She Has No Head! – Is the Destruction of The Amazons The Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics?

Kelly Thompson on Wonder Woman issue 7: She Has No Head! – Is the Destruction of The Amazons The Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics? | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources.

I drafted Wonder Woman #7 for my CBR reviews last week not knowing what the issue was about, and it resulted in the toughest review I’ve had to write for CBR yet. To CBR’s credit, though the review skewed a bit editorial, they ran it. However, we have strict word counts over there and I have many thoughts and feelings…so here we are on She Has No Head! five days later.

I have loved and supported the new Wonder Woman under Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. I supported this book vehemently even when I did not agree with all the choices they made — like Wonder Woman being Zeus’ daughter and thus a demi-god — because I understand that writers have to do things that are unpopular sometimes in order to tell the best story. And in fact, doing something unpopular can often be the right thing to do. In addition to that, I also understand that stories are not tailor made FOR ME, and I don’t expect them to be. So I accepted the changes as many fans did and continued to read, and frankly to love, so much of what Azzarello and Chiang were doing.

And more:

I spent the weekend trying to decide whether this story would have hit as painfully if not for the current state of women in the real world. In the U.S. alone we are in a fever of women’s reproductive rights being stripped away, women being denied a seat at the table for discussion of these rights, women who use birth control publicly being called ‘sluts’, and women being physically violated by things like transvaginal probes. Not to mention everything from continued victim blaming for rape, sexual harassment in the workplace, and women still (in 2012!) making approximately 80 cents on the dollar. And those things still ignore the far larger and more obviously dangerous problems that women must face in so many other countries – being forced to marry your rapist, being stoned to death for daring to be raped, to even archaic rules like women not being allowed to drive cars.

It’s hard to ignore that this is a society that increasingly hates and distrusts women, especially as they gain any ground or power for themselves. And so it’s doubly hard to see that reflected back in our fiction right now. To see powerful women – which The Amazons have unequivocally been – as THE example of a society of powerful women in DC Comics – stripped of everything that might be good and honorable so that we may see the broadest most hateful stereotypes of them presented. The erroneous and damaging stereotype reinforced yet again that women with power will become absolute monsters. I would never make an argument that a matriarchal society would be a utopia. I would argue that any society that has inequality can by its very nature NOT be a utopia. But I see the Amazons, time and time again turned (primarily by men I’m sorry to say) into horror stories. Wildly exaggerated speculation of man-hating, man-killing, war-like unreasonable monsters. The question in fiction seems to lately be – how could powerful women be anything but monsters? For me, it’s a bridge too far.

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One comment on “She Has No Head! – Is the Destruction of The Amazons The Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics?
  1. kidkapow says:

    Looking at the original source material, WW comes from an island not just inhabited by women, but after 1000s of years they are the most advanced culture on the planet. WW’s creator, William Moulton believed that women would some day save the world, when men finally allowed them to come in and clean up the mess men had made. Paradise Island was his comic lens version of that.

    Now, the island is perpetually a hell-hole. It’s always a bunch of pissed off, infighting ass-hats, who have no sign of evolution whatsoever. FURTHER, William Messner-Loebs sent them to another dimension, John Byrne had Darkseid blow half of them up, Phil Jiminez gave them a civil war again decimating their numbers AND Hippolyta got killed, Greg Rucka had Hera (who in the current canon turned them all into snakes) god-smack the beautiful version that Jiminez built crashing to the shore of the Carolinas and then, for the third time in history relegated them to another dimension, then Will Pfeiffer brought the queen back as a pissed off asshole who led the Amazons against the US government.

    The version of WW that this character distills into is a poor man’s Xena. Diana was originally very much a super-heroine with an arsenal of weapons and gadgets, both scientific and magical. Even her tiara and earrings had a dual, science-driven purpose.

    Plus, no fucking origin story. DiDio claims he doesn’t want to retread old ground. She has not had a genesis tale for 25 years, yet her JL peers have all had them in the last decade and since her last retelling Superman has had SIX. Why does this character NEVER get any consideration? People WANT to love and support this character.

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