was a married man and held his wife in the highest regard.

from his work he deducted that women where more honest and reliable than men, furthermore he proved women to be faster and more acurate workers than men.

on 1928 he published a essay called “emotions of normal people”, he was of the opinion that people would act in 2 different ways, depending on wether the situation was a positive one or a negative one for them or a positive or dangerous – they will ether be passive or active; he argued that male notions of freedom where violent and troublesom, where as wo9mans notions of freedom where based on love alure, and submission to loveing authority.

Marston’s design of wonderwoman was the combination of the above traits, her lasso of truth was based on his theory that women where the more truethful of the sexes, and her ability to be captured through her lasso, wich is her weekness is based on his personal involvment with bondage erotica comic.

This could be seen as detremental to the womans causes at this time and perhaps it was, but many women in this day and age, that are interested in this fetish can argue intelegently that bondage (purely the dominace and tieing up – not the physical pain)  is actually a loveing act by there partners, there is the highest lever of trust and support needed in bondage and really the submissive is in complete control of the situation, more so than the male,they have the power of when it end and when they articulate correctly for the end it ends.

our culture in the western world has evolved so much in the past 70 year that we are more accepting of freedom of speach, womans rights and sexuality in  all forms. and i feel comics are a reflection of that not only have female charicters evolved in the industry but so too have male superheros and the steryotype of male, straight, white, butch superheros has been blown out of the water. There are many gay charicters being created within DC’s “new 52”  includeing bunker a slightly flamboyant but bad ass teen titan, and green lantern; he was oridunally a straight charicter hoewever in the “alternate universe” of Earth 2 he is infact a gay man in a very serious relationship.

comic books are no longer a male dominated field of interest wich means that girls and women everywhere have adopted wonderwoman and created a beautiful and poweful rolemodel the same what boys adopt say superman. she is no longer an object for teenage boys admeration and has paved the way for many new, intelegent, beautiful and talented dominant female figures within comic books. they equal on volume to male figures and manny take a stronger post in some comics that the males.


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