Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wonder Woman's Wardrobe: A Recent Update

     For over sixty years, Wonder Woman's iconic clothing has served as inspiration for countless Halloween costumes and has influenced the attire of other super heroines.  Since her debut in 1941, she has worn the same skimpy, sexy, patriotically colored costume. That is, until June 2010, when DC decided to give her a makeover. Her new costume, designed by Jim Lee, is made up of a midnight blue jacket and full length black tights and boots. That's right, full length, making an enormous leap from the risqué bathing suit style shorts of her past.
     One main reason for the change, cites Lee, is to make Wonder Woman more contemporary and functional. In a New York Times article (see link below), however, another, less forward-thinking, reason was given. J. Michael Straczynski, the new writer of the series, commented that it was natural for Wonder Woman to have a costume change, for "what woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?" 
     I think that Straczynski's remark was insulting and uncalled for. The costume change is about adding strength and a contemporary vibe to Wonder Woman's image, not about her "feminine" need for a new wardrobe. His remark is a direct result of gender stereotypes that exist in society today. Women are "supposed" to love clothes and shopping and makeup; they are "supposed" to care about their appearance more so than males do. When a male cares about his appearance, it turns heads and leaves people questioning his sexuality. In order for our society to leave behind such gender stereotypes, remarks such as Straczynski's need to stop being made. We live in the twenty first century, a time where the hybridized gender rather than distinct gender classifications should exist. A man should be able to be interested in his appearance, just as a woman should not be assumed to be interested in her appearance. Who cares if Wonder Woman wore the same outfit for 60 years? Just because she is a woman doesn't mean that she necessarily wants a change. Sure, many women do enjoy shopping and taking care of their appearance, but such interests should not be assumed on all women, for it is just as backward-looking as saying that a woman can't enjoy sports or have a powerful position in her job. 
    I commend DC for finally realizing the ridiculous nature of Wonder Woman's original costume, but reading about Straczynski's reasons made me realize that even though the action is honorable, all the intentions behind it may not be. Just because Wonder Woman is a woman, it doesn't mean that she is obsessed with clothes. 
Here is the link to the article:


  1. On one hand I do appreciate the costume change, as it is more accessible and more realistic to what a contemporary woman/ girl would wear today. On the other hand, I'm a nostalgic person, and there's just something wrong with getting rid of a 50+ year old tradition such as Wonder Woman's iconic costume.
    I do however agree that the comment about women being obsessed with clothes although sometimes true, is simply a stereotype, and a sexist one at that. Guys can be just as obsessed (or even more) with clothes as the "typical" girl can be. So if that's the true intention behind the wardrobe change, then I have issues with that. But it does seem more practical to have the new costume, whereas I can't imagine anyone fighting crime when their boobs could pop out of their shirt at any moment.

  2. I love this new costume for Wonder Woman. I agree with Jim Lee that the change needed to be made in order to bring Wonder Woman up to date with modern day culture even though I doubt Wonder Woman would have ever actually worn her original outfit (maybe to the beach?). Her new outfit is in accordance with more modern clothing, however, she does retain the gold accessories, which are appropriate considering that she is a super-herione. In my opinion, Straczynski's comment is one that is unnecessary because people for the most part wear something different everyday so he was just trying to be purposefully stereotypical of women. Wonder Woman's costume remains constant throughout comic book history because it is a significant form of identification for the readers. We know she is acting as Wonder Woman when we see her appear in her costume. I think that even though the change was a difficult one to make due to her costume's level of importance, it has an overall positive effect on the comic.

  3. I definitely agree with the necessity of the costume change for Wonder Woman. An outfit like her original is not only slightly demeaning for females, but also highly impractical when engaged in battle. Although I do think Stracyznski’s comment could be taken to be stereotyping women, I also think it could be taken much more lightly. It’s unlikely that his comment was meant to be taken totally seriously. Yes, it’s playing off of a stereotype, but I don’t think it is necessarily degrading. In the very first episode of Wonder Woman, it was clearly narrated that “Diana, like any other girl with new clothes, cannot wait to try them on!” Stracyznski’s probably right. It seems Wonder Woman’s character would love to have a new outfit to try on after all this time!

  4. This change of costume truly does coincide with the change of the times. I give a big hand to DC for recognizing the need to up the standards and to move forward from Wonder Woman's notorious costume. I do, however, seeing her new costume as actually less of a costume and more of something you could possibly see on the streets (well, not really, but definitely more so than her previous ensemble). My one concern and question is that looking at these two pictures, I feel that they could have changed her costume but still kept Wonder Woman looking a little more feminine. I do appreciate the costume change, but I feel like with such a drastic change it needed to be balanced by keeping her feminine look and they didn't really do that. Overall I feel that this costume will bring more greatness to Wonder Woman for she will be less objectified for her skimpy clothing choices.


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