Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gloria Steinem on Wonder Woman (Pt. 2)

"The Wonder Woman stories not only depict women as culturally different (in ways that are sometimes constructive and sometimes not), they also hint that women are biologically, and therefore immutably, superior to men.

"Few modern feminists would agree. There are as yet no perfectly culture-free testes to prove to us which traits come from conditioning and which do not, but the consensus seems to be that society, not biology, assigns some human traits to males and others to females. Women have suffered from being taught to develop what society considers the less-valued traits of humanity, but this doesn't mean we want to switch to a sole claim on the 'more valuable' ones either. That might accomplish nothing more than changing places with men in the hierarchy. Most feminist philosophy supposes that the hierarchy itself must be eliminated, that individuals who are free of roles assigned because of sex or race will also be free to develop the full range of human qualities. It's the multitudinous differences in individuals that count, not the localized differences of sex or race.

"For psychologist William Moulton Marston—who under the pen name of 'Charles Moulton,' created Wonder Woman—females were sometimes romanticized as biologically and unchangeably superior. 'Women,' he wrote, 'represent love; men represent force. Man's use of force without love brings evil and unhappiness. Wonder Woman proves that women are superior to men because they have love in addition to force.' If that's the case, then we're stuck with yet another social order based on birth."

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

1 comment:

Maddy said...

Thanks for posting these, Caleb!