I was born in 1971. I’ll let you all do the math there and tell me how fucking old I am.
I grew up with Princess Leia and Wonder Woman, as pretty much my only options for female heroes. For awhile, we also had Isis, from the Isis and Shazaam hour. Fantastic Four had Sue Storm. And in the 80s we got She-Ra and Jem. On Thundercats, Cheetara was one of 6, although Wiley Kit may also have been a girl, I’m not sure. Justice League, we had Wonder Woman, and later on Hawk Girl, Two of how many? In Star Wars, Leia was the only woman you saw DO anything, until recent films. But yeah, female heroes outnumbered by male heroes about a million to one.
And the reason that I can name them all is because of how rare they were.
The initial run of the X-men had Jean Grey. Then they got Storm. Then, Kitty, then Jean died, then the 80s and 90s happened and for that you need to go listen to Jay and Miles Xplain the Xmen. But until fairly recently, the guys outnumbered the women on X-teams consistently.
I grew up imagining worlds where I was the exception because there either were no female characters, or there was only one. Like the Highlander but with a lot more institutionalized misogyny.
I never missed the Linda Carter Wonder Woman. I don’t think I have ever in my life watched anything else as religiously as that show. Diana Prince was competent and smart when she was just Diana, but as Wonder Woman…
I had the Wonder Woman Underoos. And I whined for WEEKS to get those. When I outgrew them, I was devastated.
I really don’t think that most guys get this. That for years, decades, this was it. Wonder Woman was it for us. She wasn’t a token girl. She wasn’t someone’s wife, girlfriend or sister. She was a hero unto herself. She got to BE the hero.
Because girls who read superhero comics don’t want to be Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy (at least not until Spider-Gwen who kicks all the ass), they want to be the hero, not the damsel. We read superhero comics for the same reason that guys do. Escapism. Imagining ourselves as heroes.
All the fanfic in the world aside, we really, really want to believe that we can save the day, not just sit around “keeping the home fires burning” or some shit.
And that is what Wonder Woman brings us. And that is also why when she’s written poorly, it makes us so mad.
Marvel, DC threw down the gauntlet with the Wonder Woman movie. You all best bring your A game for Captain Marvel.
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