Why Wonder Woman
As a man, I am often asked, “Why Wonder Woman?” It’s usually with a tone of annoyance or disregard, but rarely out of pure curiosity.
What the asker actually means is: why don’t you love Superman or Batman (or other male hero) since you’re a man?
I’ll get right to the point. In the history of Wonder Woman, her mother, the Amazon queen Hippolyta, an immortal woman, longed for a child. Living on an island with thousands of other women, she wasn’t simply interested in sex with a man. She just wanted a child. Sitting on the shores of the island (Paradise Island, then Themyscira), she sculpted a child from either clay or sand—from Gaea, the earth, guided by the goddess Athena, the goddess of crafts. Once complete, the goddess of love, Aphrodite, breathed life into the sculpture. Hippolyta named her Diana which hearkens to the Roman goddess of the hunt.
This was an act of feminine power. A woman using the earth itself to create new life, guided by a goddess, and having another goddess imbue life. No masculinity. No male presence or power. It was entirely female. That strikes me as incredibly empowering as an act of creation, an act of transforming desire into purpose, the act of transforming the raw earth into a female presence who can carry the torch of transformation, brought to life through love, compassion, and creativity.
I grew up with a strong woman as a mother. She protected my sisters and me, stood up for me when I had conflicts with my step-father. I learned from her about compassion, the love of family, the use of kindness, and what it means to be strong. In effect, she was my first Wonder Woman before I really knew the character.
With the Super Friends cartoon, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman TV show, and the comics, I grew to love this character who was born not out of tragedy, but out of love. The idea of the empowered woman intrigued me because I grew up surrounded by the idea of the patriarchy and the masculine “ideal.”
In a world where women aren’t paid the same as men for the same jobs, women’s reproductive health is mandated and restricted, women are continuously subject to the male gaze (and their clothes are designed for it), there needs to be someone who stands for all women. The idea of an independent, physically strong, emotionally grounded woman who fights for those who cannot fight for themselves is something we need. Desperately.
Diana carries with her the golden lasso of truth. Its remarkable ability to draw the truth from someone bound within it reinforces the importance of truth as a universal constant. The truth will indeed set one free because it is absolute. The Diana I love carries no weapons, despite being an Amazon warrior—the juxtaposition that invokes thought and discourse because of its contradiction in the eyes of those who don’t fully understand that one who understands war doesn’t have to wage it.
She also wears bracelets that were symbolic of the subjugation of her people by Heracles in ancient times. The Amazons use that as a reminder of their enslavement but also use the bracelets themselves to deflect. The skill needed to focus attention on the projectile to enable it to strike the wrist as well as send off the ricochet where it will not hurt someone is remarkable. Her greatest weapon against her adversaries, though, is her heart. She chooses transformation and reformation over subjugation and imprisonment. Diana would rather teach someone the error of their ways and then have that person continue that forward than simply put her adversary in a prison where no change takes place.
These are all the reasons why Wonder Woman plays such a significant role in my everyday life, thought processes, and path. As complex as she is gifted, she enables those touched by her presence to transform themselves into something better.
Who wouldn’t want that as an ideal to aspire to be?