Late to the party so I’m sure I’m not the first to have any of these observations! But I’m randomly skipping around rereading bits of the Wonder Woman stuff I’ve already read, and one thing I REALLY LOVE about Gail Simone’s run is how it textually acknowledges the inherent queerness of the Amazons without winking at the audience in a way that would frame it as the male gaze (hot chicks, no men!!), or having it be a cause for panic or confusion (what do they do without menz?!). Like how the comic lampshades that the Amazons have courting rituals, in a culture made up entirely of women. Tom reacts to that with a bit of panic, but the comic itself just takes it in stride. Diana mentions Amazon courting rituals several more times throughout the story.
And it’s not just queer in the sense of, some of them are lesbians, but in the sense of acknowledging and prioritizing different kinds of familial relationships beyond one woman + one man + their biological kids. Different parts of the story showcase Diana’s relationship with her mom, with her sister, with Etta, with the Amazons collectively; Hippolyta refers to Diana as “our” daughter among the Amazons. These are Diana’s supportive family structures and that’s just the way it is. Obviously it could do more (i.e. I think we only see two couples go through the courting rituals, and they are both heterosexual relationships), but it’s not just wink-wink subtext either?
I do realize that this inherent queerness/lady-centricness is probably why important DC people call Diana’s background and origin story “tricky.” I think that maybe that belief comes from a perspective where the absence of men has to be *justified* in some way? Like the Amazons have to hate men (but really just because they don’t ~understand them), instead of just choosing to live apart in their own culture because … they’re fine that way. It can’t just be that they support themselves and each other, protect each other, love each other, and form their own families and important relationships. Like Diana says elsewhere, why is it that people feel that a belief in women equals a hatred of men?
I think this comic shows that it doesn’t have to be “tricky,” because it doesn’t have to be justified or explained. This comic just lets her origin story be what it is. It takes the story seriously and complicates it, especially with the baby stuff in The Circle, but that’s a different angle (and a whole different conversation). It doesn’t try to explain the Amazons in a faily way or treat them like they have to be explained, and it doesn’t make the female-ness of Diana’s family and upbringing alien or weird.
I am reblogging this again, both for the lovely thoughts of a new reader experiencing these stories freshly, and because of the smart analysis of the issues regarding the Amazons as told in those stories.
The OP is exactly right that I had no interest in making male gaze-y stuff out of Amazon culture. I felt it was pretty matter-of-fact to them, they’d lived with it for 3000 years.
It’s sad, but I have actually had many, many conversations with guys in the industry who don’t ‘get’ Wonder Woman and it almost always boils down to the Amazons. They don’t get the Amazons. The Amazons exist without much reference to guys at all, which is kind of a nightmare for some guys no matter how feminist they claim to be.
So you see over and over again, attempts to take away Amazon power, to make it about men, to make their message “WE HATE GUYZ LOL” instead of “this is our incredibly advanced, peaceful and happy world we’ve built on our own.”
It’s frustrating. It’s not just comics, almost every Hollywood pitch I ever read about WW had that same tone.
I always maintained that handled properly, the Amazons were as much a power fantasy for readers as, say, the Asgardians in Thor.
But a lot of people are unwilling to even try it. Stories that take place ON Paradise Island always, always lose casual readers.
There are two interesting things going on with Tom in this story that I think are important. I don’t think his surprise in these panels is gay panic, although I can certainly see why that is always a concern. The way I wrote it, and I think the way it came out, is that he has a moment that LOOKS like it might be a bit of gay panic, but what it really is, as shown in the next panel, is anxiety that he might not fit in, might not measure up, particularly with a ritual that had never had a dude involved. I think he feels he’s going to screw it up.
But that is just my interpretation, certainly people will read it differently.
To me, it’s also interesting that later, when he meets Diana’s mother on Thymiscira, he goes in with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, fully expecting to not be welcome on this island of women, but Hippolyta surprises him, her daughter cares for him, but he’s not an Amazon. It’s not the gender that concerns her, it’s that he’s not an Amazon.
So she MAKES him an honorary Amazon, complete with title and weapon.
I think there is a lot of female power in that. She would certainly have been within her rights to keep him off the island. Instead, she chose to show him what being an Amazon means. I always thought that was a powerful, queenly thing to do.
Anyway, I could yap about Diana all day. :)
Barbara Winslow, Feminist Movements: Gender and Sexual Equality
The next time someone tells me that you can’t have feminism in historical settings I’m going to print out 1,000 copies of this post, bind the paper, and throw it at them.
"When I got into the music industry a majority of female artists I’d seen were trying to regurgitate an ideal of the female image. They were trying to be almost a replica of what was popular. I just found that to be very boring and dishonest. I just wanted to be in control of my clothes. I wanted that choice. That’s the only things that I’m saying. Women should not be marginalized. We shouldn’t play into the sexism." - Janelle Monae [x[
The greatest thing about Mako is I know my female cousins from my mother’s side would identify so much with her, as I did.
I was brought up by a Chinese mother. Not to say that the Japanese and Chinese culture are interchangeable, but there are similarities. Like how we place a huge importance on values like filial piety and respecting our elders. I’ve had those lessons drilled into me since birth. Of course, it does NOT mean being a pushover and taking it in when you’re experiencing abuse. There’s a difference, and not the case here. I love ladies being a rebel and being outspoken, but quieter ladies who share the same values as I do does not make them any less feminist, nor do I love them less. I argue with my parents, I protest when I feel they’re being unfair. So does Mako. if you think she is 100% submissive and meek, you’re not watching the same movie as I did. Look at the times when she voiced her opinions and insisted to Stacker that she could handle being a pilot, to let her prove herself even when he didn’t agree. But she also knew when to take a step back, because ultimately she trusted and respected him. This is so inherent in her (and my) upbringing and culture. So when ~feminists~ say that these traits make her a bad character, it’s also telling me that I have to bend to THEIR ideals to be considered feminist. That if I don’t shake off the values I was brought up with, I’m an oppressed woman of East Asian descent who constantly requires permission from the men in my life.
and I say fuck that.
TW: child abuse
(◕‿◕✿) facts about divorce for feminists and MRAs:
- in most (51%) of cases, both parents decided on their own (out of court) that the mother was to receive full custody
- in 29% of custody cases, the decision was made without any third party involvement
- in 91% of cases, the decision for the mother to have custody was made without court involvement
- of those who go to court, 70% of men who seek custody of their child receive it
- of those 70%, 1/3 of the cases cited domestic abuse as part of the reason for divorce
- women who mention having been victims of domestic abuse in court are less likely to receive custody of their children than women who didn’t
i’m tired of seeing posts on feminism by both feminists and MRAs citing “gender bias in custody cases” as a problem we need to solve. women aren’t unfairly receiving custody more often. abusive men are unfairly receiving custody.
the fact is, if my dad had actually attended his court ordered anger management type classes, i would legally have been required to spend a portion of my time with him until i turned 18, even though he beat my mother and abused me.
don’t let anyone make you think that the scale isn’t still tipped toward men in a court of law.