BY J.IGLE

25-JUNE 2011 – It seems like Diana Prince/Wonder Woman has been in the sexual closet since her inception in the 1940s. Let’s break some reasons why it’s time for Diana to break up with Steve Trevor and explore homosexuality. Argue if you want to waste the keystrokes, but one internet search will tell you that Wonder Woman is a gay icon.

The combined historic milestones of New York passing a bill to allow same-sex marriage with the announcement of DC Comics’ bold initiative to relaunch all of their titles, brought up the subject of Wonder Woman’s sexuality again in my mind. No, Wonder Woman is not based out of NY; but she is considered rather “All-American.” The US is making slow progress in acceptance of civil rights. DC Comics has thrown around words like “diversity,” “progressive” and “new readers.” Do they have what it takes to take one of their Holy Trinity and rework her legacy to include a different sexual path?

Steve Trevor was introduced in a time when Wonder Woman’s position on the Justice Society was to be their secretary and stay in the HQ while the “boys” went out to fight crime. After WWII, the comics execs didn’t find it appropriate for Wonder Woman to be out kicking ass anymore and focused on her romantic life. I like romance comics, but given her background, if DC is trying “be modern” and make their stories relevant to a new generation of readers, then they should consider the logic of Wonder Woman’s sexuality.

1. SHE’S AN AMAZON FROM AN ISLAND OF ALL WOMEN

Themyscira seems like the logical place for Sapphic relationships to blossom. These aren’t women that only stoke the hearth fires and bake the breads. There are classes within just like any society. There are the artists, the caretakers, the scholars and the warriors. The Amazon warrior gets the most press and justifiably so; it’s rare to have a female role model that can battle male counterparts as an equal. According to The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens (1985), Greek art typically showed the Amazons being defeated which only illustrated that Greek’s gynophobia (fear of women). Not to mention that the battles between the Greeks and Amazons was also rife with rape, undoubtedly an act of war that would lead women, warrior or not, to have serious trust issues with men. The character of Wonder Woman’s mother is based on the figure Hippolyte or Hippolyta. Hippolyta’s girdle was the object of acquisition in the ninth labor of Heracles which symbolized both physical and sexual domination over the Amazons.

2. SHE HAD NO FATHER FIGURE IN A WORLD WHERE RAPE WAS COMMON

The most prevalent of the Amazonian mythos states that men were only allowed to visit once annually for the sake of procreation. Yet, in one version of Wonder Woman’s origin, she’s not even a product of “man;” she was sculpted from clay by her loving mother and Zeus breathed life into her making her more than a woman and closer to divine. Born on an island of women to a queen and raised as a warrior with no father – it seems pretty evident that Diana would be perfectly comfortable in the arms of another woman.

Other psychological approaches might take a realistic look at a girl who is raised without a proper healthy father-daughter relationship. In real world terms, she’d more likely end up a slut and I say this from nigh upon 39 years of observation. So if she’s not a slut with male relationships, a character story like Diana’s would make perfect sense finding romance in several long-term lesbian relationships starting off with one in her early 20s, then a rebound lasting only a year, then another long-term relationship with her in her 30s.

3. LESBIANS CAN BE PRETTY! SWEAR TO THE GODS, IT’S TRUE!

PHOTO BY PHOTOS.ELLEN.WARNERBROS.COM

With more and more famous women coming out of the closet, there’s evidence that yes, lesbians can in fact be pretty. Not all gay/bi women are the stereotypical “butch dykes” that wear flannel shirts and trucker caps. We can thank the pioneers, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia diRossi for breaking lesbians out of the butch mold.

As far as DC Comics is concerned, the 52 and COUNTDOWN incarnations of Batwoman and the Question (no longer a man, now a gay female detective), were relegated to the B-list series which featured many DC characters who were not historically considered primary members of the prestigious crime-fighting syndicate, the Justice League. Artists like J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder illustrated Batwoman (Kate Kane) and the Question (Renee Montoya) as voluptuous women with physically attractive features – and in Kate’s case, an equally attractive bank account as another sign of power shared with her male counterpart Bruce Wayne/Batman.

I think it’s far easier to sell a hot lesbian than a gay male character in nearly any medium—both to producers of the content and to the consumers—because the sexy lesbian in leather can fulfill fantasy requirements for most in a way that out gay male characters simply cannot. ~Phil Jiminez, gay.com interview, May 2011

4. HER FASHION SENSE

I can hear the screaming: “But what about that ridiculous bathing suit she wears? Surely gay people are all fashionable and no gay person would approve of  that design!” (WRONG!) Let’s not forget that she is a superhero, one of American history’s greatest of all time. Superhero fashion doesn’t exactly follow the same rules and guidelines that we do. (Care to argue that point? Read up on Alan Kistler’s Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. blog at Newsarama).

In a May article with openly gay comic book creator Phil Jiminez (super nice guy, btw), he tells Gay.com his thoughts on reeling back the notion that superhero costumes need to be practical – and I for one, agree with him. It’s fantasy and surrealism. Let the designs reflect that.

By the way, as a general note, I’ve really grown to dislike the notion of “functional” costumes in super-hero costumes in comic books. Not that I think they should be completely non-sensical, but costumes are outer representations of ideas the characters symbolize and embody, and most super-heroes are, as we’ve discussed, anything but “practical.” I don’t care where superheroes keep their loose change if the costumes they wear are beautiful designed, rendered, and work as icons in and of themselves. If anything, I hope the LGBT community continues to have an influence on the bigness and occasional outlandishness of the designs of these costumes by embracing some of the more ridiculous aspects of them—capes, cowls, and star-spangled bathing suits, form fitting body suits and domino-masks, etc. Let’s fight back a little bit on “the practical” and the mundane, at least in print, and let Hollywood and others figure out how to make the costumes work “in reality.” ~ Phil Jiminez

5. CIRCE – BITTER RIVALS THAT ARE FORMER LOVERS MAKE FOR A GOOD STORY

BY D.WACHTER

Circe may be Wonder Woman’s equal on the playing field but she’s also a sorceress with the personality of a trickster. In the animated series, JUSTICE LEAGUE, Circe cursed Wonder Woman into the body of a pig. Yes. Wonder Pig. With the exception of Batman’s serenade, it was the one thing Paul Dini ever did that I disliked. It was a stupid story.

A better story would be that Diana and Circe were former lovers with tons of tension between them. Sometimes, they can’t even remember why they hate each other. A mundane writer might take these two and have them fight over a man, but that’s just boring at this point. They disagree politically but they’re clearly attracted each other.

There you have it: Five reasons that would make a lesbian Wonder Woman story perfectly valid and believable.

HERE’S WHAT A SELECTION OF FACEBOOK MEMBERS HAD TO SAY:

Scott Allen S. Well she did grow up on an island full of women…….hundreds of years with only her “sister” to keep her company…makes ya “wonder” 😉

Marphos S. That is what fan fictions are for though I am sure they won’t have gay relations in comic books since little kids read it unless they start making like some comics do a adult version the 17+ rating since they would start to much fussing with parents and such when a little kid comes up to mom or dad and goes Why is Wonder Woman kissing Supergirl?

Iggy C. I say if they’re old enough to ask about it, they’re old enough to know and comprehend. Just because it makes parents uncomfortable to talk about it doesn’t mean the children shouldn’t know. Remember when Mom and/or Dad gave you the sex talk when you were 13-15? And by that point you probably heard ALL about sex at school from your friends or biology class.

Patrick K. Maybe if Joss Whedon gets a shot at writing a WW storyline.

Jim Mack M. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. In my male opinion. Having a strong Amazon female character the automatic assumption might be is that she would be lesbian. I think by having her as Hetero they are breaking some assumptions about powerful woman. Think of woman in REAL positions of authority how many slurs are there about that woman being gay. To the same point why not make Batman or Superman gay? I do believe comics have made strides to include the homosexual community, I was told once there is major connection between secret identity and what many gay & lesbian teens deal with day to day.

Jim M. The Woman is a Wonder! I say, let her enjoy all the Sapphic love she wants to enjoy! She works hard for a living and has had to deal with too many asshole males in her line of work! I know that, if I was a woman and was totally hot looking, and another woman showed interest in me, NO ONE would ever see my face! 🙂

Daniel B. I like to think of her as the only straight girl on an island of lesbians.

John M. Amber, if you want to suggest WW would likely be a lesbian because she comes from an island populated by women, that would suggest her sexuality is is due to her environment and not that she was born that way. That argument kind’a flies in the face of what Gays & Lesbians have been claiming all along: they didn’t choose to be Gay or Lesbian; they were born gay. Not sure if that is a can of worms you want to be opening.

Ashley N. I think for the longest time readers have wanted a “definitive” answer on her sexuality instead of this “is she or is isn’t” stuff. I’d be completely fine if they came out and said she was bi. But I think right now, with this relaunch, it is a good time to evaluate every aspect of her character. Gods know they’ve done it how many times already and keep dancing around the subject of her sexuality. Is it because she’s “too pure” of a character? I should think not because Superman is a fucking boy scout yet he still gets his rocks off with Lois. So why can’t Wonder Woman be in a commited relationship?

16 comments on “Why Wonder Woman should be gay in the DCnU”

  1. Folks, according to what’s been depicted Diana and the rest of the Amazons since the Perez reboot, the Amazons in general do engage in lesbian relationships thanks to both inclination and the nature of their sexually self-segregated society, but they have also been shown to engage in physical relationships with men when the opportunity presents itself. In fact, if I remember correctly, Hippolyta eventually forgave Hercules for what he and his men did to her and her people and ended up involved with him (which I personally did not buy, but whatever).

    And while DC may not want to go into the obvious ramifications of Diana having grown up in an all-female society possibly for fear of how that could be perceived as damaging her worth as a marketing icon, the subject has not gone un-addressed. There was an issue of Justice League Unlimited where an all-female team had to go off to negotiate with an all-female alien martial society that was presumed to be strictly sapphic due their very up front hostility toward males. As the Justice League team made their way to the meeting, Fire went off at length on how she could never have dealt with life in a society without males, and then she asked Diana how she put up with it. Diana simply looked at her and responded with — apparently without a trace of irony — “Why do you think we call it Paradise Island?” Fire just let the subject drop after that.

    As for Diana being influenced by the Themiscyran society’s ancient lesbian culture, let us not forget that while the Amazons are immortals (and so, presumably, is Diana), Diana is the youngest of their number, having been crafted from clay less than thirty years before her debut in the post-Crisis DCU back in the mid-1980’s, so while she likely would have had dalliances with other women, her sexuality would not have had even fifty years to see her eternally focused as a lesbian in the same way that her sisters are. And, again, it seems that the Amazons’ lesbian status is due more to situational homosexuality than simply being born with that inclination. Come to think of it, the Amazons were not born at all, per se, and were all physically manifested as fully-grown re-embodiments of women who had been killed by men from the beginning of time through the classical days of Hellenistic culture, so unless the Greek goddesses specifically programmed them for strict homosexuality (which, considering the input of Aphrodite in the process, would not make mythic sense), it would be highly unlikely that every last one of them would be lesbians if not for the sexual segregation of their island and their immortal lifespans. That said, people are people and human beings need loving, so there’s all the impetus needed for gynocentric love.

    Lastly, Amber, see what I mean about that book, The Reign of the Phallus? Let me know when you get the time and I ‘ll hook you up. It’s fascinating.

    • It is a complicated issue considering the consumer implications of a bold move like I suggest. Even if it’s been mildly hinted that Diana plays for both teams, she’s never been “outted” in mainstream press. Then again, nothing DC does is mainstream media covered except for their movies.

      Via twitter @dcwomenkickingass had sent me a scan of that page regarding “Paradise Island.” She said it was JL Elite though.

      • There were a number of Justice League books back at that point and I don’t even remember there being one entitled “Elite,” but I believe it.

  2. And that should have read “what’s been depicted of Diana and the rest of the Amazons since the Perez reboot.” That’s what I guess for typing too fast.

  3. I’m not sure I can add anything, especially since I’m not as familiar with the history of the character as some of you are. Although I’d always love to have more (out) gay superheros, I would not insist she be gay, for the reasons Bunche and John M. pointed out: just because a person lives in a society dominated by one type of sexual behaviour, doesn’t mean that behaviour completely defines her or his sexuality.

    I could definitely see her being picky about men, what with the Amazonian history, but I imagine she’d be picky about any human sex partner, what with her different background and superhuman abilities. (Unless she were to take to being like one of the male Greek gods and boink any passing shepherd or milkmaid just out of privilege and horniness.) (Come to think of it, do we know if, when her mother formed her of clay, care was taken to sculpt anatomically correct sexual organs? Because being a Barbie doll in the crotchetal area would end all speculation.)

    So, I think her being gay is plausible, but not necessary. Her being bisexual or queer in some way, however, makes a lot of sense. However, who she goes with is a matter of her personality, and that has a lot to do both with past story-lines I don’t know and the writer.

  4. P.S.: Just about anyone but Steve Trevor, please. WW isn’t a Jeannie who needs a Master.

  5. Also, during my time at DC I was able to get my hands on and read the Wonder Woman bible that I believe Phil Jiminez wrote and that was considered canon at the time, and in that I seem to remember Diana being described as a virgin, in much they same way as the Vestals served the gods. Don’t quote me on that but I swear I remember reading it.

  6. I think the Gail Simone run pretty definitively answered the question of whether Amazons are gay, because she ends up starting the Amazon traditional courting with Nemesis, and the fact that there are courting traditions on an all-female island answers any questions you might have about whether there is lesbianism, and seems to suggest they may even have same sex marriage or something very like it. I don’t really care about the Steve Trevor relationship, but her relationship with Nemesis really resonated with me. The suggestion that Diana may be promiscuous doesn’t really jive with the character in any way I’ve ever seen her written, she doesn’t even really flirt or anything. Especially when she and Nemesis were like the Amazon version of gong steady before anything happened at all. I like the idea of a possible relationship with Circe, and if they decided she was bi or a lesbian it would be awesome, but I think you really missed the mark by saying that she was in any way a “slut”. If that’s something they want to change then sure I guess they could do it, but she has always been written very chastely since Marston left, to the point of being almost asexual, and to be fair his stuff was only subtext. And besides that, I think she probably cares too much to cause others the hurt that comes with just messing around, and frankly probably has more important things to do than hook up.

    • Please explain to me where I say Wonder Woman is a slut. I’m curious how you inferred that from my opinion since I explicitly say she’s been non-sexual. As for Gail’s run, it’s exactly why I didn’t like the title then and why I dropped it; I respect her but do not drink the Simone kool-aid. I didn’t enjoy her portrayal of WW.

  7. I think it would be a very bad idea.
    Turning Wonder Woman into an exclusively LBGT title is crazy because it would only be appealing to less than 3% of the population. There would be nothing for a totally straight male or females to look up too.
    Sure you would get a larger number of straights buying her title, but I just do not think it would be enough to justify her existence. I mean anyone who reads comics already suspects Diana could be bi that’s why she appeals to the LBGT community.
    Plus making her gay would ruin the American pie family image she has outside of comics.
    People might not say anything but they would just try to avoid the situation.
    If you want to appeal to the larger straight population it would be better for her to become a Christian convert preferably Catholic like in JLA “Act of GOD”
    Or just keep the status quo, were everyone thinks of her as one of their own.
    This of course is just my opinion.

    • We can choose to believe that but DC won’t give her a female love interest (not in my lifetime anyway). They won’t respect her enough to say what’s never been said. They keep delaying WW shows and movies. They simply don’t know her essence as well as fans & historians.

  8. Why should she be gay? I see no point in what you’re saying. Its already cannon that Diana likes superman.

    • It’s only canon now. The Kingdom Come story wasn’t canon. And throughout the decades of her history, it makes more sense for her to be gay or bisexual. Of all the characters, they made Catwoman bisexual while still leaving Wonder Woman with Superman – which also served to diminish the strength of Lois Lane’s history as an important female character.

  9. Since someone rezzed this old 2011 post, I’ll clarify something: I’m not saying being gay is a product of being isolated from the opposite sex – I’m saying the opposite. The Amazons choose to live away from men because they don’t need them or want them. And until Steve Trevor comes along, I don’t think a male figure ever showed any compassion or kindness towards women that the Amazons ever met so if they weren’t going to even be friends/political allies with “the world of man” as they call it, they choose isolation.

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