Friday, March 19, 2010

Gloria Steinem on Wonder Woman (Pt. 1)

"The trouble is that the comic book performers of such superhuman feats—and even of only dimly competent ones—are almost always heroes. Literally. The female child is left to believe that, even when her body is a as grown-up as her spirit, she will still be in the childlike role of helping with minor tasks, appreciating men's accomplishments, and being so incompetent and passive that she can only hope some man can come to her rescue. Of course, rescue and protection are comforting, even exhilarating experiences that should be and often are shared by men and boys. Even in comic books, the hero is frequently called on to protect his own kind in addition to helpless women. But dependency and zero accomplishments get very dull as a steady diet. The only option for a girl reader is to identify with the male characters—pretty difficult, even in the androgynous years of childhood. If she can' do that, seh faces limited prospects: An 'ideal' life of sitting around like a technicolor clothes horse, getting into jams with villains and saying things like 'Oh, Superman! I'll always be grateful to you,' even as her hero goes off to bigger and better adventures."

—Gloria Steinem, from her introduction to Wonder Woman (Bonanza Books; 1972)

1 comment:

Liberty and In Dependence said...

And I thought us comic nerds tend to over-analyze comics. Sheeesh!