Wonder Woman was always meant to be an advocate of love and peace. She became more of a warrior only in the last two decades. Wonder Woman effectively combined both of those roles, which has led to more than one casual fan asking themselves about Wonder Woman’s history.
Comic Book Resources, one of the websites I write for, has done a marvelous job diving deep into the mythology, origin, transformation and powers of Wonder Woman. Recently, however, one of the topics they pitched to us was “15 People Who Slept With Wonder Woman.”
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In recent months, the content on Comic Book Resources has become increasingly provocative.
As one of my colleagues says, we’re doing what we can to keep the lights on. Lists of lovers, lists of the most shocking comic book panels, and lists of who destroyed whom are much more common than, say, “Star Wars Legends: 15 Non-Canon Stories We Miss” or “15 Times Supergirl Empowered Women,” which I wrote several months ago.
This new direction makes me a little uncomfortable. Right now, I’m carefully gauging the saturation point of what’s getting published by list writers. If it becomes too much of a peep show (which, face it, is always a danger with comic book fans) I will have to walk away. Right now, there’s a balance between those lists and less provocative material, so I’m sticking around.
In the meantime, this Wonder Woman topic popped up.
It’s the first pitch our editors gave us about a female superhero’s sex life; the other lists of lovers all centered on men. I snapped it up because I wanted to come at it from a woman’s perspective. Please know, I respect my fellow writers at CBR, but they are men. They might not realize a turn of phrase was cringe-worthy, or they might focus on the more salacious details. Rather than leave Diana’s love life in the hands of the male writers, I grabbed the topic for myself.
As it turns out, Wonder Woman didn’t sleep with 15 people. Not that’s portrayed in comic books, anyway. I had to include other versions of Wonder Woman, like Wonder Girl and Power Princess, who are Wonder Woman personas from other dimensions or timelines.
I enjoyed researching this list. I loved learning about other versions of Wonder Woman, the different origin stories she’s had, and how her character as evolved over the years. Trust me; there were some misfires. In our more enlightened age, her character seems to represent, more truthfully, a powerful woman who is still feminine. (Because of the recent movie release, a lot has been written about whether Wonder Woman is more or less feminist, more or less feminine, etc.)
Here’s an interesting revelation.
What makes something or someone “feminist” is apparently still misunderstood, even among the men in my life. (Sorry, guys. Forgive me for using our conversations as a basis for this blog post.) Feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” That makes total sense to me, and it’s generally pretty black and white in my mind. I know I’m simplifying it, but my women friends and I frequently find ourselves scratching our heads wondering why it’s so complicated. If a man can do it, so can a woman. Women should have the same opportunities, and be treated the same, as men.
Now, I’m not saying we want to enjoy the same “locker room talk” men are allegedly enjoying. But keeping that stuff to yourself in a professional or mixed setting is just a common courtesy; it’s not about feminism. A man wouldn’t share intimate details of his latest conquest with, say, his super-religious buddy who might not enjoy hearing about it. Same goes for women.
Back to the revelation.
Two men who are close to me read my article’s description and, literally, balked. “Sex in the city, and in the air, and on Paradise Island? Yes! After a good fight, a girl needs to let off steam. These 15 people helped wonder women find satisfaction.” I was shocked that they were shocked. Both of them said, that sounds like something a guy would write. Pre-cisely!
On the other hand, when my female friends heard the description, they just nodded their heads and we moved on to talking about who was on the list. Isn’t that interesting?
Here’s what I think is going on, and feel free to disagree or agree with me in the comments below. I think these men, whom I love dearly, pictured my brand of feminism as disrespectful. They found my description offensive. However, not one of my female friends was offended, and, in fact, didn’t bat an eye. Where is the disconnect?
Think back to what I said above.
Essentially, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. A big part of feminism is being in control of your own sex life, which includes sexual appetite, without shame or judgement. Women absolutely should be able to get some when they want it, and walk away if there are no hurt feelings. Isn’t that the perfect ideal for a man, when it comes to casual sex? Two people coming together to give their partner what they need, with an understanding about what will — or won’t — happen when they’re finished.
I recently attended a lecture given by Peggy Orenstein, the author of Girls & Sex. She said the baseball analogy that’s typically used to describe the progression of sex between a man and a woman is a bad analogy, and I agree. In the baseball analogy, a man gets to first, second, third base, and then all the way. So, the woman in that analogy is a game. To be won. What the hell is she getting out of it except cleat tracks? And if she doesn’t want to do something, it’s the man’s job to find a way around it? Orenstein said a much better analogy should be ordering a pizza. Two people decide, together, what should be on the pizza. Maybe someone wants pepperoni and the other doesn’t. Or someone wants extra cheese and the other doesn’t. The point is, they decide together and they both enjoy the pizza.
When Jodie Foster looks for movie roles, she reads parts that are written for men. Then, she approaches the director and says, I should play that part. She did that for both Elysium and Flightplan. Did you notice anything amiss in her portrayals? Nope. I guarantee if those roles had been written for women, there would have been nonsense about romance or make-up or some kind of “damsel in distress” crap going on. Instead, she stepped into a role written for a man, played it as is, and the result was spectacular and spectacularly strong.
Apply that same logic to my list of Wonder Woman’s lovers. If the title was “15 People Who Slept With WOLVERINE,” and the description read “After a good fight, a GUY needs to let off steam,” would anyone raise an eyebrow? I mean, Wolverine is an animal. He’s got all that adrenaline pumping through his mutant veins. Why wouldn’t he want to enjoy the company of a woman after a brutal brawl? Well, the same goes for Diana. Maybe even more so, because she’s a frickin’ god.
Don’t mistake feminism for disrespect.
In fact, it is the exact opposite. Check out my 15 People Who Slept With Wonder Woman over at Comic Book Resources and decide if I failed to represent her as a feminist. (Disclaimer: Although I wrote the article and the description, I did not choose the final title. It’s meant to be clickbait.)
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