Women Superheroes: When Will They Get it Right?

The CW has just announced that the Wonder Woman project, Amazon, is over before it ever even began. The story was set to center around Wonder Woman's back story as Diana of Themyscira, an Amazon warrior princess. The network had first announced their venture into producing the show in 2012, but after developing the story with two different writers, Allen Heinberg of Grey's Anatomy and Aron Eli Coleite of Heroes, CW president Mark Pedowitz decided that it just wasn't working. Pedowitz goes on to explain that when executing a story about a well known and beloved character, it is imperative to get it right. He declared that, "These are iconic characters so we're going to be very careful with Wonder Woman. You only get one shot before you get bit." While we're glad that the CW is working so hard on being "careful" with the Wonder Woman story, we can't help but ask, what was the problem in the first place? Shows like Arrow and Flash have been produced and piloted without such controversy. Do the powers that be in Hollywood just not understand the nature of a female superhero?

Wonder Woman was published by DC Comics in the midst of World War II-- a time that gave women more importance and power than they ever had. They had become essential to the country's success. With the men at war, the women were left to take on both roles, as provider and caregiver, an all encompassing responsibility that carries with it superhero qualities in and of itself. In wake of characters like Rosie the Riveter and Wonder Woman, there was a clear desire and need for girls and women alike to have someone represent this newly realized female empowerment. But even since Wonder Woman's installation, she has been scantily clad, signifying that though she is fighting crime side by side with the Justice League, she simply isn't an equal. She's close, but she's still a (gasp!) girl. This problem isn't unique to the time period in which Wonder Woman was created. With the 2012 release of Marvel's The Avengers, controversy surrounded Scarlett Johansson's character Black Widow. Citing that Johansson's character was more sexy than super, artist Kevin Bolk re-imagined The Avenger's movie poster. In his version, he depicted all of the characters in the same way that Johansson's Black Widow was posed and well, it looks utterly ridiculous and (shockingly!) degrading.

Feasibly, the problem with developing Amazon may not have been in a sub par script, but instead a misinterpretation of who Wonder Woman is. The show was comprised of men: a male president and male writers, who quite obviously didn't understand how a female superhero works as a whole, complex, and developed persona. Once the bustier and tight shorts are removed, Wonder Woman seems to lose her allure with men, whereas Smallville's coming-of-age Clark Kent was perceived as intriguing and endearing in his awkwardness and uncertainty. Surely, (we hope) there will come a day that a script is written that is "careful" enough to do Wonder Woman her due justice.

Maybe it'll be written by a woman.

Image: Kevin Bolk