DC Gives Wonder Woman A Father And Misses The Point
By Alex Cranz
In a perfect world men and women get equal pay for equal work. They’re treated the same in politics. Women appear as frequently and in as interesting roles as men in films, television and in novels. In a perfect world men and women are equal.
This isn’t a perfect world and those who say it is are either ignorant, naive or assholes.
I won’t go into all the various ways the world isn’t perfect because after a while it just gets depressing.
Geeks, both female and male, have a tendency to operate under the assumption that men and women are equal in all things. Yes, en and women are equal by the most basic definition of the term. However society doesn’t treat them that way. Socially and politically inequality very much exists. So when women say “I just want to be one of the guys” they’re not saying “we’re equal” they’re saying “men are average and women are inferior. I want to be average.”
And I get it. I do. I’ve been in that boat. As a woman in many a male dominated industry and hobbies I’ve always strived to be “one of the guys.” When I was an active debater I had as filthy a mouth as the fellows so I could be “one of the guys.” When I was active in MMORPGs I often tried to be quiet so I was “just one of the guys.” Even how I spell my name, Alex instead of Alexandra, was at one point a conscious decision to remove myself from my gender in order to approve my hireability and people’s perception of my writing. “One of the guys” was a status quo I desperately desired.
At some point I realized what I was doing. I was trying to operate in a post-feminist world when that world didn’t yet exist. I realized just how harmful it was to behave that way. I was ignoring the very real problems of the world in an attempt to be accepted by my male peers.
Wonder Woman has never had that problem. She’s never been “one of the guys” and she never sought to be one. She’s was created out of clay by a woman and given life by women and is herself, the embodiment of womanhood. When William Marston created her in 1941 he didn’t “forget” about including a father. He made a conscious decision to make her exclusively the product of women. Even Marston could recognize that sometimes women needed a leg up. Sometimes they need a hero untouched by the patriarchy that pervades society. They needed an example of woman who wasn’t just a woman superhero, or the equal of male superheroes, but a woman who was better than the guys.
Now, almost 70 years after being a matriarchal touchstone Wonder Woman is getting a dad* and losing a bragging right at Justice League brunch. And it’s not just any dad. Zeus, the original Western philanderer, is her dad. The guy who regularly raped his way across the globe now plays a significant role in the birth of pop culture’s symbol for womanhood.
You can see why it’s a problem.
From a storytelling perspective making Zeus her father can be interesting. Sure we’ve had over two millenia of stories about demigods hating Zeus for bringing them into the world, but now Wonder Woman can count Hercules (guess he didn’t rape her mom in this new continuity? Otherwise family reunions will be HELLA awkward), Perseus, Castor, Pollux, Helen, Dionysus and Corinthus among her many half-god siblings–also more than half of the Dodekatheon, the Muses, Persephone and the Nemean Lion.
Don’t worry guys, her relationship with her father will be rare and unique and a way for the layman to better perceive the Greco-Roman pantheon.
Up until this point I’ve really liked Brian Azzarello’s take on Greek Mythology. He wants to modernize them and properly illustrate their sheer insanity and awesomeness. As a Greco-phile I’m excited.
“They’re pretty nasty people,” but “they can also do a lot of good. They’re like a mirror of human beings, turned up to 11.”
That’s the absolute right direction to take the gods–I’m just not crazy about him dragging Wonder Woman along with them. She was something special precisely because her origin was so unique. Something special and something empowering.
In that aforementioned perfect world giving Wonder Woman a father–even Zeus–is a logical next step, but as it is it’s just another example of how very deaf DC is when it comes to women. They honestly don’t get it.
“In this case, making her a god actually makes her more human, more relatable,” DC co-publisher Jim Lee said.
“Everybody’s got a father,” Azzarello said. “Even if he’s not the nicest guy in the world.”
That was the point Azzarello. Batman saw his parents murdered and it impacted his life. Superman was the product of two sets of parents showering him with near infinite love. Wonder Woman was the product of women. Now she’s just another demigod in tights.
*Should you follow the source remove all babies from your proximity. The way the article is written will give you a very strong desire to punch said babies.