Wonder Woman: Porn Star, Feminist Icon, Erotic Goddesss, or All of the Above?

on January 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

This recent Playboy magazine cover has already been commented on all over the net with varying degrees of righteous scorn, insight, and “What’s the big deal/are you really so suprised-ness?” so while I doubt I have anything insightful to add I feel like should say something.

It’s distressing that the character who originated as a role model for girls (regardless of the problematic ideology of her creator) and was later adopted as a symbol of female empowerment has again been co-opted, not as a figure of women’s sexual empowerment, but as an image of male fantasy. (Then again, I suppose she has also always been this as well.)

But it’s almost like a sexist slap in the feminist face. Gloria Steinem was one of the champions of the Amazon Princess in the 1970s. In the 1960s she wrote her famous undercover expose of Playboy Clubs, “I Was a Playboy Bunny.” So in this we meet a moment of cultural irony.

I’ll bet the editors of Playboy thought they were merely being playful.* Wonder Woman is after all a recognizable symbol of a powerful woman.

I can’t say I’m happy about it, especially the comparison of this model/actress to Lynda Carter, but I can’t help but wonder what the response would be if this were a spread on Suicide Girls (Minimal pun intended).

*At least it’s not as insidious as the panel in the “Women’s Lib” issue of Wonder Woman where the writers actually had Diana say, “In most cases I don’t even like women . . .” Likely a childish message from the writers of Wonder Woman to the editors of Ms. for interfering with their work.

Leave a Reply