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Wonder Woman a Impacat on a Culture

In: English and Literature

Submitted By larnellj
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Wonder Woman is a character initially created for comic book in 1941, the medium in which she is still most prominently found to this day. As befitting an icon of her status, she has made appearances in other forms of media and has been referenced and meta-referenced beyond the scope of traditional superhero entertainment. For several years in the 1950s, the only three superheroes to have their own comic book were Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
The cultural impact of the character, once derided by psychologists and anti-comic book crusaders as an anti-male lesbian, has steadily increased over the years, having served as an iconic exemplar of the feminist movement and a continuing symbol of female empowerment.
As such, she appears in numerous media, from cereal box covers and popular magazines to being referenced both directly and indirectly in film, animation and television programming. As a cultural icon, she is the subject of several homages and parodies in many forms of media. In art
Wonder Woman is the subject of a 1978 - 1979 video art piece Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman. In this work she uses appropriated images of Wonder Woman to subvert the ideology and meaning embedded in the television series. Author T.J. Demos writes, "(the) opening with a prolonged salvo of fiery explosions accompanied by the warning cry of a siren, Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman is supercharged, action-packed, and visually riveting... throughout its nearly six minutes we see several scenes featuring the main character Diana Prince... in which she transforms into the famed superhero." The exhibit currently resides in New York's Museum of Modern Art.
In theatre
Wonder Woman's origin, the invention of the lie detector and the unconventional troika marriage between Dr. Marston, Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne are interwoven in a 2014 production, Lasso of Truth. The last act engages two current-day characters discussing what Wonder Woman means to them individually, reflecting on her influence on society in general.
In cinema
Images and references of Wonder Woman abound in film. The apparent first appearance of the character was in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy wherein a little girl covers her face with a copy of DC Comics' Wonder Woman #178. Later appearances have female (and male) characters of all ages appearing in Wonder Woman's costume or T-shirt representations of said costume. Wonder Woman enters the cultural lexicon, as characters are compared to Wonder Woman due to their athletic prowess, beauty and/or height.
In literature and comics
Further information: Wonder Woman in literature
In his book, Seduction of the Innocent, psychiatrist and anti-comic book crusader Fredric Wertham wrote that Wonder Woman had a bondage subtext to her character, a claim somewhat strengthened by the character's creator, William Moulton Marston having admitted as much. As well, Wertham also claimed Wonder Woman's strength and independence made her a lesbian, calling the "homosexual connotation of the Wonder Woman type of story is psychologically unmistakable", and considered Wonder Woman to be "Lesbian counterpart of Batman" Wertham notes in the Chapter "Those Wicked Men" in that Wonder Woman's sidekicks, students at the fictional, all-woman Holliday College are the 'Holliday girls,' i.e. the holiday girls, the gay party girls, the gay girls." The chapter title references a comic book story wherein another princess talks about "those wicked men". "For boys", writes Wertham, "Wonder Woman is a frightening image. For girls she is a morbid ideal. Where Batman is anti-feminine, the attractive Wonder Woman and her counterparts are definitely anti-masculine."
This sentiment would be later echoed by other critics. Short story author and cultural historian Jim Harmon describes in his 1970 book, All in Color For a Dime how Wonder Woman would "exchange hugs and kisses of delight with the readily available Holliday Girls." Harmon adds, "It was a very sick scene." This recollection by Harmon is disputed by comic book artist and writer, Trina Robbins. She notes that "although Wonder Woman is indeed seen hugging her friends and her mother in the pages of these comics (women do hug!), she doesn't kiss them. She's never even depicted kissing her "boyfriend," Steve Trevor!"
Robert Kanigher, who took over writing the comic in 1948 after the death of creator William Moulton Marston as well as later creating other female superheroines such as Black Canary, Lady Cop, Rose and Thornand The Harlequin confided to Robbins in a telephone interview that the Amazons from her home, Paradise Island (where no men are permitted) were all lesbians.
In television
Wonder Woman iconic nature has filtered into American television, references appearing in the form of impersonations, costume and character references. These abound in live programming such as The Big Bang Theory, Charmed, Frasier, Friends, and 30 Rock. As well, she is referred to often in animated programming, such as The Simpsons,Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
Prior to the more widely known Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series, a made-for-TV movie was broadcast in 1974, starring Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman, playing the character as a blond in a star-spangled red & blue costume which featured a skirt & tights rather than the comic costume. In the film, she uses her powers to thwart an international spy ring headed by Ricardo Montalban. Her invisible plane is mentioned in passing. Lynda Carter, the actress who portrayed Wonder Woman in the series of the same name from 1975-1979, appeared on a 1976 televised Olivia Newton-John Special as the character wherein she deflects a bullet meant for Olivia. In 1980, Carter appeared in an episode of Jim Henson's television series The Muppet Show. Her performances were singing The Rubberband Man and Orange Colored Sky. During a skit, Miss Piggy becomes "Wonder Pig" in order to rescue her family from a giant-sized chicken. Carter continues to be identified with the character thirty years after the portrayals.
The Wendy Williams Show's host Wendy Williams often drinks from various Wonder Woman coffee mugs throughout the series (having the same initials of 'WW'). In 2010, when DC Comics revamped the character with a new costume, Wendy had a 10-minute segment discussing the change and explained why she didn't care for it.
In women's culture and feminism
Gloria Steinem once wrote:
"Wonder Woman's family of Amazons on Paradise Island, her band of college girls in America, and her efforts to save individual women are all welcome examples of women working together and caring about each other's welfare. The idea of such cooperation may not seem particularly revolutionary to the male reader. Men are routinely depicted as working well together, but women know how rare and therefore exhilarating the idea of sisterhood really is. Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyte, offers yet another welcome example to young girls in search of a strong identity. Queen Hippolyte founds nations, wages war to protect Paradise Island, and sends her daughter off to fight the forces of evil in the world... Wonder Woman symbolizes many of the values of the women's culture that feminists are now trying to introduce into the mainstream: strength and self-reliance for women; sisterhood and mutual support among women; peacefulness and esteem for human life; a diminishment both of "masculine" aggression and of the belief that violence is the only way of solving conflicts."…...

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