Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mixed Signals

I grew up on Wonder Woman. Even as an expat in Saudi Arabia I knew who Diana Prince was. We had one television channel and once a week our family sat on the couch and watched Wonder Woman. Then Mom and Dad would make us leave so they could watch *gasp* Hill Street Blues. They felt the latter was far too violent for us. But apparently, watching Diana spin in a circle and them prance around in a strapless uber suit was okay.

I adored her. I wanted to be her. I made my own bullet proof cuffs, the really cool tiara that doubled as a boomerang, and even-yes-the lasso. Mine was gold gift wrap string and it constantly knotted. I even had the Wonder Woman underoos. If you don't know what underoos are, they are undershirts shirts and panties in superhero designs. I was a sight running around in those.

Enough side-tracking. Where was I? Oh yeah, mixed messages. So we watched two shows a week and the only one the kids were allowed to see had a half naked woman dodging bullets and shoving her cleavage under the nose of the nearest bad guy. What message was that supposed to send?

We were coming off an age where women were meant to submit, be lovely, have dinner prepared and on the table, house cleaning in high heels, and do it all with a smile. I think Wonder Woman was Hollywood's way of transitioning to the modern woman. But for little girls that have Barbies and Wonder Woman to grow up on, the message is that we are meant to do it all and look sexy in the process. I submit women are sexy as they are, without the jiggling breasts and corseted underwear.

What are we meant to be? Supermodels or kick ass heroines? And if you didn't know what women went through pre Wonder Woman years, it is a hellova thing to think you must be this perfect, super woman, and still submit and secretly long for your boss man. Wonder Woman may have represented a liberated woman to those before my time. To me, she holds womankind back. Diana Prince limits us to beauty tips and red lipstick, panty hose and lycra fetishes, the look-at-me contingent of women who require a man's approval before they can succeed.

She sucks as a representative of an entire gender. It's time she closed the make up bag and retired the suit. Put on your sweats, ladies and get yourself some true kick ass gear. You're gorgeous they way you are. It's time the girls of this generation find a new heroine to look up too. A realistic one. Maybe Hill Street Blues would have provided a stronger role model.

By Kelly Kirch, www.kkirch.blogspot.com


  1. Wonder Woman was a favorite, but I don't think I ever saw anything odd about her costume - after all, did you ever see some of the women's costumes from Star Trek? It was definitely a time of transition but I don't think we've come very far. Yes, women today hold stronger roles, but they are still seen as sexual entities before they are seen as equal partners.

    Back in the day, I worked at my college radio station. We girls were the secretaries, filed the records, did commercial promos, but not actual radio shows. I was the first girl they ever gave the chance to. But I was limited to dinner time muzak. After all, girls didn't know enough about music to do a top 40's show.

    But we did know enough to go on strike. And after two weeks of not being able to take care of the stuff we "silly females" did, we were given equal chances. Funny how our shows became more popular than the guys. And a few years later, the station manager was a girl.

    Just goes to show what a girl can do. "I am woman, hear me roar."

  2. Ah, yes, I loved that Helen Reddy song. By the time that song came out, I was married with a passle of kids, living on my own while the hubby was in another city working.

    Wonder Woman was my kids heroine along with six million dollar man. I was old enough that she just made me cringe along with her "ken doll" sidekick.

  3. Jamie Summers, the bionic woman. I had a JS doll and she wore a one piece zip up suit. Now she's worth emmulating. Although, now that I think of it, her strength was man-made and WW was hers alone. This may require more thinking.

  4. Ah...Jamie Summers. Now that's my girl. Smart, sexy, and knew how to not over-do her makeup. I recall both Wonder Woman AND Hill Street Blues and the latter show presented women in a better light. They were smart, savvy lawyers and cops who could be tough and tender. Much better roles models.

    Get post Kelly!

  5. Well, I grew up on Wonder Woman, too, but of course I never ,looked like she did in her vutesy little outfit. But I would have liked a bracelet to repel bullets! I think today women are so much more empowered and there are so many more things open to them. of course, the good old boyss stills tick their heads in the sand and say "No no no!!" Maybe when I'm practicing my taw kwondo kicks I could aim one at a well-placed portion of their anatomy. When I was in college I was the first-and only-female on the sports staff. The editors always gave me challenges they didn't think I could fulfill, but ha ha on them. I got it all done. And today I'm still on a roll. Great, great blog, Kelly.

  6. My "first female" claim to fame was in college too. First female on the summer carpentry crew--fixing the holes people put in their dorm rooms, mostly. But I hammered nails and laid tile along with the boys. Became the boss's favorite because I was the best euchre player on the crew--the true job requirement.

  7. Actually, there was a really hot girl on Hill Street Blues! :)

  8. I was the first female percussionist in my HS and college band. My fellow drummers in HS treated me a lot better than the college ones...

    I showed up and they stuck me on triangle. I almost quit, but decided maybe once they got used to me, they'd let me play the bells.

    Fast-forward next practice. Band director decides to quiz everyone on scales. The guys in my section were goofing off, certain he wouldn't call on us! Well, he did, and after some shuffling, the mallets landed in my hand! So I stood up, offered up a quick prayer (I hadn't touched a xylephone in over six months!) and quickly and correctly did not only the C scale but the arpeggio as well, and sat down. The guy reclaimed his mallets.

    It wasn't until after the D and E scales were played that he stopped wanting his mallets back.

    And when I showed up for practice two days later, he cleared his throat and offered me the mallets and the instrument for the day!

    I smiled sweetly and thanked him, but told him I preferred to use my own mallets!

  9. Yep, Daren, there was. Veronica Hamel played the smart, gutsy prosecutor and I soooo wanted to dye my hair dark because of her. Fortuntately, Mom put her foot down. LOL

  10. Gee, Dr. Daren, is it too much to ask that you think with your northern most head? LOL.

    Can't wait to see your take on Wonder Woman.

  11. My role model? Right now, it's Alison Janney's character on 'West Wing' -- C.J. Cregg. Love her attitude, her wit, and how she stands up the the guys -- remember the turkey? Who else would have got one turkey pardoned and the other inducted into the US Army? What's more the Pres. likes her and lets her nag him...

  12. Wonder Woman was made to inspire little girls the same way Superman and Batman et al. inspired little boys. And she did ... in the 1940s. (But she wasn't even the first super-heroine; there was one before her, who beat her by about six months.) Every period, every age has a new figure for kids to look up to. The interesting thing is, Superman and Batman remains up there, but Wonder Woman didn't do the job then. (FYI: Elektra the kickass Marvel heroine wasn't really a heroine ... she was an assassin to start with. What's that say about modern society?)

  13. Hmm. Very interesting point Eilis. So who's the current super heroine? Rogue? She's wonderful but so lonely and needy for acceptance. That speaks volumes too.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.