Gender and Superheroes
In comics, there are many topics that are shown throughout the book or film, whether it’s dealing with your identity or dealing with your physical appearance. Trying to fit into society is something very challenging, being able to not be yourself because of what others may think, say and because of your insecurities is very difficult. Dealing with stereotypes that people have is also very challenging for someone to adapt to society. In Wonder Woman the film, Diana struggles when it comes to adapting to her two different lifestyles and her identity as being a female hero. In many cases, characters in literature and films may experience changes whether it comes to their body and identity.
Wonder Woman is a very well known superhero. The character Wonder Woman was created by the writer William Moulton Marston, he was a comic book writer. A very important person when it came to the Wonder Woman comics was the illustrator Harry G. Peter who is very well known for his comic artwork in Wonder Woman. Aside from her superhero identity Wonder Woman has an alter ego, in other words, a second life. She is Princess Diana of Island of Themyscira she is an Amazon. Her origins are known very well, she is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta. Wonder Woman is apart of The Justice League, a group of superheroes created by DC Comics. Princess Diana herself is very wise and very intelligent.
Wonder Woman has had such an impact as a superhero. There have been several films and television series Wonder Woman has appeared in. However, in 2017 the film Wonder Woman was released. This film was based on the character of Wonder Woman, it was directed by Patty Jenkins. This movie is taken place in the time of 1918. The main protagonist Wonder Woman/Diana is played by the actress Gal Gadot. Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor which is a pilot who tells Diana about everything that is going on in the world. Diana’s mother, Hippolyta is played by Connie Nielsen. There are many many more characters who were very important to this movie. This movie is able to portray deeply the origin of Wonder Woman. This movie talks about Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and her life as a normal person, she was Diana the princess of the Amazons. In this island which is very isolated Diana was raised and as she was growing up she was trained to be a warrior. During the beginning of the film, Hippolyta describes to Diana the history of the Amazon, their home. She describes the reasons why Zeus created the Amazon, which was to protect mankind. Diana then finds out that Ares this supervillain was very jealous because of everything Zeus did to protect his people. This then leads to a fight between Ares and Zeus which resulted in the death of Zeus. The Amazon warriors did stay with their land and were able to keep a very important weapon called the Godkiller for them to use if Ares ever decided to return back to the island. After knowing about this Diana was learning how to become this warrior through the teachings of her mother’s sister Diana’s aunt Antiope. One day while Diana is on the island a pilot by the name of Steve crashed on the shore she noticed what had occurred and rescued him. After Steve was rescued by Diana he was able to tell her everything that was going on in the outside world, this being World War I, the war occurring during this period of time. Due to what Steve told her Diana took the decision to leave her home so she will be able to somehow stop this war. Diana in order to stop this had to ally with men to end the wars that were going on.
Wonder Woman, Diana goes through the transformation of being this warrior in her native land to becoming the hero for the outside world that is going through so many problems. Diana is so used to being around the Amazons, these female warriors that are so strong and have always been trained for war. Diana does have so much strength coming from the community in which she grew up and lived in. Diana eventually will somehow discover all of the full powers she has and she will discover what her true destiny is. In this film, when Diana arrives where the wars are occurring she encounters the Germans and British who are still fighting this war and have not been able to stop it. Around the middle of the movie, there is a scene where Steve takes her to where the war is taking place Steve tells her “ This is No Man’s, Land Diana. It means no man can cross it, all right? This battalion has been here for nearly a year and they barely gained an inch because, on the other side, there are a bunch of Germans pointing machine guns at every square inch of this place. This is not something you can cross it’s not possible…… We just…. We cannot save everyone in this world. This is not what we came here to do” (01:13:55) When Steve tells Diana this she automatically transforms herself into Wonder Woman and says “No but it is what I am going to do.” (01:14:20) Diana then takes action into her own hands not listening to what anyone tells her. She is determined to stop the violence that is going on. In this scene, it shows all the bullets that are thrown her way but her shield and wrist cuffs keep on blocking them. The more and more German soldiers shoot the more determined Diana is showing her bravery. The men are so surprised to see how Diana (Wonder Woman) is refusing to let the violence keep on, they are also following her and see her as the leader. This shows that men aren’t the only ones that can fight crime or be able to stop the bad guys but a woman also can. Diana (Wonder Woman ) was able to break the stereotypes, she was very superior and was able to show how she was so important in order to help the world.
Not only does gender have a representation in the Wonder Woman 2017 film but it also does in comics generally. In comics, gender has been a very important and discussed topic by many people. There have been many female superheroes like Black Widow, Supergirl, Ms.Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Invisible Women, etc. When it comes to these female heroes it may be hard for someone reading the comics or watching a film to not have a reaction when they see a female as a superhero. Many people may be against female superheroes due to that some have revealing outfits that may be used and seen in a bad way sexually. However, others say that there is no problem when it comes to females being superheroes because it shows how strong and powerful females are being able to show that gender does not determine who is more superior. Trying to fit into society is something very challenging.
In the books I’ve read like Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G.Willow Wilson they both somehow have a focus on female superheroes and their alter ego. Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and Fatale in Soon I Will Be Invincible. For these two characters specifically, being able to not be yourself and having insecurities because of what others may think/say is difficult. Dealing with stereotypes that people have is also very challenging.
In Ms.Marvel Volume 1: No Normal Kamala Khan is a girl from New Jersey with a Pakistani background. In the comic, there are several scenes where Kamala is very frustrated due to her being a female. One very important scene is when she asks her parents for permission to go out to a party they invited her to. Her father says she does not have permission to go due to the type of people going and he does not want his daughter to do things that do not look good. This gets Kamala very mad due to that she feels that since she’s a female she is not able to go out and have fun. She feels this protection from her parents because of her gender. She said if she were a boy the circumstances will be very different, she will be able to stay until late and be free. Being a Muslim women Kamala has these beliefs that make her different from the rest of people. Making it very difficult for Kamla to be able to fit it into society because all people do is judge her or differentiate her. In this comic, Kamala is a Muslim girl who is a hero, she saves Zoe aside from how mean Zoe was to her and her friend. This being the scene at the beginning of the comic where Zoe talks to Kamala and Nakia then mentions the headscarf (hijab) Nakia had. She asked Nakia if anyone pressured her to wear her hijab. This shows the Gender representation in this comic because Muslim women do wear hijabs as part of their culture/religion. However when becoming Ms. Marvel Kamala appearances changes drastically. She has long blond hair, she is white and she is totally different compared to the Kamala everyone knows. “I always thought that if I have amazing hair, if I could pull off great boots, if I could fly that would make me feel strong that would make me happy…..Maybe putting on a costume doesn’t make you brave”(Wilson, 36)When she experienced these changes she thought she was going to feel better having different characteristics but she feels the total opposite.
On the other hand, In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Fatale has trouble finding her identity after she had her accident, and the transformation her body went through was very hard for her. Just like Kamala, Fatale has struggled with her superhero identity and not being able to fit into The New Champions, this group of heroes. In Chapter 2 of Soon I Will Be Invincible Fatale is introduced. In this chapter, Fatale describes what she went through when it came through her surgery. Fatale talks about her memory loss and how much of her body was lost when she was involved in a horrific accident in São Paulo, Brazil. She then describes to us her life after the accident, when a group called Protheon rebuilt her to be this cyborg. She was then invited to join the New Champions. In the beginning, Fatale says, “That was the unlikely beginning to my career as a superhero, enhance, trans-or super-or metahuman or whatever another term you like to use to describe it. What I am now, and will be for the rest of my life.” (Grossman, 21) This quote describes how she is very insecure and not confident with herself, this accident really changed her life forever. Throughout the book, Fatale is not able to fit into the New Champions. Kamala, Fatale, and Diana are all three very different types of superheroes. But they are all very similar due to that they are all female superheroes. They all want to be able to find themselves, find their true destiny and be able to have this impact on the world.
The Wonder Woman 2017 film has gotten many different types of reviews ever since the release. According to the article “Wonder Woman’ wins by being feminist without bashing men written” by Heather Robison the author is able to talk about the impact that this film had on many individuals. “At New York City theaters this week, many girls and women said they turned out because the character of Wonder Woman has been a personal inspiration in their lives, and they wanted to support the film’s director, Patty Jenkins.” As the author stated this film has had a powerful impact, many people see this character as an inspiration to be brave and never let anything bring them down, not even the stereotypes people may have. Other articles and reviews have said, “Wonder Woman is exceptionally strong….but Gadot and Jenkins rise above expectations to deliver an incredibly exciting and inspiring movie.” This review by Molly Freeman in Wonder Woman Movie Review focused a lot on all the important events that occurred in this movie. Talking about the importance that the time period and setting had on this movie, “With Wonder Woman taking place almost entirely on Themyscira or in Europe during World War I, the film has a unique opportunity to explore its titular character in a context when the world has not yet learned about superheroes.” So many reviews have all talked about similar things but they all show the manner in which how everyone reacted to this movie in their own way. In an interview with Global GrindTV, the actors Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and the director Patty Jenkins talk about the making of Wonder Woman. When asked about how did it feel playing a damsel-in-distressed to the actor Chris Pine he responds by saying “He has to deal with the fact that he’s a pretty strong guy he thinks he’s pretty badass and then he meets someone who is a woman and this is 1917 which is the patriarchy was even that much stronger in stereotypes.” As said by the actor people had many different stereotypes when it came to women in general, and this film was shown to be able to break all of the stereotypes people had. Due to all the reviews, it is safe to say that most people really enjoyed watching this film and saw how important this film was and the impact it had and others.
In Wonder Woman the film, Diana struggles when it comes to adapting to her two different lifestyles and her identity as being a female hero. In many cases, characters in literature and films may experience changes whether it comes to their body and identity. In the books Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G.Willow Wilson they both somehow have a focus on female superheroes and they’re alter ego. Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and Fatale in Soon I Will Be Invincible. Kamala, Fatale, and Diana are all three very different types of superheroes. But they are all very similar due to that they are all female superheroes. They all want to be able to find themselves, find their true destiny and be able to have this impact on the world. Wonder Woman was able to break stereotypes and be able to portray this female hero that cares about the people and wants to stop the violence.
- Gadot, Gal, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Allan Heinberg, Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs. Wonder Woman. 2017. http://wonderwomanfilm.com/
- Wilson, Willow G. Ms.Marvel Volume 1: No Normal. New York: NY. Marvel Worldwide, Inc. October 15, 2014.
- Grossman, Austin. Soon I Will Be Invincible. Pantheon Books. Random House Inc. New York. June 5, 2007
- Robinson, Heather. ‘Wonder Woman’ wins by being feminist without bashing men. NY Post. Published On June 8, 2018.
5. Williams, Zoe. “Why Wonder Woman is a masterpiece of subversive feminism”. TheGuardian.com. Published on June 5, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/05/why-wonder-woman-is-a-masterpiece-of-subversive-feminism
6. Youtube Video. “Wonder Woman Interviews: Sexism, Fighting, and Dance Scenes.” by GlobalGrindTV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qro4MHhPfmo