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Wonder Woman Gets a Woman's Point-of-View 210

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-bit-overdue dept.
theodp writes "Traditionally, comics have been by, for and about men. But more and more women are breaking into the traditional boys' club. Beginning with Wonder Woman #14, the superhero's tale is being told by Gail Simone. It's a break from nearly 66 years of being written for the most part by men. '[Her work as a blogger] led to a writing job for the all-female comic 'Birds of Prey' for DC--which became a short-lived, live-action TV series--and in turn won her the "Wonder Woman" job. Simone says she sees a change since she wrote her refrigerator rant 10 years ago. 'At that time, the trend was towards grim stories where female characters were killed,' she says. 'We only had a handful of female characters to look up to. Today we're not seeing those stories so much.'"
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Wonder Woman Gets a Woman's Point-of-View

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  • Jack Nicholson was once asked in a movie, "How do you write about women so well?" to which he replied "I think of a man. Then I take away reason and accountability." Comics are boys club because boys don't want to read soap opera emo trash. Not that I'm a traitor to my gender, its just that its true. So maybe if this chick can bring those two little spices into the comic, she deserves to write it.
    • Not every woman writes "soap opera emo trash" and not all comic book readers are men (as the article discussed, if you felt like reading it).
      • by BeanThere (28381)
        Funny, I've re-read it a few times and I just cannot see anything in Token_Internet_Girl's post that claims or even insinuates that every woman writes "soap opera emo trash" or that all comic book readers are men. Where did you get that? It also seems you may not have noticed the poster is a woman.
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
      Boys have always fawned over soap opera emo trash. Name any popular superhero who hasn't spent time drowning in angst and self-doubt. What would you expect in the wish-fulfillment fantasies of the awkward and outcast?

      No, they'll read anything if there is fighting involved and nothing that threatens their sexual self-image.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by uxbn_kuribo (1146975)
        Soap Opera stories + violence = comic books. And pro wrestling.
    • It's a boy's club because it's a boy's club?

      That is, there are more men writing comics because there are more boys reading comics?

      I mean, not that I mind it -- I do feel that soap opera emo trash doesn't help anyone, and I am a guy, after all. But I wonder, is there something about the medium itself that would prevent soap opera emo trash from succeeding?
    • Actually, you're onto something there, but IMHO that quote really just illustrates the fact that men are more likely to relate to another man's view of women. It's because both have the same stereotypes and wishful-thinking ideas, while reality often tends to not quite fit that.

      So, yes, if Jack Nicholson describes women as the men's stereotype of women, including the illogical and unaccountable part, other men will find it a perfect portrayal of women.

      It's not even something new. In medieval Japan the justi
      • by Headw1nd (829599)

        Just to be entirely fair, though, I suppose the opposite should also be true. A man portrayed by a woman should probably also be more believable to other women, than the real thing. I've actually had the mis-fortune of seeing a few romance movies, and the guys were portrayed as far from the real thing as you can get without adding tentacles and bug eyes. Whether it was Mr Perfect wooing the heroine or the henchman or whatever, those just fell somewhere in _my_ uncanny valley. They acted disturbingly not quite like real men. The actors may have been biologically male, but the role wasn't. But apparently the core demographic for that kind of thing doesn't have their suspension of disbelief tripped.

        If you're looking for some more examples of this, might I suggest The Lifetime Network? Where every man is either a impossibly kind and sensitive father figure, or a malicious, abusive rapist? (Possesing, in either case, perfectly styled hair)

      • In medieval Japan the justification of why only men are allowed to play women roles in Kabuki theatre was... that supposedly women are too close to feminity to play it accurately. At first read it sounds like a major WTF. If they're closer to feminity, wouldn't that make them _more_ believable in a woman's role?

        That sounds like a straw-man argument to me. More likely, the argument was that women didn't have the self-control to act like the woman portrayed in the script rather than herself.

        Or, if acting was the men's livelihood, they didn't want members of their cast being out-of-commission for a few days every month, or getting pregnant and going on the equivalent of maternity leave---leaving everyone else without a full cast, which could jeopardize their ability to put food on the table.

        Not that those are

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Comics are boys club because boys don't want to read soap opera emo trash."

      *cough* Sandman *cough*

      Right, but "boys" aren't reading the comics. When was the last time you saw a comics shop with kids in it outnumbering the adults?

      No, I think you're onto the right thing for the wrong reason. Comics lend themselves well to short, action stories and simple parables because of the nature of the medium. 22 short pages. Very little text. Lots of artwork. And a history of only being able to tell the most blan
      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I mean, if I'm looking for a long, epic story exploring complex themes, I'll rent a 3 hour movie. Or get a TV series on DVD.

        A big problem there, however, is that 3 hour movies are pretty rare. Quality ones even more so. And TV series usually try to steer as far away from continuity or character development as possible, as not being able to skip an episode or five and then dive back in is a death kiss for ratings. Even aside from the main writer only gracing most series with a couple of scripts per season
    • Japan has an entirely separate comics culture for females. That makes a lot more sense than making superhero comics more woman-friendly.

      Truth be told, Manga's diversity is just huge, and shows how paltry comic culture is in the west. There are popular comics about baseball, mountain climbing, boxing, surrealism, relationships, historical fiction, art,... it goes on an on. Such things exist here, but they are little paltry niche items. Those things exist in Japan with commercial distribution and real rea
  • by JustJon (731538) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @01:44AM (#21929770) Homepage
    Is this really such a big break when novelist Jodi Picoult wrote Wonder Woman last year, and is a woman herself?
  • by Bonker (243350) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @01:53AM (#21929798)
    William Marsden created Wonder Woman as a role model of what he considered feminine strengths. These are very much the traditional 'yin' feminine values and focused less on female empowerment and much more on beauty, demure behavior, and obedience. Women can be strong, Marsden reasoned, by focusing on their womanhood and need not waste time trying to fit into male roles.

    Marsden was also a bit of a pervert. His wife and their live-in slave... er... maid, lived in more-or-less open polygamy. They were his bondage slaves, and were apparently quite happy to be so. This theme, of feminine happiness through obedience and subservience, is repeated frequently through Wonder Woman. Not only did Wonder Woman frequently get tied up with her own magic lasso, but pretty much all the Amazon girls loved being bound, spanked, or otherwise disciplined by their superiors.

    While you may disagree with Marsden's symbolism, any retelling of Wonder Woman that leaves out the bondage isn't really doing the subject very much justice. Wonderwoman need not end up stuffed in a refrigerator, but she does need to be frequently paddled to keep the story moving.
    • Hmmph. I spelled his name wrong. It's Marston [wikipedia.org] and not Marsden. I should be bound and flogged by nubile Amazon warrior maidens.

      Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a go

    • "William Marsden created Wonder Woman as a role model of what he considered feminine strengths."

      He created her because he liked to dominate women with bondage. Not exactly an example of feminine strength.

      Intersting my ass.

      • by tverbeek (457094)
        Marston's view of women as a lot more complicated than you seem to think. It certainly wasn't a simple case of liking to dominate women (a misconception that says more about the conceiver than it does about him). He actually believed that women were better than men, and wanted men to submit to their loving domination.
    • Heh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      Heh... so basically you're saying that it started as a pervert's and misogynist's substitute for porn. Even the sophistry about a female's role and strength being reduced to obedience and modesty isn't entirely a new philosophical concept, it's pretty much standard misogynistic stuff.

      Well, gee, I guess you illustrate perfectly why women didn't really take her as a role model.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shipwack (684009)
      You have it backwards... Marston believed in female -superiority-, not submission. If anyone was the slave in their poly household it was him. A quote from him form the Wikipedia article:

      "Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves!"

      From Nick Gillepsie's article about him in Reason magazinehttp://www.reason.com/news/show/28014.html/ [reason.com]:

      For Marston, the most "constructive" comics were those that laid the groundwork for what he insisted

  • Work as a blogger? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @01:53AM (#21929800)
    Her work as a blogger? Simone has been working in the comics industry for almost a decade now and got the job of writing Wonder Woman due to a solid history of writing well crafted, memorable, stories. She has worked for both the major comic companies and a few of the minor ones writing everything from established superhero books to quirky creator-owned stuff. To suggest that she got a high profile job because of her BLOG is kind of insulting to the hard work she has put in over the years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by \\ (118555)
      Her blog got her noticed at CBR, which got her noticed by Bongo, which eventually got her noticed by Marvel & DC, which eventually got her a Wonder Woman job. It took close to ten years, but that was the progression. Yes, she's talented, and her humble beginnings in the comic book industry begain with a blog.

      Gail Simone didn't "get" anything because of her blog, she earned her way as a good writer that got noticed and continues to do so. The path she took just happened to start with a blog. What are you
  • Excuse me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frisbee_Chick (1213602) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:00AM (#21929830)
    Um...yeah...but no

    Read the rant. Completely disagree. FYI I don't have hairy pits or legs.

    Doesn't every character/hero of consequence go through some life-defining moment. She writes as is every female goes off to a grimson end or a tragic moment but uh hello...there's life....there's character building...there's a good friggin story.

    Look at the list and it blatantly leaves out key figures in the comic universes. Examples:

    Superman died

    Batman was paralyzed only to come back and take out the sorry sack of shit who replaced him

    Robin died

    Spawn was a crusader who was reborn in hell...how more tragic is fighting for what you believe to be a noble cause and hello you go straight to hell

    Wolverine was used, abused, lost his memory and then ended up working for the X-men

    Sorry...but a personal pet peeve is a feminist fight without a true argument. Sorry to say but women were allowed the same fates as men. I personally love when the woman is a villain. At least we're acknowledged as a threat. A good story always involves a sad or grimsom moment for the lead character. Thankfully women have been subjected to same fates of men in the comic world.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by dasunt (249686)

      Women can't be true villains.

      They are just naive and confused, and thus easily wander astray!

      It is only men that have the higher brain capacity to be evil.

      Women, being the weaker sex, need to be protected by staying in a safe place. Preferably the kitchen. And since they are in there, they can make me a sammich. :p



      This was sarcasm, for the humor-impaired.

    • What is grimson/grimsom?
    • by Kierthos (225954)
      Superman ended up coming back to life.

      So did Robin (Jason Todd). Robin (Stephanie Brown) is still dead. Maybe.
      • All dead superheroes will come back to life eventually, so long as they're popular enough. Neither DC nor Marvel is going to permanently kill of anyone of any gender unless they are looking unprofitable.
      • by Steve001 (955086)

        Kierthos wrote:

        Superman ended up coming back to life.

        So did Robin (Jason Todd). Robin (Stephanie Brown) is still dead. Maybe.

        Jason Todd is a special case. He was killed, buried, and spent years in his grave. But due to the actions of Superboy-Prime in conjunction with "Infinite Crisis" (which altered the timeline) Jason Todd's death was undone and a short while ago (after years in the grave) he suddenly woke up in his grave with all of the injuries he acquired from being beaten by the Joker with a c

    • by localman (111171)
      Superman died ... Batman was paralyzed ... Robin died

      Doh! Where was the spoiler warning!?! ;)
  • Wonder Woman graced the July 1972 [msmagazine.com] and Fall 2007 [msmagazine.com] Ms. Magazine covers.
  • Surprise! Comics and manga are really the same thing!
  • Cooking (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Tweekster (949766)
    Makes perfect sense, she really should be cooking and cleaning. and as another poster mentioned, skimpy bikini is preferable.

    Why do women wear white on their wedding day?
    so the dishwasher matches the oven
  • Slow News Day at Slashdot if you're covering something that was announced almost a year ago.
  • come on, doesn't anybody here read comics? CBR? Wizard? Wow.
    • by Khyber (864651)
      Goes to show you just how much of /.'s population truly are geeks.

      *goes to grab his latest Wizard to check price on an original, mint, 1st edition M:TG Black Lotus*
  • P.O.V. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by themadplasterer (931983) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @04:54AM (#21930562)
    Wonder Woman in a P.O.V.? That's hawt!
  • as a romance novel written from the point of view of the ridiculously sensitive male leads in the story:

    "your tits are huge, let's shag"

    yeah, that's going to sell romance novels

    impossible proportioned female superheroes exist to satisfy the id of prepubescent boys. there is no female pov to these characters that has any meaning. they are stereotypical characters meant to satisfy male views about solving problems by fighting. women have their own fantasy fiction with impossible male characters meant to satisfy female views about the glory of courtship with a great guy

    why mess with these shallow fantasies? nothing is improved, the value of the characters are just negated for their intended audiences
    • by SamSim (630795)
      Comics aren't so much for prepubescent boys anymore. The target demographic has grown up considerably in the last few decades. It's twenty-somethings upwards now. Demands are more than just "shallow fantasies" now.
  • ...in his response to the refrigerator rant [unheardtaunts.com]:

    As regards the female characters thing, I'm afraid I think it's giving male creators a bum deal. The list does read pretty shocking at first until you think of everything the male heroes have gone through, too, in terms of deaths/mutilations/etc. Granted, the female stuff has more of a sexual violence theme and this is something people should probably watch out for, but rape is a rare thing in comics and is seldom done in an exploitative way.

  • Women! Know your limits! [youtube.com] And for pity's sake - don't drive.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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