Gender Inequality In Comics: Wonder Woman
The superhero’s shown in comic movies and books help codify gender stereotypes. Wonder Woman is fictional superheroine. She appeared on October 1941 in books published by DC comics. A Wonder Woman is portrayed as a brave, beautiful and lovable woman. She has always been find helping people. However, her character is also shown as inferior than a male superhero. She is having an invisible plane, a magic lasso, and bullet- proof bracelets. Moreover, her bullet – deflecting bracelets are a reminder of Amazon’s imprisonment and the brutality of men. Her costume shows that women need gadgets to look superior than men. Furthermore, Wonder Woman has shown highly sexualized in comics. In addition, her role and character has highly drawn the attention to gender inequality stereotypes. By looking at the character of Wonder Woman in comic books and movies, it is evident that the character does not represent the role of a strong woman. It is significant because women’s power has degraded in comic books and movies.
As a superheroine, Wonder Woman is portrayed an inferior character to a man. Women are treated as a sexual object in comic books and movies. These movies and books are filled with so many sexual images of women. Women are shaped with a classic hourglass figure in comics. In “An analysis of Embodiment among Six Superheroes in DC Comics”, Dr. Edward Avery- Natale writes, “Female characters were coded for breast size, ranking the images from those with breasts that are almost unobservable to ‘extra-large’” (75). It shows that body of female is the only source of attracting audience. In comic books and movies, women characters are represented in an involuntary bondage. Woman is always shown with a lot of jewelry on her. For example, the costume and jewelry of the wonder woman in images is evident (Avery- Natale 83). It is visible in the picture that wonder woman is bonded in the chain and crying. Bonded a woman in chains, shows a cruel behavior of the society regarding women. Moreover, comic movies depict women biologically different as these movies has shown women in short dresses which do not fully covers their body. In fact, portraying women in half naked clothes degrade their character and indicate that women use sexual gestures to attract men. Additionally, in comic books, it is shown that Wonder Woman is tied in ropes by her boyfriend which displays men power over women. Tying Wonder Woman in ropes, conveys that men can control women against her wishes.
Despite having power and skills, Wonder Woman’s character is truly degraded in comic books and movies. Wonder woman is not as strong as a superhero of comic world. “She is treated like an animal. Her clothes are shown torn to rags. A chain and collar around her neck” (Avery- Natale 83). This shows that woman cannot be able to escape her from all the difficulties. Women who develop noticeable muscularity are often accused of gender transgression. Moreover, women with muscles is shown as professional bodybuilder while there is no statement on the masculinity of men. Wonder women is a strong woman who is showed helping others with love and respect. However, as compared to man her character is degraded to a large extent. The dress of wonder woman almost grants the viewer a view up of her skirt. In addition, it is totally disgusted to show women in half clothes just to attract audience. In comic world, women are used only as a commodity of attraction. Her own will and strength do not matter. In “Wonder Woman”, Gloria Steinem argues the point of Mars, “Women are the natural spoils of war and must remain at home, the helpless slaves of the male victors” (207). This statement exhibits women are villains and they can spoil everything. The character of women shown in comics demotivates women. As in the above written statement, it is said that women should not allowed to go out which demonstrates the thinking of society for women. It demonstrates that women are not equal to men. It greatly impacts the women role in today’s world. If girl reading comic book compares herself to the character shown in the book, then this will truly demotivate her. However, the role of Wonder Woman has a positive impact on women as she is shown as a brave warrior also. Despite having great character, the above-mentioned obstacles have also depicted in her way of success
Most of the women characters are shown with a lack of strength in the them. Women are portrayed in a way that she cannot be stronger than a man. Wonder Woman helps people with minor objects. She has an invisible plane. It shows that woman cannot stand alone and competent. In comic world, woman is shown as defenseless. For example, in “Wonder Woman”, Gloria Steinem points that “Literally, the female child is left to believe that, …, she can only hope some man can come to her rescue” (Steinem 203). This makes the woman feel that she cannot survive alone. She can only have identified with the support of man. Her own identity is not enough to show her strength. Moreover, it points out that woman is not stronger than man. Although a woman has power to rescue herself from troubles; however, she needs a support of man to protect herself from the evil gaze of society. In addition, a male dominated society has demonstrated women powerless. For example, “She can go toe- to -toe with her male counterparts, both hero and villain, and can even win in these fights” (80). This example clarifies that women need men to win any fight which shows women are not capable to fight alone and they are weak.
The rules and restrictions which are put on women makes them helpless in some situations. In comics, women are shown helpless. They are portrayed in a way that they always seek help of others. It is seen in the movies that women are not allowed to reveal her real identity. If a woman has powers and she can stand against any evil misconduct, then she is not allowed to show her powers. For instance, Wonder Woman is only allowed to show her powers to punish criminals. Avery- Natale argues that “the female in the cinematic form is constructed specifically to be looked at, …, the female on screen becomes objectified” (Avery- Natale 77). This shows that body of female superhero is only an object to create male fantasies. They are enabled to use their powers. Their body is the source of attraction only but nothing else. Moreover, the female costume, which often reveals the breasts and buttocks, represents the role of female not only as hero but also sex object. This also limits the role of woman superhero in comics. Dr. Edward Avery- Natale writes, “Even in her super- identity, the superheroine maintains the signifiers of her femininity despite her gains of power and strength” (92). This maintenance of femininity seems to be a important part of degradation of women power.
At last, this is evident that the character of Wonder Woman has greatly shown the gender inequality. From the above written examples, it is truly proved that woman’s own will and strength is nothing. Moreover, the maintenance of femininity seems to be a necessary part of the female degradation of superheroines as powerful women. In addition, Women are thought to be less intelligent than men and only have a place in the house as a caretaker or source of emotional support. This shows that men are superior than women. Wonder Woman’s character has drawn the statement that women are less superior than men. For all these reasons, gender equality is most important factor in today’s world. Women have a strength to alter the thoughts of society if they are treated like men as they can be a warrior, a mother, a brave and a loveable human being.
Steinem, Gloria. “Wonder Woman”, Bonanza books, 1972, 2-7.
Avery- Natale, Dr. Edward. “An Analysis of Embodiment among Six Superheroes in DC Comics”, Social Thought and Research, Vol. 32.
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