Thursday, March 27, 2008

I wonder...

I’ll admit that I never thought very much about Wonder Woman one way or another. I watched the show occasionally, liked the idea of a female action hero without having any strong philosophical feelings about it. Kind of liked that she was a brunette, as so many of our sex symbols are blondes, real or pseudo. In college I hung out with a lot of comic-book geeks and realized there aren’t a lot of women in the comics, but frankly I always preferred Rogue and Storm—team players as opposed to solo acts like Diana Prince. And her props are kind of lame if you think about them—a golden lasso and an invisible plane? Puh-leeze.

Living up to the example of Wonder Woman—or the modern equivalent? Thanks but no thanks. Any one remember the old Enjoli perfume commercial? “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man.” That’s been stuck in my head for twenty years (30?) and it still makes me want to hurl. I never EVER wanted to live up to that. I am perfectly happy admitting that while I CAN cook (as long as I have detailed instructions and don’t get distracted) I DON’T cook, except in emergencies. That’s my dh’s territory, and I feel no need or desire to encroach. At various points in our marriage (23 years, or almost) I have been the major moneymaker, and at other points (including now) he has. Neither of us get bent about that. It all goes into the bank, and it’s all good. We both clean bathrooms and when the kids were little we both changed diapers. He's still a man. I'm still a woman.

As for fictional heroines? I like the ones that are a little more human, a little more fallible. The ones who without special powers step up to the plate. But I can get lost in a fantasy too, whether it's Nancy Drew and her magnetic attraction to finding mystery at every turn or Pippi Longstocking and her super-strength. There's value in that as well. Girls need over-the-top heroines just like boys do.

In the end, though, women need to remember that they can be powerful without a golden lasso. They can be strong without bullet-proof wristbands. And they can be sexy without corseted curves and perfect hair and make-up. Look around you at the waitress who brings your food, the teacher who handles thirty spoiled children, or even the police officer who writes you a ticket. There are heroines, true heroines, all around us. And none of them wear boomerang crowns.

Let us know what you think.

11 comments:

  1. OMG...I remember that perfume commercial. The whole thing is stuck in my brain and yeah, made me wanna puke, too. I think, bottom line, things have changed for women FOR THE BETTER. Wonder Woman never did a thing for me either. Much prefer reality.

    Great post, Cindy!

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  2. And some of them play with lizards. Fantastic, laid-back, post sweetie. You knocked it out of the park.

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  3. Heh, heh. Yep my househunk cooks, too. And he changed diapers. When the kids were bleeding (as they insisted on doing occasionally, he was usually the one that patched them up.

    I painted and patched and assembled things. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, if we have a mate, those mesh is a useful way.

    Excellent post!

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  4. Kudos Cindy. I totally agree. There's no set jobs for men or women! Not anymore. But like you, it was drilled into my brain at an early age, there was. A woman can do a hard job and still be feminine. A man can do 'womens work' and still maintain his masculinity. :)
    Lisa~

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  5. I have to agree totally with you cindy. Women and men can change roles today with no problem, but with tv and adds they still place the women below. I have to agree with you on Wonder women also. I would rather be the women from underworld. Now she would be my perfect hero. Not to mention her hero we wont go there.
    Suzanne

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  6. Great blog, Cindy.

    I may have been the reluctant wonder woman because I had no choice. My husband can fry eggs, open cans, or take us out to dinner. After staying a few years at home to raise the kids while he built a career, I went back to work, but had to cope with the household, cooking, kids' homework, after school activities. DH couldn't help because by then he was traveling a lot. I managed with a lot of self-discipline, and when the kids went to college, it was my turn to travel.
    Now I don't do any housework. He took over with a smile. I still cook once in a while when I fed up of eggs and cans.

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  7. There is simply not enough time in the day to do be a breadwinner, housekeeper, and active mom. Something's gotta give.

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  8. Great blog, Cindy. you nailed it. My first husband truly expected me to be Wonder Woman. His job was to be charming and look good in famnily photos. Luckily I'm married to the jewel of the planet, who doesn't care which one of us cooks, or changes the kitty litter or anything else. He gives me time to write and be myself. The heroines I write about aren't wonder Woman, either, just ordinary women faced with extraordinary circumstances who find an inner strength that helps them through a crisis. So Wonder Woman, hang up your lasso. You've been outvoted.

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  9. Inner strength is what makes us women wonderful! Have to agree with that, Judith.

    Well done, Cindy. Spoken with the quiet dignity of a true multi-talented woman who refuses to be rattled by the hype.
    xx

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  10. I know what you mean, Cindy. Women of my mother's generation were expected to care for the kids and take care of household chores while the men brought home the bacon.
    My generation of women were expected to do both. I tried working full-time and caring for a new baby. Didn't work out so well. I finally decided to chuck it and be a stay-at-home mom. The problem with that, though, was no respect from society. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm pefectly happy not doing it all.

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  11. Well, shoot, Cindy, I wish you'd mentioned this was the topic of the week! Wondy's one of my favorite topics (girl comic geeks can't get away from the topic, actually)(not that I've been a girl for a long, long time). YOu've got to remember that Wonder Woman was created by a psychologist and a committee, basically, but without her, we wouldn't have had a huge number of superheroines or other kickass females for girls to look up to! She was invented by a committee of guys, and that says so much. (I did an entire workshop on Wonder Woman, years ago! And there's a brand-new EC author who's a well-known authority on WW, even!)

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