I think the entire comic revolves around the strength of a woman. In the beginning, these women had been kept in chains. However, the women managed to break free. We don't know how, but they manage to break the chains and escape. They still survived and empowered themselves (let us say to the level of wonder woman) while living on the island. Marston says that these women later developed a great mental as well as physical supremacy. Wonder woman leaves the Island, and the main reason she comes to America is not to look for love or a different life; she comes to battle fascism with feminism. It is a tough mission that demands masculinity. It is a task that shows guts and strength. I think being that this period was dominated with feminism, Marston predicted what was to come after women empowerment. Through Wonder Woman, he tries to explain how activists and organizations will be fighting for equal rights for everyone. It is the case in the present day. Women have been empowered and their strength in the society is evident. Non-governmental organizations have empowered women, and we have even seen women presidents ruling powerful nations.
Marston also tries to expose women's sexuality but brings it out as strength. Some see it as stereotyping of the female gender, but I think it is a good thing to blend with the power of women shown in the comic. According to me, this is to demonstrate the heart and compassion of a woman. It is to portray that a woman could be entirely reasonable and powerful. It shows that a woman could take on other tasks (apart from domestic chore) and still maintain her natural sexuality. It is easy to see this as stereotyping of the female gender because women at this period sold their sexuality. If this was what they did, I want to believe that Marston suggests that women could remain female but still be strong if given opportunity. He brings out the fact that women were equally strong but had been underestimated. The entire comic was interesting and the fact that it is unique (first and only superhero comic of its time) makes it more appealing.
Response from Other classmates
Olivia claims that she has known comic books as well as the comic culture way before this class. She says that wonder woman is the first classic American superhero comic that she has read. Being the first female superhero, Olivia expected a story that will be more inclined towards empowering women. She precisely points at the Wonder woman falling in love with Steve Trevor at first sight. I don't agree with Olivia's claim because love is a feeling that is mutual to every gender; even heroes all in love. Olivia notices the use of same skin tone for every race (Germans, Americans, and Amazonians). She points that this is different from other comics where every character from a different race has a unique skin tone. I strongly believe this is true. From the plot of the comic, it is clear that Marston is not interested in bringing difference or emphasis on the race difference. That is why he only distinguishes the races by name but does not emphasize by distinguishing the skin tone. I also think that this was a great observation and a great way for Marston to distant himself from racial segregation in America. It seems he never wanted to put such emphasis on racial difference because it was not among his primary themes in this comic.
In her response, Monica claims that she is captivated concept of Wonder Woman coming from the Amazons. She wants to know much more about the society of the wonder woman since it is not covered in much detail. First, she could not figure out how they procreated. However, she realizes that the women in this society had eternal life as long as they had the magic girdle. Monica wonders if homosexuality existed in this society now that it was a community made up of women alone. However, being seven decades ago, Monica thinks that perhaps incorporating homosexuality into this comic would be perceived as pornographic.
Monica believes that women can be both sexy and powerful. However, she does not believe that Moulton making Wonder Woman sexy had anything to do with empowering women's sexuality. This is the point where I don't agree with her. I think that Moulton tries to emphasize that women can be beautiful, sexy, and vulnerable but still protect the society. I also believe Moulton tries to tell us that a woman's power has nothing to do with her sexuality.
Sarah also thinks that reading the comic was interesting especially getting the concept that relates back to class. According to me, I think Sarah tries tackles the same point as Olivia when she claims being astonished that all the characters in the comic were white Americans. She adds that she later finds out that there are three races in the comic; the Americans, the Germans, and the Amazonians. She realizes that the Americans and the Germans symbolize the idea of white supremacy while the Amazons appear to represent some alien to some races. I do agree with Sarah that the Amazons are brought out to be aliens to other races. They are abandoned, and this also reflects how the Americans and the Germans perceived women during that period. Women were treated as a different group of human kind.
Moreover, Sarah realizes that she could link the Amazons with the Native Americans as well as African Americans in America when the Americans enslaved the Natives and later forced them out of their country. It is for this reason that they live on the island. She also thinks that the dressing of the Amazonians could be a way to stereotype women. I don't think it was a way to stereotype women. It could have been just a way to bring out women's sexuality and their might. It could also be a way to show their flaws. No one is perfect, and maybe this was a way to portray it. In some responses, people have said that the Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed. I don't point this to stereotype, but rather a way to bring out women's imperfection. They may be strong and powerful as portrayed in the comic or as actual women would vie and win presidential seats, but they still have their weaknesses. Therefore, it could not only be a way of portraying stereotyping but also a way of showing imperfection.
Sophia observes a lot in the sexual aspect of the comic. She reminds us of how Wonder Woman seems tied-up, gagged or bound in close to every comic. Sophia wonders whether the sexual dimensions of the comic brought out by the actions of men in this comic are purposeful or not. She firmly believes that Marston may have brought his sexual cravings into his art. Sophia also points out Marston claiming that the Wonder Woman was a psychological propaganda for a modern type of a woman. In other words, this would mean that the new kind of a woman will be willing to fulfill sexual desires as brought out in the comic. Sophia thinks that as a psychologist who had studied Freudian sexual theory he might have intentionally incorporated his desires into work with his interpretations. Sophia's point of view is a vulnerable one to tackle. However, she keenly looks at very detailed symbols that are very valid and logic.
Thoughts and desires can easily be expressed and interpreted in some works of art. I agree that Sophia's argument and point of view of the sexual aspect of this comic. Moulton might have been expressing his thoughts and desires when he brought up the notion of a modern woman when keenly linked with the sexual aspect (actions of men) in this comic. On the other hand, I think Moulton tries to shed some light not on the Wonder Woman here, but on the men in the society at that particular time. Marston might be letting us see the kind of men that existed in the society, their lustrous nature and how they treated women. The initial argument by Sophia might be too harsh to use in judging Marston's work of art.
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