Wonder Woman's Vanishing Boyfriend

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Wonder Woman's Vanishing Boyfriend

Wonder Woman's boyfriend may have been pushed to the curb because he made male readers uncomfortable.

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I thought Steve Trevor was done rather well in the Wonder Woman animated movie, especially at the end where he tells her to call him if she is late so the dinner won't get cold. I also liked his appearance in the Brave and the Bold because of the fact he got saved by Wonder Woman.

I just love scenes or jokes in which gender roles are reversed.

This is an interesting idea; I wouldn't mind though digging a little deeper than just (admittedly strong) circumstantial evidence before assuming sexism is at work. Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing (heck, I'm one of those men who believes in female superiority anyway), I just think this is a pretty deep issue and I wouldn't mind seeing it explored more.

Good food for thought - I never followed comics enough to know about Steve Trevor at all.

Hmmm...now that you mention it, yeah. Hadn't noticed that before.

Great piece, your points were clear and I for one, agree.

Insecurities around masculinity are widespread. The modern man is filled with doubt and anxiety. It is best to move past it, I personally like having a very equal relationship with my bride. No one needs to be in control, no one needs to have all the power.

Comics can move past the man being the most powerful, and let woman have powerful roles too, if they want to.

What about Batman? I am not a huge comic book fan, but I have seen some comics and specially animated movies/ series that show a connection between them.

I was always under the impression she was a lesbian; given she comes from an island full of women
go figure eh, I still can't think of who they could pair her up with, maybe Aquaman or Nightwing but overall I dunno I rather see her with Batwoman

snfonseka:
What about Batman? I am not a huge comic book fan, but I have seen some comics and specially animated movies/ series that show a connection between them.

I don't think it has ever been examined enough to call it a relationship. Wonder Woman's Blackest Night mini series outright says that she loves him but I don't believe that they have acknowledged their feelings to one another or acted upon them.

Am I the only one who finds it strange, that the article uses the word "we" so much? The idea of a female superhero saving her regular bloke boyfriend doesn't make me uncomfortable, for instance.

C. Cain:
Am I the only one who finds it strange, that the article uses the word "we" so much? The idea of a female superhero saving her regular bloke boyfriend doesn't make me uncomfortable, for instance.

Yeah, I'd be more than happy to read that.

GiantRaven:

Yeah, I'd be more than happy to read that.

As long as it's executed in a tasteful manner.
I would hate if it only occurred in fetish-related works or contexts. That would be a waste of potential.

Interesting article (I only knew about Steve from that animated Wonder Woman movie and from that openning sequence in one of Batman The Bve and the Bold episodes). I would of expect this type of article to be seen on Comicvine so it's refreshing to see it on here instead.

I feel so uncomfortable with this idea that I find hard even to imagine my heroines with weaker boyfriends. The need men have to be strong is not just cultural, it is marked in our instincts (of men and women).

Grahav:
I feel so uncomfortable with this idea that I find hard even to imagine my heroines with weaker boyfriends. The need men have to be strong is not just cultural, it is marked in our instincts (of men and women).

Hey? What makes you think that it's a biological, not cultural thing?

Also, there's quite a number of people that don't feel that way.

A good article. Its nice to see recognition that, while it is a problem, the requirement that women in games/comics/whatever wear skimpy cloths is actually the least of the issues with how women characters work in games/comics/whatever.

castlewise:
A good article. Its nice to see recognition that, while it is a problem, the requirement that women in games/comics/whatever wear skimpy cloths is actually the least of the issues with how women characters work in games/comics/whatever.

Well, it helps that you can immediately see the problem by looking at a single panel or cover, you don't have to read the whole think, or examine the entire series/universe.

And, likewise, gather interest and support for people not wanting to dedicate time for a more thorough examining...you'd sorta have to be a fan to read enough to pick up all the issues.

I wholeheartedly agree. It seems silly to have such a stupid double standard. Perhaps ditching it would finally make Wonder Woman interesting enough for me to read (as it has never really caught my eye that well).

Let's not kid ourselves guys, there's only one man good enough for Diana: And that's Aquaman, like in that one arc of "JLA."

But in all seriousness the character doesn't need a significant other and works better without one.

GZGoten:
I was always under the impression she was a lesbian; given she comes from an island full of women
go figure eh, I still can't think of who they could pair her up with, maybe Aquaman or Nightwing but overall I dunno I rather see her with Batwoman

Me too. Some of the old comics have a lot of Wonder Woman tying up other women or getting tied up herself... though I suppose there are limits to what you can use a lasso for, even a golden one that makes people tell the truth.

Also, shouldn't she have only one breast if she's really an amazonian? How's she supposed to fire a bow with those things? :p

Grahav:
I feel so uncomfortable with this idea that I find hard even to imagine my heroines with weaker boyfriends. The need men have to be strong is not just cultural, it is marked in our instincts (of men and women).

Trying to think...is there a male figure that is weaker than female counterpart that is considered desirable?

Ragnell has been defending Steve Trevor on her blog for much of the past year. She adds additional insights, pointing out that Steve Trevor is not weak and helpless--he's actually far more noble and heroic than the vast majority of normal men. He just happens to like dating a demi-goddess who saves his bacon from time to time.

(That might have been a subversion on Moulton's part. A war hero military intelligence fighter pilot probably represented the pinnacle of American masculinity in the 1940s, so having Wonder Woman save him periodically emphasized how strong and capable she was.)

And to be fair, many civilian love-interests of male heroes aren't helpless either: Golden Age Lois and some modern interpretations of Lois (but not generally dippy, marriage-crazed Silver Age Lois) could take care of themselves in a lot of situations--just not supervillain situations.

Hmmm...the Black Canary's mum was also the Black Canary, and she was married to an otherwise ordinary police office, way back when. Only one I can think of.

It shouldn't be that hard, there are plenty of ways to have him be a strong character without being the super one.

First thought: radio support. Standard conversation can yeild more character than simply "have a job to do" AND you can milk the ol'reliable "at least one side being a smartass".
Second: dude's military and by extension her ties with said military. He and his unit could be out fighting on the side while she's charging into the big bad.
Third: even easier, don't have him directly involved in her hero-work at all. He's her emotional support, not a liability. These days, hero saves weak/stupid girlfriend is tired and awkward without swapping genders.

And should you have his base be infiltrated or something, you can show he's no slouch defending himself BEFORE/IF she gets involved.

Rect Pola:

Third: even easier, don't have him directly involved in her hero-work at all. He's her emotional support, not a liability.

I actually love this idea. It would be wonderful to explore the more human side of superheroes, to see them as more than just a bunch of superpowers in a costume. There are plenty of people in the world that need rescuing; nothing says it has to be Steve in trouble all the time.

I suppose the underlying issue is indeed that strong women make us uncomfortable...

But to me relationship like Lois/Clark never made all that much sense. It's hard enough to find someone that you love and can relate/confide with without having to tackle the issue of super power.

Emotionally, someone like Superman essentially carries the world on his shoulders. He makes decisions (and mistakes) that affect the lives of countless people on a daily basis. Having a partner that you can confide in and understand you because said partner face the same issues (i.e. Also has powers) make a lot more sense. How does Lois even relate to Superman? He's so fast, so smart, so powerful... so inhuman. How does he relate to her? Superman dating Lois is really akin to someone dating an infant if you think about it - He is an order of magnitude better than her in every aspect (Physically, Intellectually... even morally, since he's basically super pure and good too).

Physically, he has to constantly control his power in order to not hurt Lois by accident and I'm not even talking sexually here, but just simple thing like not slamming the door too hard and blowing it off its hinges right into Lois's face for example (I'm reminded of Dr Manhatan teleporting Silk Specter to Mars and forgetting for a second that humans need to breath to live... Watchman actually handled the issue of human/super being romance pretty well). But yes, sexuality would be an issue.

And that's just 2 issues from the top of my head. A entire thesis could probably be written on this. Keep in mind here that I only took Superman/Lois because it's a well known pairing... but Wonder Woman is equal power wise to Superman (depending on who write the story she may be slightly weaker or slightly stronger, but she's always in the same league) and even without getting into gender roles confusion and stuff like that... there's the simple fact that it is hard to relate to someone who's slower, weaker, dumber and not as morally advance as you are - and again, I'm not talking a slightly difference like the physical difference between normal men and women... that's easily overlooked - we're talking about MASSIVE difference here. She might as well be dating a monkey...

Basically, the more powerful the super hero is, the more unbelievable it becomes for him/her to be in a relationship with a baseline human.

The only other example I can think of is this guy, who dated Wonder Girl:

image

Which was creepy and weird, even for the '70s. But he didn't have any powers, as far as I know.

On the one hand, I agree. If I'm going to be brutally honest, I know the idea of a woman being entirely superior to me does threaten my ego. I'm just not sure how to derive self-worth in that scenario. On the other hand, I'd probably have a similar reaction if a male acquaintance was significantly more accomplished than me (at least within my sphere of interests) as well.

On the other hand... c'mon, we all know Wonder Woman isn't really straight.

thaluikhain:

Grahav:
I feel so uncomfortable with this idea that I find hard even to imagine my heroines with weaker boyfriends. The need men have to be strong is not just cultural, it is marked in our instincts (of men and women).

Hey? What makes you think that it's a biological, not cultural thing?

Also, there's quite a number of people that don't feel that way.

It is both. Which is worse than if it was only one.

Biology leaves marks in our culture. The women who desired and got strong men left strong children. Weak men who couldn't protect their families from tigers and vikings left no children. So evolution and logic worked together to make this situation a standard.

Our actual society is very young. The old culture is not dead and fighting instinct is not easy.

There are people like you said. Problem is the people who aren't.

CK76:

Grahav:
I feel so uncomfortable with this idea that I find hard even to imagine my heroines with weaker boyfriends. The need men have to be strong is not just cultural, it is marked in our instincts (of men and women).

Trying to think...is there a male figure that is weaker than female counterpart that is considered desirable?

Yes. The prejudice comes fom both sides. Some men think they are unworthy of women, and some women feels that only princes and kings are worthy them.

Zach of Fables:
The only other example I can think of is this guy, who dated Wonder Girl:

image

Which was creepy and weird, even for the '70s. But he didn't have any powers, as far as I know.

A few of the writers were and still are fairly competant at breaking the perceived mold. Plus the pattern may not completely hold up under close examination. I mean yeah there are plenty of examples of strong female leads only linked with heroic men ie Black Canary... but did anyone note who her mother (the original Black Canary) and her father are? Over on the Marvel side of things, does anyone remember who Wyatt Wingfoot was, or what his long time connection to arguably the "strongest" female character in the marvel u is?

I was going to bring up the animated movie and how Steve worked fine in that one, but it was brought up in the last paragraph.
Reading the whole thing about a man being saved by a woman, and having her carry him in her arms, I couldn't help but think of

I always thought Wonder Woman and Batman would make a fun couple, especially after watching the Justice League cartoons. Not sure Catwoman would approve though...

It's just our instinct.
It works that way because it's allowed our species to survive this far.

Nothing wrong with breaking the pattern and doing the opposite in fiction, but the character is still impopular because of it.

snfonseka:
What about Batman? I am not a huge comic book fan, but I have seen some comics and specially animated movies/ series that show a connection between them.

The thing about a Wonder Woman/Batman romance is the bizarre duality to it- it makes the most sense (because Batman doesn't really have gender issues; he respects strength, honesty and character) and yet is utterly doomed to failure (because Batman is more paranoid than a coked-up bumblebee in a Venus Flytrap exhibit).

But the article itself seems to be pretty spot-on. Myself, though, I don't really care too much about that- I want whoever is capable of doing the job/saving the day, whatever race/gender/branch of the evolutionary tree they may belong to.

Yeah, the Steve Trevor from the animated movie was pretty awesome. Of course, being voiced by Nathan Fillion helps a little.

One of my favorite comic book romances was She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot. She was the "strong" one, yet she dated and loved Wyatt for several years because, at the end of the day, he was a smart, charming, courageous gentleman that still opened doors for her, pulled out her seat at dinner, and would surprise her with flowers and listen to her "girl problems" when she had them.

... And then Marvel turned her into a slut that's become notorious for sleeping with everyone. Yeah, well, there went that dream of finding a girl in comics I relate to.

Everybody already brought up the animated movie and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which in both cases, he's handled well. Although, the DC Animated Universe (Batman: TAS-Justice League: Unlimited) have me shipping Batman/Wonder Woman.

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