Where the Wonder Women At?!

Sophia Schlesinger, Reporter

The plans for the newest installation in the Man of Steel series were revealed at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International with the announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now that much of the fuss has died down and we’ve stopped making jokes about Ben Affleck playing Batman à la South Boston, many of us are actually curious about this movie. The film, however, reflects a trend of female misrepresentation in the film industry with the very first introduction of Wonder Woman to the big screen, and even so- as a background character.


Joining Wonder Woman as a background hero is Aquaman. Aquaman! The lowest of the low. My feelings are best articulated by Big Bang Theory’s Rajesh Koothrappali– “He sucks. He sucks underwater. He sucks fish pee.” And yet, production for a movie featuring Aquaman has been going on since 2009, whereas these are the first steps for Wonder Woman in the history of live action portrayals of comic books (okay, save one rather unfortunate television show from the 70s). Let me put this in perspective: Wonder Woman, one of the crown jewels of the DC Comic world is only just appearing in film alongside Aquaman. How on earth could anyone equate these two?


This kind of attitude is rampant in the world of superhero movies. Time after time we see little to no representation of female comic book heroes. And yes, I hear the one person saying, “B-b-b-but Catwoman!” And yes, Selina Kyle is awesome and a total badass in theory, but in execution, she ends up as an ex-prostitute, amature thief that’s only present to be Batman’s conflicted love interest. This shows that this industry unabashedly compromises the powerful female for the sake of sex appeal.


One reason superheroes endure lies within their transformation– from the very first comic books, to modern comics, to the silver screen. This process is key- without it, Superman would still be a spit-curled kid wham!-ing and pow!-ing his way through waxy pages of subpar plotlines. And Batman would be considerably less emo. We like emo Batman. We put emo Batman on T-shirts, we form cults around his movies, and we have paid almost $2 billion in support. The point is that superheroes are characters, and as characters they can be adapted in different ways. This is the reason we have creations like Soviet Superman (strongly recommend, by the way), this is the reason we no longer have to scoff at lines like, “Holy ravioli, Batman!” But superheroes can also be neglected; heroes like Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl, and Black Canary are still trapped between the pages of comic recreations, and Catwoman has been lost in translation.


The only way for the common action-movie-watching public to accept women into this genre is if they’re finally featured and properly represented in their own movies, their own shows. Until then, this industry is essentially saying that females don’t have the capacity to astound, they can’t be complex or conflicted, and most importantly, they can’t save the world like a male superhero can. This message is more than blatant, and yet we still allow it. So while I’m thrilled that Wonder Woman is finally appearing on film, it pains me that our female superheroes are still having to fight against the push into the shadows of unequal representation.