Snarky's Cinemachine: Wonder Woman Puts on Pants!

Ange Anderson
View profile »


Talk of DC Comics’ polarizing makeover of Wonder Woman managed to eclipse—well—Twilight: Eclipse. At least among my friends.

Fellow I Fry Mine in Butter contributor, Chriso said:

Are? You? Shitting? Me? THIS is the new iconic costume for the new direction Wonder Woman is being taken in?!?! Because of course, gentle readers, a new costume for a female hero always signals a Major Change in Her Storyline. And since writers cannot seem to stop fucking with Wonder Woman’s origin, storyline and general life as a character, she gets tweaked once again to boost flagging sales instead of realizing that the spectacular lack of consistency she’s experienced in her 600 issues might have ANYTHING to do with it.

My bestie Jessica said:

I can accept a great many upgrades to the Wonder Woman iconography, but I cannot accept these disrespectful changes. They have altered every physical detail I felt embodied the character.

Raymond J astutely noted:

That is the JCPenney teen catalog version of Wonder Woman and it makes me pretty irate too. I didn’t realize she was plagued with so many origin story rewrites either!

To be fair, based on the above image alone, I did not fully appreciate the outrage. It appeared Wonder Woman’s ass kicking-capabilities were not diminished despite the lack of star spangled panties and glamorous accessories. However, when I saw this picture of the new costume, then the ire made a lot more sense. The new Wonder Woman looks like an extra on the 90s version of Melrose Place with her small hair and velvet choker. She looks like Bella from Twilight or a moody goth girl, which is not keeping with the compassionate, confident, intelligent grownup I remember from my childhood. I saw Wonder Woman in every empowered grownup woman I knew. Maybe it’s my paternal Southern roots or the fact that I spent the better part of the 90s dancing in hot pants and go-go boots, but I like me some big Wonder Woman hair! I find its erasure the most painful to accept.

While I don’t dislike upgrades to cherished characters—if they feel holistic and don’t send fans over a barrel—I’m not feeling this Wonder Woman makeover, for exactly the reasons outlined so eloquently by Chriso. I am all for respectful invigoration of beloved franchises, particularly if they find a way of using the opportunity for greater inclusion and diversity. Based on the pictures, this does not appear to be the case in this instance. Maybe it’s my own teen geekiness rearing its head, but with this visual reboot, Wonder Woman has gone from someone who looked like she could tackle the bullies I dealt with to becoming the girl who mocked my chub in gym class! More importantly, as more and more of my childhood pop culture becomes watered down and repackaged, devoid of the elements which made it so initially appealing, I’m not inclined to assume benevolence on the part of creators. The changes make assumptions about gender I find problematic. Some of the supportive commentary alludes to female obsession with image and costuming, like these remarks by writer J. Michael Straczynski:

If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility… What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?


Not everyone’s expressing outrage over the costume change. On Facebook, my friend Hank offered this explanation:

It’s for a specific year-long storyline where gods re-write history so that most of the Amazons are killed off sometime in the past. She’s snuck out as a baby or toddler and raised in a city by ordinary humans, thus the updated clothing. She discovers her abilities over time, and tries to undo the “fix”. I’m pretty sure it’s not just a “let’s put WW in pants” thing. Also, the new bracelets leave a W imprint when she hits you with them, and that’s kinda cool.

In addition, DC Comics has an ally in ’70s Wonder Woman herself, Ms. Lynda Carter!

“I think Wonder Woman has a mind of her own. And I think she was just kind of ready for something new,” Lynda said. “She’s got an attitude and if this is the new thing that she wants to wear, well, by God, she’s going to wear it. And I like that. And I hope that in the story someone mentions, where’s the old one? And she says, get over it!”

Ms. Carter, I appreciate your attempt to bring us all together in the spirit of understanding. As Wonder Woman, if anyone can “stop a war with love” it’s you! Change our minds and change the world, Wonder Woman!

So, Bitch, yay or nay?

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

25 Comments Have Been Posted

I say nay like a horse!

I say nay like a horse!

I concur. Bring on the big

I concur. Bring on the big hair!!!

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I'm not feeling the re-boot

I'm not feeling the re-boot either. I just started getting the original series (1976-77) from Netflix to introduce WW to my 6 year-old daughter. WW was my idol in the late '70s-early 80s; she helped me feel strong in spite of the verbal abuse I got from my dad about not being smart enough, etc.

Though the writing is cheesy (it was the 70s after all) the series remained true to the original WW story: strong, smart, beautiful, compassionate woman who reaches out to try to help both men and women be better people.

My daughter LOVES WW. She loves that WW's both tough and pretty and can also magically change her clothes. She will be dressing up as WW for Halloween (so will I). It will not be this new "urban chic" (via the mid '90s) moody pseudo-goth chick look (a bedazzled denim jean jacket??). It will be the good old-fashioned spangled bathing suit/unitard thingy with red boots, cuff bracelets, and a golden lasso!!

But it's not a reboot! You

But it's not a reboot! You can still read the canotical comic series by Gail Simone (who also did Birds of Prey) they're not going anywhere. They're sold at book and comic stores everywhere. This alternative realitiy series isn't meant to replace WW and her story, most superheros (including Superman and Batman) have already had alternative series made of them, and nobody expressed so much outrage over them.

If there's something to be anxious about, be anxious over the next live action movie for WW due in 2013.

Sadly, that isn't the case.

Sadly, that isn't the case. This isn't an Elseworlds or a What If?; this is the one and only Wonder Woman title to be published. Unlike Superman and Batman, she just has the one. Gail is leaving the book to focus on BoP alone, and JMS is taking over. Now, it's nigh certain that this will be a temporary reboot and the status quo will be restored at some point in the future. But until then, this strange version of Wonder Woman is the only one available.

I'm getting tired of talking about this over and over

Okay kids, I'm going to say this once and never post this again anywhere. Classic wonder woman isn't being replaced. The new backstore and clothes is part of the "alternative timeline" your friend Hank mentioned. No, it is not a major shift in the character's backstory any more than the Star Trek movie that came out last year was meant to erase over forty years of the canotical story line of Captin Kirk and Spock. I'm willing to bet most of the people who are complaining about this don't even read comics or watch sci fi and thus are oblivious to the concept of alternate realities... I think people just want to find something new to be offended about.

Well thanks for your input.

Well thanks for your input. We are thoroughly humbled and cowed by our ignorance. Despite your wealth of knowledge you seem unfamiliar with the concept of "cheek". Look it up, though honestly, if you're truly the comic book fan you claim to be it should be a concept you're acquainted with.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

There's a world outside

There's a world outside your basement. WW is a pop icon, enjoyed by generations of people who may or may not also be comic book fans.

And yes I did in fact hear many of the same complaints about the rejiggering of the Star Trek canon. But of course, Star Trek geeks are allowed to complain about their favorite franchise, because they all have degrees in the esoterica of alternate realties.


I _so_ want a degree in the esoterica of alternate realities. Where can I get one?

I don't like the new outfit, but I have heard from a lot of friends who haven't read WW in a while that they will buy the new issues to check them out. It's unfortunate that all the publicity is based on the outfit instead of the storyline, but I would like to see more people reading WW.

I_so_ want a degree in the

<em>I_so_ want a degree in the esoterica of alternate realities. Where can I get one?</em>

I think my college (Goddard) probably offers this as a major, or at the very least the possibility of pursuing it as a concentration.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I like the new outfit!

I dunno, I really like the fact that she gets to wear pants and a jacket instead of a star-spangled bathing suit. She gets to look normal, which in turn makes her look more like REAL girls and young women. Saying you don't like the outfit is one thing. But saying her old, iconic outfit is MORE feminist? Please! She's flying eye candy in her old outfit. She doesn't have to strip down to nothing to have power anymore, and that's pretty cool.

really, how does her more

really, how does her more conventionally attractive, Bella/Kristin Stewart white chick goth read as more feminist? Honestly, I related more to her previous incarnation as a brown girl than I do this one. And that reads as feminist in my book.

Please don't start trying to slut shame. Naked, Skintight, there's really not a difference, and I don't inherently have a problem with WW's costuming. Smart, compassionate eye candy is cool with me.

So we're just gonna have to agree to disagree, which is cool.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


If WW were a real human being with the power to choose her costume, pointing out that she is flying eye-candy might be slut-shaming. But she is not. She has been written almost exclusively by men since her birth in the 1940s, for a primarily male audience*... her costume (not the original, so much, but certainly later modifications) was deliberately designed to flaunt T&A to gain male attention, and, much like Power Girl, people are always trying to turn criticism of that into "slut-shaming" as though the character had autonomy:

Well, guess what-- she doesn't have autonomy. These choices are intended to turn a powerful superheroine into a sex object. I am sick of how virtually every comic featuring women superheroes has to depict them in underwear, super-busty, super-leggy... I am sick of scenes like in a recent She-Hulk, when an explosion mysteriously destroys her pants but nothing else. WW is a great character in many ways, and has been a feminist from the very beginning (though there was a period post-Wertham that they toned it down), but she is still meant to sell, and women's bodies sell. This wardrobe change, however stupid it may be, has at least that much going for it (that her body is not exposed), though they will still find a way-- still have found a way-- to make her body as visible as possible through the clothes.

*Before anyone points out heterosexism: lesbians were not the targeted demographic for the original WW.

If it were just the pants,

I might like it, but the jacket, small hair, tweenage accessories, erasure of red boots and "W," and, as Shelby Knox pointed out, SMALLER MUSCLES make it a "no" for me.

This is made of win! "In

This is made of win!

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The W logo is still

The W logo is still there--it's just really, really small. You can see it up at the collar of her leotard, and I think that's supposed to be the lasso hanging from her belt? To me, this outfit is just a weak attempt at being "hip," created by someone who is out of touch with women and fashion, and the desire to be "hip" has caused the iconography of Wonder Woman to be compromised--something I don't think would ever happen to, say, Superman. It seems they're trying for a noir-ish appeal that doesn't really work with the characterization of WW.

Honestly, I think the leggings aren't a bad idea, but I'd prefer to see some ass-kicking red boots over them rather that what appear to be gold-accented Frye boots. And yeah, she needs some volumizer or something!

Honestly, I think the

<em>Honestly, I think the leggings aren't a bad idea, but I'd prefer to see some ass-kicking red boots over them rather that what appear to be gold-accented Frye boots. And yeah, she needs some volumizer or something!</em>

Ha. I do love me a Frye boot, but I don't know how much gravel or hipster terrain WW is expected to cover.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Shades of The Ink-Stained Amazon and Lynda Carter

i can't help but wonder what the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Ink-Stained Amazon, Jennifer K. Stuller</a> thinks of the changes to Wonder Woman's outfit and back-story. There was a question on her blog wanting to know <a href="" rel="nofollow">Who are your Favorite Action Heroines?</a>. The third photo in that post was of the Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman labeled <a href=" rel="nofollow">"Amazon Princess"</a> . i would personally prefer the amazon Wonder Woman back-story (and the panties and golden lasso). Will the new Wonder Woman be more dominant and will that golden lasso develop new powers?

Buying it doesn't mean liking it.

You can't judge it on the basis of the first issue... that's going to be heavily weighted by collectors and investors who might be responding to all the buzz. Let's see how the second issue does.

Consider this most likely

Consider this most likely will be the source material for the 2013ish movie, a sell out of a 60k first run ain't exactly the "hotcakes" one might assume.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I really liked the links in

I really liked the links in this blog entry on the matter:

There are plenty of people brainstorming some kick-ass redesign options out there! It is possible to update without completely redefining the character but it sounds like that might be what they were going for... ah well.


I like it.
I find that it screams "Look! Red, gold, blue! Stars! Look!!" a lot less than the old outfit, while still keeping these elements that made her costume so iconic (I particularly like the stars on her shoulders). Also, bracelets that leave a "W" imprint when she punches? That's pretty badass.
Finally, I know this is a very minor point but still: it makes a much better, more practical Hallowe'en costume. A high-cut bathing suit and some boots isn't enough for a late-october/early-november evening; pants and a jacket just make more sense when it could snow.

Well, it appears there is

Well, it appears there is only room for one pantsless hero per generation, and I suppose Lady Gaga has this one covered.

I like it

To be honest, I've always hated Wonder Woman's look. I always thought it was completely impractical (as far as superhero outfits go) and I always hoped they would have upgraded her to something less bright and annoying. Also, as a former high school goth, I resent the comparison. I'd hardly call it goth. Tons of super heroes are getting upgrades and I thought Wonder Woman would just get passed by because she's a woman. But, lo and behold, she's getting treated the same.

As a feminist, I am completely against the argument that something shouldn't be changed for the sake of tradition. We should be open to new and changing ideas. Wonder Woman has always been a super hero relic for me. A hero put into today's story lines simply because she used to be one of the greats. So, maybe a remake can allow nerdy girls of Today to have a hero they can look up to, instead of look back at.

Add new comment