6. Wonder Woman was meant to be a feminist icon
“Sure,” you may say as you give a nonplussed shrug. “It’s Wonder Woman. Of course, she’s going to be a feminist icon. What’s the big deal?”
It’s true that, for better or for worse, Wonder Woman has often been held up as a feminist, girl power sort of superhero. She’s given us proud moments where she encourages young girls and fights for truth and justice. She’s also been forced into terrible, sexist costumes and made to work as the secretary for the Justice League (more on that later). Her comics history is, to say the least, a mixed bag.
However, it’s true that her character began with explicitly feminist plans. What makes this remarkable is the fact that she first appeared in 1942 (well before second wave feminism started questioning the patriarchy and why women couldn’t get basic rights and societal recognition) and that she was created by a man.
It’s also important to note that Marston’s previously mentioned relationship with his wife, Elizabeth, and romantic partner Olive Byrne were integral to Wonder Woman’s development. Marston’s admiration for women (which was firmly rooted in some awkward-to-us sexism) resulted in a beautiful, brave, and highly independent superhero. In fact, Wonder Woman’s appearance was modeled in part on Olive, including her distinctive bracelets.
Of course, time changes a few things – Wonder Woman was also originally meant to be “tender, submissive, [and] peace-loving as good women are.”