Wonder Woman!

by Gloria Feldt on November 18th, 2009
in Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , , , ,

I love this video artist Linda Stein made about the history and social significance of the female super heroine created by psychologist William Moulton Marston (inventor of the lie detector test, perhaps the precursor of Wonder Woman’s ability to know who was telling the truth–or who knows, maybe she could tell who was lying because she was a mom) to be the antidote to Superman, the epitome of male power over others. Wonder Woman instead never kills, she uses her power to to help, protect, stop the bad things from happening. Here’s Stein’s intro:

How does Wonder Woman do it? She is able to stop the bad guys—even convince them to reform—without ever killing! Her gender-bending strength and power is matched only by her compassion in seeking peace and justice. The question, CAN WONDER WOMAN CRA-AC-CK GENDER STEREOTYPES? is paramount as this icon and superhero confronts the sexism prevalent at the time of her creation in 1941 as well as today.

So how does Wonder Woman do it? What lessons can we learn from her today?

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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13 Responses to Wonder Woman!

  1. under obama's bus says:

    “Wonder Woman instead never kills,”

    It is that sort of profiling that refuses to let a woman become potus. potus have to be war presidents at times, like now, like ww1 or ww2.

    Wonder woman eats factory farmed meat, she pollutes with her car she even understands that killing is at times is necessary if less than optimal. Wonder woman is just like superman, smart enough to know when to take out an enemy.

  2. Gloria Feldt says:

    So you think women must become like men to win high political office?

    And if not, how do women assert strength and the power-to without buying into the male model of power-over?

  3. Aletha says:

    Like now? As if there could possibly be anything to gain by waging war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran? No, the Bush wars, now taken on by Obama, are just futile attempts to maintain the Western corporate empire. More of the same just might result in another world war. Call me naive, a dreamer, whatever, but I believe in feminist diplomacy.

  4. Gloria Feldt says:

    In the book I’m writing about women’s relationship with power, I’m distinguishing between power-over and power-to. Power-to would be the feminist model. I know it is eminently possible to be strong and effective without using physical power or abuse.

  5. 4th Waver says:

    I know it is eminently possible to be strong and effective without using physical power or abuse.

    I am glad my mother didn’t count on you to free her from concentration camp.

    realism.

    And how about the blacks emancipated during the civil war?
    Or what about the women now being allowed to run for office in Iraq?
    Force. I am sure plenty of blacks are happy that arms were taken.

    Realism. Look Gloria you are nice but wholly ineffective at combating women’s eroding freedoms for reproductive rights. All your pushback against strong women will only keep all women out of the Oval Office. Thanks but you need to pass the mantel, go gracefullly into the good night and allow a more effective but battle ready 4th wave to put women in REAL power. You can write a lot of books, 3rd wavers so that. But in the end, under you, we lost Carhart v. Gonzalez and Obama is a disasterfor women.

    Now you are writing a book that tells women WHAT they MUST be. Thanks but no thanks. Women must be whatever thay want and if that means grabing power in male ways, so be it. Once we get to a tipping point with a majority of women in Congressa nd a female potus, then… I will consider your strictures on women’s behavior. In the meantime, I want a leader who is able like ABE to kick some ass when freedom is on th eline.

  6. Gloria Feldt says:

    Hey 4th Waver, I want to hear more from you. Seriously. Put your anger away and say more about who you are and what you believe.

    Was there a moment when you knew you had the power to (fill in the blank)? Or was there a process, or did you just always feel that way?

    What’s your strategy for getting women to the tipping point? And do you mean just any women or does it matter what the women stand for?

    Kindly don’t blame me for Obama. I warned you, but your 4th wave colleagues flocked to him in droves. What was that about? I don’t think it’s a pretty picture, especially as I have noticed that since Hillary was defeated in the primary, suddenly many young women who supported Obama began to sing her praises.

    Strictures on women’s behavior? What are you talking about? What assumptions are you making? Obviously incorrect ones. I’m writing about how you can be what you want to be, not what you must be, though I do have a pov about one’s responsibility to other women.

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

  7. under obama's bus says:

    “Kindly don’t blame me for Obama. I warned you, but your 4th wave colleagues flocked to him in droves. ”

    Whaaat? That is how you reply to 4th waver? Love ya, but that is a very untrue statement.

    Gloria the 4th wave was born out of disgust for all the 3rd wavers on YOUR blog roll to the left!
    Katha Pollitt, Glamocracy with the daft Courtney Martin who said HRC was too shrill to support for president, who reminded her of her unresolved mommy issues! geesh. Feministing and Feministe, both hated on HRC and supported Obama. ALL 3rd Wavers.

    The New Agenda, FemiSex, PumaPac, Uppity Woman, Confluence all are newly minted 4th waver blogs that you ignore on your blog roll. All supported HRC over Obama, unlike your 3rd Wave blog roll, whiich overwhelmingly went for Obama over Hillary.
    Coutrney Martin now says feminist work need not even promote women’s intrests. Great. Wave the flag as women are being treated worse than ever.

    The 4th wave needs their anger. Anger can get a lot done. Lipstick 3rd wave got us what exactly? Boyz club wannabees like Maureen Dowd and Michele Goldberg. eeeecky!

  8. Aletha says:

    Strange presumptions, indeed. I would say Gloria is plenty angry right now. Perhaps not as mad as I am, but then, I am a second waver feminist revolutionary who is not on her blogroll either (though a dear friend who ran for President last year on the Free Soil ticket is, though her link is broken, I hope temporarily, due to legal problems).

    No wave of feminism has a corner on anger, or ideas, or ways to change the balance and meaning of power. Fourth Waver speaks of realism. Realistically, perhaps women could grab power in male ways, but if that happened, what would change? I am not looking forward to a woman President who carries on the same old politics. That was one reason I could not support Hillary Clinton. Visionary women have better ideas, and I find it highly unrealistic to think women can beat men at their own game. Politically independent women could make politics about ideas and principles, instead of who can convince the big money interests to fund a campaign.

    Bill Clinton, in a fund raising letter for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, made the revealing remark:

    But this is politics, and in politics the best ideas don’t always win. You also need the best organization.

    That is what passes for realism in politics. Is that the model women should emulate? Obama had the best organization money could buy. Clinton blithely presumes Democrats have the best ideas, but that holds only as compared to Republicans, while Democrats have done their damnedest to ensure better ideas remain marginalized, off the table of political reality.

  9. Gloria Feldt says:

    4th Waver and UnderObama’sbus, please reveal who you actually are. This is an incredibly important conversation, but I’m not inclined to continue it with anonymous posters.

    Aletha, how do I not have you on my blogroll? I so appreciate your comments. I’ll rectify that when I get around to updating my site–am a little behind on that sort of thing. I am not as idealistic or ideologically pure as you are, having been on the frontlines of both advocacy and providing actual services to women and therefore becoming too familiar with the “art of the possible.”

    I supported Hillary because I agreed with her on the majority of issues and I know her to be a much tougher and more astute politician on behalf of those issues than Obama is. And as SOS she has also shown how priorities differ when seen through a woman’s lens. The sad fact is that overcoming entrenched power is a Herculean task during which supposedly progressive forces get co-opted. The only question is how much will they be coopted, and one role of advocates is to keep them on the path we think is right. To me, this is why we must stay in the fight and never become jaded.

    When you support women candidates merely in order to reach 50-50, you weaken the progressive agenda that brought women to the brink of equality in the first place. That’s why I oppose right-wing women like Palin. Women need to mass an duse our political clout, but strategically so that we are advancing an agenda that actually does the most to help women rather than merely putting people with uteri into office.

  10. Aletha says:

    Perhaps I am somewhat jaded when it comes to working within the system; I see working with the Democratic Party as a one-way street. Democrats would be nowhere if not for the gender gap, but what thanks do women get? As I have observed on many occasions about many issues, Democrats talk a good game, but their actions are another story.

    That you see me as relatively ideologically pure is amusing, considering some interactions I have had with so-called radical feminists on the Internet. Those interactions made me wary of calling myself a radical feminist, though I am radical and feminist. Both words are too vague, to the point that radical feminism gets claimed by ardent man-haters and feminism gets claimed by people who seem to have no clue what the word used to mean. To me, radical means going to the root, though to many people it means extreme, Communist, or otherwise wacky. I used to think man-haters were a myth invented by men who hate feminists. I learned otherwise. There really are women who think heterosexual women are sleeping with the enemy. I do not trust male judgment, as a rule, but I think to hate men is counterproductive, draining, and plays into their hands. Yet men come to my blog and accuse me of hating men, because I regularly denounce their violence against women and disastrous record of running the world.

    Heart often got accused of being too pure and intolerant of dissent, despite many heated arguments on her blog, because she would censor some commenters who just seemed intent on making trouble, or trashing her. Purity is a loaded word to me, because it reminds me of dogmatism and lack of tolerance for diversity. Conventional wisdom seems much more dogmatic and intolerant to me than my own philosophy. I have ambivalence toward many people and ideas. Hillary Clinton is one example. Randi Rhodes is another. Both interest me, but some of their ideas repulse me, and I think both are too locked into conventional wisdom to be the trailblazers women in their positions could have been. Sarah Palin has few ideas I could support, but she became a lightning rod for Democratic sexism and unfair smears, which I felt compelled to call out.

    I have great ambivalence toward men. I have known some really exceptional men, so I know it is possible for men to break out of male stereotypes, and wonder why more men do not follow their lead. Perhaps younger men are different; it is hard to tell because there seems to be no letup in the pandemic of men harassing, raping, battering, and murdering women. The mainstreaming of pornography and all the sexist garbage thrown at women in politics do not help me feel optimistic about male evolution. Men like Ampersand, who owned Alas, a Blog before he sold it to pornographers, make me feel with friends like him, who needs enemies? Pro-feminist men are such a mixed bag. Some seem genuine enough, and others seem to have ulterior motives for pretending to support feminism. Some seem all over the map, such that I do not know what to think of them. For instance, Gary Null is staunchly pro-feminist, an old friend of Barbara Seaman (they collaborated on such projects as the tome For Women Only and opposing hormone replacement therapy) who used to write stories challenging conventional wisdom on health for Penthouse! He says, at the time no other publication would touch his material. Given his standpoint, that may well have been true, but it makes me almost as uneasy as the friendship between Randi Rhodes and Larry Flynt! Null also made a big deal of supporting Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and Cynthia McKinney. What to make of a man like that, I do not know, but he does interest me. Do you get why being called ideologically pure is a bit amusing and scary for me?

    Also, I am an idealistic dreamer, yet I think my ideas are eminently practical, and that the ideas of visionary women in general are far more practical than conventional wisdom, which is making life miserable for far too many people while wreaking incredible havoc on the capacity of Earth to sustain life. One would think that with all this technological prowess and scientific knowledge, humans would not use that knowledge to foul our nest, but in the pursuit of money and power, our nest is getting fouled as though humanity is dominated by a death wish. I see nothing practical about a value system that encourages this.

    I would appreciate being on your blogroll, and will reciprocate. My blogroll is scant, mostly bloggers who supported Heart for President.

  11. Linda Stein says:

    When I created my YouTube video, Can Wonder Woman Cra-ac-ck Gender Stereotypes? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-xMFvGSPH4 I was aware that WW was imperfect and contradictory [" Wonder woman eats factory farmed meat, she pollutes with her car . . . .-- November 20, 2009 | under Obama's bus"], but for me she symbolized Power, Protection and Compassion—at least until William Moulton Marston died in 1947, when she morphed into more sexist and violent patterns of behavior.

    With his bold, feminist approach (for 1941, that is), Marston hoped to counter the violence of the “blood-curdling masculinity” that pervaded the comics of the day. He stuck to his goals of allowing WW to use force, but only as a defender of justice and most importantly, without killing.

    I’m with November 21, 2009 | Aletha, when she asks if anything can be gained by waging war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran? Look where we are now, after 8 years of a War President! Nowhere–and becoming more and more INsecure.

    I’m all for Bravery, by men and women, but I’m not sure what 4th waver means when she says “Look Gloria you are nice but wholly ineffective at combating women’s eroding freedoms for reproductive rights.” Does she want us to take up arms against the anti-choicers? Should we gun down the killer of Dr. Tiller in his jail cell? –An eye for an eye? And what would that accomplished, except for more and more deaths?

    Did you ever see the beautiful and horrific 2001 movie, “BEHIND THE SUN,” directed by Walter Salles (who also directed CENTRAL STATION)? BEHIND THE SUN takes place in 1910, in a small town in Brazil, where two families engage in a long battle for control of land. The killing, and expression of manhood, goes back and forth, on and on, much like it does between Israel and Palestine, between India and Pakistan, with revenge after retribution after face-saving .
    Is this what you advocate when you say “you need to pass the mantel, go gracefullly into the good night and allow a more effective but battle ready 4th wave to put women in REAL power. November 21, 2009 | 4th waver” –Or do you feel that if we put on our armor, and take on the battle, that “Mission Accomplished” is just behind the next bomb?

  12. Gloria Feldt says:

    Powerful contributions by Aletha and Linda Stein, the extraordinary artist who created the Wonder Woman video that has certainly accomplished its goal of starting a new conversation! Thanks.

    We always have a harder job when we are working to be both strong and good, tough and kind, courageous and progressive, firm about our own ideas and tolerant of those who have other perspectives. it is much easier to say simplistically that we must fight like the men have through the ages. I don’t want women to become men. I want women to redefine power on our terms, and I believe this is the moment when we can, if we see our moment and seize it.

  13. r4i says:

    Wonder Woman doesn’t kill!? I never knew that.
    This video inspired me to buy my first ever Wonder Woman comic book, at a flea market last week.

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