The following is a response to this post. There are a number of things I agree with and I particularly like the Diana-as-Pinnochio idea (Seven of Nine is, in fact, one of my favourite Trek characters). But there are a few sentences here and there that I can’t overlook, at least not today.
Feminists are not saying “anything you can do I can do better”. They are not even saying “anything you can do I can do, too.” Feminists are saying “I have the right to try and/or do anything and everything you have the right to try and/or do”. And that includes:
Not wearing pants
Not being badass
Fighting tooth and nail
Choosing not to shoot
Not sleeping around
Falling in love
Having a tantrum
Hitting a home run
Spending too much on shoes
Doing whatever she wants to do
My daughter turns 14 today and she is fighting it with all she’s got. This is a natural and normal reaction, and studies show that young women fight the transition from child to teen where young men fight the transition from teen to adult. As a woman, this makes perfect sense to me. Girls do not want to be seen as objects, to have at least half their worth be tied to how they look, and to lose so much of the agency that is their right as children — that allows them to play alongside boys in little league and basketball, to play sports at all without being called a tomboy, to like comics and video games without being called strange. Boys gain freedoms as teenagers, girls lose them. When transitioning to an adult, boys are expected to give up some freedoms and they fight it, girls have already learned that lesson and likely hope that being adult gives them something back. Adults, theoretically, get the power that comes with the responsibility.
If women and girls didn’t fight the idea that sexism exists and is wrong then we wouldn’t have the vote, we wouldn’t be allowed to own property, we wouldn’t be allowed to work as whatever we want, or work for wages at all (note: all of this qualified as in the United States). If women and girls were satisfied with reactionary characters with the name “girl” in their title no matter how old they are, or women known more for the size of their bust and skirt than what they DO, we wouldn’t be worrying about Wonder Woman or Emma Frost. They wouldn’t matter as anything BUT sexual objects drawn out of your male fantasies of what you wished real women looked like. Women and girls do not WANT their badass situations to feel the same as men. But they want their badass situations to be treated with the same respect — the respect you lack when you say it doesn’t matter. Women and girls WANT TO MATTER.
My daughter wants to stay a little girl because as a little girl she doesn’t have to choose between being a hot woman for whom (and this is according to you) the issue of sex will be part and parcel of her story no matter what she does or to be a not-hot woman who is met with pity and scorn and assumption. Neither choice is optimal. The reason we fight is because neither choice should be acceptable.
I am not arguing that image doesn’t matter to men and boys. I am not arguing that superhero costumes are not silly (again, if it were up to me and realism all superheroes would wear a uniform similar to the military). I am not arguing that sex (or sexism, since it does exist) shouldn’t be a part of superhero comics. I am certainly not arguing that Wonder Woman has ever been handled well as a character. I am not even arguing for pants. Diana is from an island that would probably follow the Ancient Olympian tradition of competing naked; it would not be so out of character for her to wear nothing. My point is simply this: “That somehow women in comics, and in life, shouldn’t be hyper-sexualized.”
Except I say it without the somehow:
Women in comics, and in life, shouldn’t be hyper-sexualized.
And as long as they and we are, we have every right, and every responsibility, to say: STOP.