DC Comics recently announced that Wonder Women is getting a costume change. Her traditional starry short shorts have been replaced with skin tight pants and she wears a jacket over her bustier. She still has her magic bondage lasso, however.
This change has generated buzz in the mainstream media, indicating either a slow news week or some sort of Apple like power on the part of DC.
Wonder Women has gone through some significant changes over the years. Originally, she had to rely on an invisible plane to get around, but she eventually got the ability to fly (or glide on air currents-however that works). At one point she even got a major downgrade and lost her powers (but learned karate). However, the most recent version of Wonder Women presents her as sort of a lesser Superman: she is almost as strong, almost as tough, and almost as smart. She does, of course, lack his super senses and heat vision (as well as his special vulnerabilities).
Despite these changes, Wonder Women has largely been a supporting character who has had her best stories as part of the Justice League. However, she is still an iconic character and is perhaps the best known female superhero. Since Alicia Ashby has already done an excellent job of explaining why no one cares about Wonder Woman, I won’t go into this matter. I also will not address the change in costume, since Jeff Winbush has dealt with this. What I will, rather, is address the issue of whether Wonder Woman should be a lesbian or not.
Since Wonder Women is from an island populated entirely of women, some folks have contended that she would be a lesbian. Interestingly, this sort of view would seem to be based on the idea that environment determines sexuality. Making her a lesbian because of her upbringing would seem to run counter to the view commonly held by homosexuals, that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice.
Also, if she merely was a lesbian because of her upbringing, the fact that she spends so much time around men (and supermen at that) could result in a change from her learned behavior. Or not.
Alternatively, she could be a lesbian because Amazons are genetically lesbians. This would match with the view endorsed by many homosexuals. Of course, the idea of an entire island of hot, super lesbians does seem to be a male fantasy taken to the extreme. This option would probably be interesting an appealing to some and would make a degree of sense. After all, the Amazons are much stronger than normal humans and hence might also be different in this way as well (that is, all being lesbians).
While it seems likely that an island populated only by women would see a large amount of lesbian behavior (unless the women had no sex drive), there seems to be no compelling reason to think that once Wonder Woman left she would remain a lesbian. Perhaps she would, perhaps she would not. Naturally, if the Amazons are genetic lesbians, then she would stay a lesbian.
Some folks have also argued that it would make the character more interesting if she were a lesbian. If Wonder Woman had been a lesbian when she was first created or had come out of the closet twenty years ago, then that would have been somewhat interesting. However, these days it would not be particularly bold or dramatic. After all, using homosexuality in a bid to make a character more interesting is nothing new. It is done so much in shows and movies, in fact, that I suspect it will soon be not very interesting at all.
As I see it, a character being gay is not, in itself, any more interesting than a character being straight. Or white. Or black. Or Catholic. What tends to make a character interesting is what the character does and how the character does it. As such, merely making Wonder Women a lesbian would not make the character more interesting. It would just make her a lesbian.
Obviously, her being a lesbian could be used to develop some interesting stories. However, her being straight could also be used to develop some interesting stories as well. As such, the idea of making her a lesbian to make her more interesting seems to be a poor idea.
It could also be argued that she should be a lesbian so as to provide lesbians with their own superhero. After all, straight men have all sorts of superheroes and this superhero inequality needs to be addressed.
While there is a certain appeal to arguing that each group should get its own superhero, this runs into two problems.
First, making Wonder Women the lesbian superhero would seem to “steal” a straight women superhero. As such, straight women would need to be provided with a new superhero. Also, some people might have an issue with the assumption that strong, independent women are lesbians.
Second, the important things about a superhero should be the qualities that make her heroic. Being a lesbian is no more heroic than being straight. After all, Superman, Batman and Iron Man appeal to a wide range of people and not just white males.
That said, it can be countered that people desire to identify with heroes who are heroic but also are like them. So, for example, a lesbian superhero would not be heroic because she is a lesbian, but her being a lesbian would appeal to lesbians. After all, people tend to relate best to people like them. Since most people are not heroic, they need to relate to the non-heroic qualities.
My final thoughts on the matter is that Wonder Woman should be made more interesting by making her more distinct as a character. As it stands, she is very much like a lesser superman. While she could be re-envisioned (like the Marvel Ultimates did), this would create an alternative universe Wonder Woman, leaving the “real” one unchanged. As such, what might be needed is a major change in the current character and not a change in sexual orientation. While Wonder Woman does not have the rich background of characters like Batman, she could be developed into a very distinct character, rather than just being a lesser superman in skin tight pants.