Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Power You Possess: Wonder Woman and Girls





For the past two years, I have been enjoying my new role, as uncle to my niece (Amisah).  A year prior, Ceasar Augustus and Sophia Flowers (both former students) made me Godfather, to their daughter Chloe’.  These are two little girls, for whom I care for greatly.  As a result, I am paying even more attention to the socio-political realities that impact girls.  I have spent many hours collecting materials on the mystique of femininity, of ranging diversity.  One such piece, that my niece adores greatly, is Wonder Woman.  I grew up watching Wonder Woman during its original airing.  I had no idea, that my niece would love the show so much.  She refers to it as “her show.”  I asked my niece what she liked about Wonder Woman (“her show”) and she said her “outfit,” “jumping”, and “rope.”  Unbeknownst to her, she is connecting to the ideas of liberty, freedom, and wisdom that are represented in the aforementioned.  So, what can girls learn from Wonder Woman?


In the past 30 years, since Wonder Woman went off the air, there has been a recession in empowering women through the media.  This includes a recession in women that espouses; femininity, wisdom, American values, and defense of humanity through action or rhetoric.  Women and girls are under attack by politicians, who are creating anti-choice legislation under the guise of fiscal responsibility.  Budget cuts at the Federal, State, and Local will mean cuts in education, health care, and critical media programs (i.e. PBS).  The negative images from the media and selfish politicians combine to further weaken at-risk groups, in this case woman and girls.


Set during the World War II period, when villains (The Third Axis), plundered across the Pacific Ocean, the First Season of Wonder Woman (1975) débuts.  While, World War II (1939-1945) is the war’s years, the United States did not enter the war until 1941 (following the attack on Pearl Harbor).  During this war, the Western idea of freedom and democracy were under assault.  The president of the United States was Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The pilot episode (wherein Wonder Woman is introduced), has FDR delivering his “Four Freedoms” speech stating in a rewrite “the only hope for freedom and democracy is…” enters Wonder Woman.


Wonder Woman is a super heroine created by DC Comics in 1941.  She is based upon the Greek mythology of Amazons.  She is adorned in the rapture of Americanisms; her outfit is the American flag, her values are republican, and her defense is in the name of America.  The show (1976-1979), appeared during the modern cultural period of the Women’s Movement.  A period that can be characterized by questioning traditional assumptions on sexism, demands for equal pay for equal work, strides in higher education, advancements in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Employment Opportunities enforcement of laws that upended gender based discrimination in employment. This is a work, along with new issues, that continues today for women.



While, the First Season of Wonder Woman is set during WWII, girls today can observe the cultural norms of the period and learn how Wonder Woman both interacted and chipped away at the conventional wisdom of the time, with feminism.  Feminism provided the theory that opened political, economic, and social spaces, in the name of equality between the sexes.  The First Season of Wonder Woman had 13 episodes.  In each episode, Wonder Woman uses strength, wisdom, and beauty, while being triangulated by the political ideology of Nazism-Fascism, American values, and the stereotype and oppression of women.  The overarching themes of this season are liberty, freedom, and wisdom.  There are eight of thirteen episodes that best reflect the best of these themes.



Provided below are the eight best of thriteen episodes.  You can view the entire First Season of Wonder Woman, here on this site.  Click the title "First Season of Wonder Woman."  Then, you will see each episode on the page.  Click the episode and a dropbox will appear.  From here, you can proceed to viewing the show.

Pilot:  The New Original Wonder Woman

Episode 1:  Wonder Woman meets Baroness Von Gunther

Episode 2:  Fausta:  The Nazi Wonder Woman

Episode 3:  Beauty on Parade

Episode 4:  The Feminum Mystique, Part 1

Episode 5:  The Feminum Mystique, Part 2

Episode 9:  Judgment from Outer Space, Part 1

Episode 10:  Judgment from Outer Space, Part 2


In the end, what girls will be presented are the American values of freedom and democracy.  They will learn that despite often physical and ideological space, as well as cultural restrictions, that intelligence will always triumph (it may take some time).  Though not exclusive to women, but they remind us that through compassion, people can learn from their mistakes.  So, let your daughter twirl, jump, and use her mind, she is unleashing her powers that she possesses.  As Wonder Woman reminds us, (girls) "woman can do wonders, when put to the test."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a young person during the original airing of the pilot & series I loved the show but esp. the first season. I am a bit of a history buff and liked the period setting even though I was a kid at the time. Wonder Woman was great I thought. She represented Wisdom, intelligence, compassion, strength not just physical but also of character too. She was brave (She had her vulnerbilities),resourceful, all good things. She was respectful towards others and not afraid to stand up for things she believed in too, but didn't "get in your face" like so many politicians, social leaders etc. due today !. She also showed women being active in society and not just standing on the sidelines. I loved it, plus I liked all the jumping, running (I wanted to take gymnastics too at that time.) I even liked the costume since I thought it was "pretty" and so did my Dad, though when asked he said because it was very "Patriotic", hmm . My little sisters and I watched it faithfully till it ended. I showed it once to my niece when she was young and she liked it. She is now in her second year of medical school.
I hear that a new version of the show along with a stupid dated disco version of the costume is slated to appear on NBC in the fall. From the background I've read on line about it I'm a bit worried it will end up as a stupid show . Also why does she have three identities now ? Why is she the CEO of a company doing vigilante crimefighting on the side
, is this show suppose to be Wonder Woman or Batman ? And why does everything have to be sooo dark and hard , edgy now ? I don't want the show to be just a reincarnation of "ALIAS" (which was good but it's not this pop icon) . I think the idea of her as a CEO of some company is a little dumb, not that I think women being CEO's is dumb but I think with all the injustices and threats in the world she should spend her whole time dealing with that, not putting out a product. Plus this kind of makes it seem esp. to women, since I am one , you have to be a powerful successful business woman to count. What about all the women in other professions ? How about all the women who do "wonderful things" that aren't Company Ceo's but teachers,nurses, doctors, engineers,social workers etc. is it only business that matters in making one be fully actualized and successful ? well to finally close I'll take a glance at the new show but have a feeling it's going to be as bad as that first Cathy Lee Crosby attempt at it in the seventies. Oh I also looked at the first few episodes of the new version of the bionic woman that was revived and wonder what in the world powers that be in hollywood are thinking or better yet not thinking !

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