Wonder Woman's Vanishing Boyfriend

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My first statement is that I used to have a Wonder Woman volume which collected the first stories and many afterwards. Even under the original creator, Steve Trevor's role was:

Get rescued because he was an idiot.
Save Etta Candy and the other sorority girls who kept tagging along with Wonder Woman because of their collective idiocy.

While you could argue that this was pretty much what all sidekicks did, it doesn't make a convincing case to bring him back since comics have evolved beyond the superheroes always needing sidekicks around so they can explain things to them (and, by extension, the audience) as well as have someone to rescue.

This was also during the days when Wonder Woman's primary foes were mostly Nazis and other non-powered opponents. Even the original Cheetah had no super powers. The current Cheetah is less likely to tie Steve up and more likely to rip out his throat with her teeth. (I could go into the whole "darkening" of comics but nah.) That kinda limits the sidekick possibilities that were there in the early days of Wonder Woman comics.

And then there's the question of how much a lot of significant others really add to the character's personality. One of the more interesting POVs about Iris West being retconned out of Barry's life that I've read is that it was pointed out how little she actually contributed. Having read comics for well on thirty years, I thought that some parts of the article were a little harsh (Mary Jane had a tremendous impact on Peter.) but, in the case of Barry Allen, I had to uncomfortably admit that the author was right.

I guess the acid test would be:

Can you think of any stories where Steve Trevor couldn't have been replaced by a nameless soldier? Can you think of any stories which focused on the relationship between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman which made you feel like the author could have been writing about a real couple? Can you name any ways that Steve Trevor really changed or enriched Wonder Woman's character just through their personal interactions?

If all three of those come up as "no", then bringing him back just for the sake of gender studies won't add anything to the comic or to Wonder Woman.

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.

That is a pretty sweeping generalization on my part, sorry about that. It wasn't my intention to imply that literally everyone feels this way, only that it's pervasive enough to have become a kind've unspoken rule in mainstream comics writing.

Trishbot:
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.

Wow, that is a pretty good example, can't believe I forgot that one. My list when writing this only had Steve Trevor, Jason Bard, and Terry Long.

Now that I think about it, The She-Hulk/Wingfoot pairing was somewhat similar to Big Barda & Mr. Miracle, one of my favorite comic book couples for just this reason. Sure, Scott is technically speaking a superhero, but Barda's clearly the one "wearing the pants in the relationship" so to speak. She towers over him is physically much stronger, and is fiercely protective of him.

Trishbot:
... 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.

Yeaaaah...most comic writers don't seem to be very good at making the "sexually liberated woman" thing work without it seeming exploitative. Honestly, I think that interpretation of She-hulk as worked at points, but too many writers just use it as an excuse to turn her into a male fantasy figure.

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.

In addition to the answers you've already gotten on this, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. That's just biology; pointing it out is no more sexist than pointing out that women have larger breasts than men, or that men tend to grow thicker hair on their faces. Sure, there's weird cases like female body building championships, but you know what? Those women almost definitely shoot up with steroids. You know what specific steroid is used to make muscles biggger (steroids are actually an entire class of hormones)? Testosterone. Face it, men tend to be bigger and stronger than women, it's just a biological fact. The idea that men should be protective of women and not the other way around may be cultural, but cultures all over the world settled on it because, in the absence of super powers and artificial steroid injections, women tend to be physically smaller and weaker than men. While there's no reason for women not to be socially equal with men, or for individual women to be socially ahead of individual men, the physical issue is very real.

thepyrethatburns:
My first statement is that I used to have a Wonder Woman volume which collected the first stories and many afterwards. Even under the original creator, Steve Trevor's role was:

Get rescued because he was an idiot.
Save Etta Candy and the other sorority girls who kept tagging along with Wonder Woman because of their collective idiocy.

While you could argue that this was pretty much what all sidekicks did, it doesn't make a convincing case to bring him back since comics have evolved beyond the superheroes always needing sidekicks around so they can explain things to them (and, by extension, the audience) as well as have someone to rescue.

This was also during the days when Wonder Woman's primary foes were mostly Nazis and other non-powered opponents. Even the original Cheetah had no super powers. The current Cheetah is less likely to tie Steve up and more likely to rip out his throat with her teeth. (I could go into the whole "darkening" of comics but nah.) That kinda limits the sidekick possibilities that were there in the early days of Wonder Woman comics.

And then there's the question of how much a lot of significant others really add to the character's personality. One of the more interesting POVs about Iris West being retconned out of Barry's life that I've read is that it was pointed out how little she actually contributed. Having read comics for well on thirty years, I thought that some parts of the article were a little harsh (Mary Jane had a tremendous impact on Peter.) but, in the case of Barry Allen, I had to uncomfortably admit that the author was right.

I guess the acid test would be:

Can you think of any stories where Steve Trevor couldn't have been replaced by a nameless soldier? Can you think of any stories which focused on the relationship between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman which made you feel like the author could have been writing about a real couple? Can you name any ways that Steve Trevor really changed or enriched Wonder Woman's character just through their personal interactions?

If all three of those come up as "no", then bringing him back just for the sake of gender studies won't add anything to the comic or to Wonder Woman.

Point taken. But as you said, almost all sidekicks were just as one-dimensional & useless as Steve was back then. Lois Lane essentially did nothing but get captured & rescued, but over time writers expanded upon and developed her character. Now you can't imagine the story of Superman without her. I tend to believe that there aren't really any bad characters, only bad writers. Steve has potential waiting to be realized which, as I said, the animated movie gave us a glimpse of. Hell, he's already got an advantage over Lois, who never even played a vital role in Superman's origin, and therefore could've been much more easily written out of the story if they so desired.

I focused this article on Steve not because bringing him back was the only solution to this problem, only because it was the most obvious one, since he is probably the most famous and important example. Whether they bring Steve back or create a whole new character doesn't really matter, the point is Wonder Woman needs her Lois Lane.

poleboy:

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.

Writer's don't touch the subject of Amazonian sexuality much. George Pérez's run was the first to come out and say anything concrete about it:

image

But that just covers Amazonian society. As for Wonder Woman herself, she has never been explicitly involved with a woman, but a number of writers of Wonder Woman comics have said they consider her bisexual, it's just never become officially canon.

poleboy:
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

XD
Yeah, historical accuracy is not something DC is too terribly worried about, methinks.

I agree.

I also think mainstream American comics are the only medium where sexism is more taken for granted than videogames, as seen by the fact that, for instance, every single super-powered woman has hugemongous boobs. (Well, OK, there are exceptions, but they're usually women who are part of larger groups and playing second fiddle to other women who do have hugemongous boobs.) Any attempt to make women less exploitative ends up with a cute but mostly pointless 'tuff girl' routine.

If bringing Steve back is what it takes for that trend to begin reversing that by all means bring him back on.

(Also when you mentioned WW's creator's beliefs I was sure you were talking about BSDM.)

JoshuatheAnarchist:

That is a pretty sweeping generalization on my part, sorry about that. It wasn't my intention to imply that literally everyone feels this way, only that it's pervasive enough to have become a kind've unspoken rule in mainstream comics writing.

It's alright. It was just a minor nitpick. The rest of your article was pretty insightful and I had to criticise something, right?

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.

Batman had short hilarious relationships. He even dated Catwoman for a time, and had a kid with her.

Strong women don't make me uncomfortable. Every time he says, "we" and "us" makes me uncomfortable. I didn't do anything! I'm not perpetuating any stereotypes except my desire to take frequent naps!

:'(

WW should be a lesbian. Just to tick people off.

If she was a lesbian, WW could team with Batwomen for a comic series. :)

Ultratwinkie:

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.

Batman had short hilarious relationships. He even dated Catwoman for a time, and had a kid with her.

Then the kid became the Huntress in Earth 2 and was revamped from a different origin for DC current and 52.

Thing is, NO ONE LIKES WW. She has no base personality like Batman or Superman. Come on, ask a non comic reader what her origin is.

"Made from clay...maybe?...and sent out on a peace mission to man's world...or was she exiled?"

Now, who are some of her bad guys?

"Oh, I know this one...uh...Cheetor? Or Cheetra? Cheetara?"

And who is she?

"A werecheeta? A girl in a cheeta costume?"

All right, all right, here is an easy one. Who is her sidekick?

"Wonder Girl, duh."

Who is she?

"..."

Steve hasn't been around for awhile. The public just cares so little, they never read the memo.

JoshuatheAnarchist:

image

Heh. The way of Narcissus. Now THAT is subtle.

Having read that, I have to agree. It is a very unfair double standard that we can accept simple civilian women getting rescued by powerful men but that the opposite is just unnacceptable. It really does drive home the point that for all of our talk of 'female empowerment' in comics and media in general we still rely too heavily on stereotypical gender roles.
Frankly I hope that Diana does get to keep dating this 'Steve' fellow. I really see no problem with a strong superheroine having a (relatively) normal civilian boyfriend who she has to protect from time to time. Fair is fair.

I also don't understand why men would be 'uncomfortable' with the idea, maybe it's just me but I think having a ridiculously hot Amazonian demi-goddess who loves me and is strong enough to protect me and keep me safe is quite appealing.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: WELCOME TO THE DEBUNKINING!

In the right corner we have the following statement

"So apparently the industry has no problem with pairing super-powered men with human women, but a huge problem with pairing super-powered women with human men"

In the left corner we have a refutation

Astro Cities ASTRA; Matt (that one dude).
Huntress; to many to name over her long written history.
She-Hulk; a new guy every night.
Empowered; Thug Boy
Wonder Woman; Nemisis

etc etc

In fact if you look at the why of it, the paraigm is very different to the one you've quoted. There are contributing factors

1. Solo titles: The majority of "love interest" stories are done in solo titles, the longer lasting the better. Majority of long lasting solos are about male characters, because the demographic is primarily male.

2. Grandfathered in: The cultural paradigm shifted in the 1960's. Which is why all the examples given for men are grand fathered in from golden age characters

Vrex360:
I also don't understand why men would be 'uncomfortable' with the idea, maybe it's just me but I think having a ridiculously hot Amazonian demi-goddess who loves me and is strong enough to protect me and keep me safe is quite appealing.

Because we have nothing in common. A relationship is not based on your partner being able to "keep you safe." You seem to be relying on the same gender stereotypes you are denouncing, but inverted.

A relationship is based on an equal partnership. If one of us is an immortal demigoddess brought to life with magic, who can fly, is a princess, can bench press a semi-trailer & is immortal, while i am none of those things, then i'm not so much an equal partner so much as a pet.

matthew_lane:
Huntress; to many to name over her long written history.

One night stands don't count as "dating" and even most of hers were superheroes (Nightwing, Arsenal, etc.)

matthew_lane:
She-Hulk; a new guy every night.

Once again, one night stands don't count. We're talking about long lasting, memorable relationships here.

matthew_lane:
Wonder Woman; Nemisis

Doesn't possess superpowers yes, but certainly doesn't count as a "civilian". Plus, very short-lived.

matthew_lane:
Astro Cities ASTRA; Matt (that one dude).

matthew_lane:
Empowered; Thug Boy

Fair enough, but I'm mostly focusing on the big two here, not indie comics.

TheDarkEricDraven:
Thing is, NO ONE LIKES WW. She has no base personality like Batman or Superman. Come on, ask a non comic reader what her origin is.

"Made from clay...maybe?...and sent out on a peace mission to man's world...or was she exiled?"

Now, who are some of her bad guys?

"Oh, I know this one...uh...Cheetor? Or Cheetra? Cheetara?"

And who is she?

"A werecheeta? A girl in a cheeta costume?"

All right, all right, here is an easy one. Who is her sidekick?

"Wonder Girl, duh."

Who is she?

"..."

Steve hasn't been around for awhile. The public just cares so little, they never read the memo.

Fair enough, the details of Wonder Woman's mythology are not well known outside the comic book community. After all, the only thing she appeared that gained a real widespread, mainstream audience was the TV show. She's yet to have a hit movie like Superman or Batman.

However, I don't really see how that's relevant. My point was that even among comic book readers Steve Trevor is obscure because he's been absent for so long.

And I have to disagree with your assertion that NO ONE likes Wonder Woman. The character's been around for 70 years no, you don't get that kind've staying power without a fanbase. And I really can't agree with the idea that she has no baseline personality. Superman's the idealistic farm boy, Batman's the brooding borderline psychopath, and Wonder Woman's the serene warrior-poet.

JoshuatheAnarchist:

However, I don't really see how that's relevant. My point was that even among comic book readers Steve Trevor is obscure because he's been absent for so long.

I wasn't so much responding to you as much as I was just making a statement.

JoshuatheAnarchist:

And I have to disagree with your assertion that NO ONE likes Wonder Woman. The character's been around for 70 years no, you don't get that kind've staying power without a fanbase.

Well, yes, she has a fanbase, just as Firestorm, the Crimson Avenger, and Grifter have fanbases. Maybe not even that. I think she might only be as "famous" as she is because she is DC's flagship female charecter. As of right now, she is the only female with her own title that isn't from Wildstorm (Voodoo) or a spin-off (Batwoman, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Supergirl).

JoshuatheAnarchist:
And I really can't agree with the idea that she has no baseline personality. Superman's the idealistic farm boy, Batman's the brooding borderline psychopath, and Wonder Woman's the serene warrior-poet.

Sometimes she hates men, sometimes she is peace loving, sometimes she is a killer, sometimes she is strong as Superman, sometimes only a bit stronger then a peak human, and so on. Writers don't know what to do with her.

matthew_lane:

Vrex360:
I also don't understand why men would be 'uncomfortable' with the idea, maybe it's just me but I think having a ridiculously hot Amazonian demi-goddess who loves me and is strong enough to protect me and keep me safe is quite appealing.

Because we have nothing in common. A relationship is not based on your partner being able to "keep you safe." You seem to be relying on the same gender stereotypes you are denouncing, but inverted.

A relationship is based on an equal partnership. If one of us is an immortal demigoddess brought to life with magic, who can fly, is a princess, can bench press a semi-trailer & is immortal, while i am none of those things, then i'm not so much an equal partner so much as a pet.

I'm not relying on it, not one bit. Just pointing out that I wouldn't object to dating a strong warrior woman. What I mean is I wouldn't feel uncomfortable if my significant other happened to be stronger then I am or if society saw her as my 'protector'.

Ultimatley measures of 'strength' shouldn't factor into what makes a couple equal, I've seen very small women date tall men and I've seen frail men dating female athletes.
Physical stature is not what makes a couple 'equal', it's how said couple interacts with each other that does. If they both treat each other with the same level of respect and compassion and care enough about each other and share common interests, then that is an equal couple. At that point, it doesn't matter if the man is stronger or the woman is smarter or whatever.

Because in the end the actual relationship is based on the couple's feelings towards each other and how they choose to express those feelings and interact with each other, not about who happens to be the strongest. Yes if Wonder Woman or Superman used the fact that they had superior powers to bully their respective partners into doing all the house work, that wouldn't be equal. But just being more powerful then the partner they are with shouldn't matter.
All that should matter is that they love each other.

And indeed comic book writers and fans seem to be able to accept that just fine when it's a male superhero with a civilian girlfriend. Spiderman can date Mary Jane Watson, Ironman can have Pepper Pots, Thor can have Jane Foster or of course Superman, the man who can fly through the SUN and shoot LASERS from his eyes and is impervious to bullets an indeed death itself can find true love in the form of a simple 'plucky girl reporter'.
Power levels sure as hell don't come across as 'threatening' there.

And no one objects when the girlfriend inevitably gets kidnapped by the villain and the hero must swoop in to save her, or indeed when she's just outright killed so that our main hero can have a new dramatic story arc (see Women in Refridgerators). But suddenly if it's a powerful woman saving her ordinary civilian boyfriend now it's a damaging unequal relationship?
The author of this article is pointing out that there is a gender double standard in these kinds of stories, and frankly there is. Because there is still some kind of objection to the woman being the 'strong' one of the couple instead of the man.

Yes ultimatley I prefer it when couples are of equal strength and are capable of challenging each other in a capable way (Which is why I've hated all of Batman's love interests in the movies who weren't Catwoman) but I just think if we are fine with every single comic book/video game/movie/ TV show having there be a moment where the main dude's girlfriend is kidnapped sparking a determined quest to save her(or killed, prompting a desire for revenge) it should only be fair that Wonder Woman gets to rescue Steve from time to time and screams NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO when he's found dead.

My entire point with that comment there was that I wouldn't object to, or feel threatened or weakened by, dating a woman who is stronger and more capable combat wise then I am. That's it, I apologize if it came across any other way.

EDIT: Also it must be said if a quarter million teenage girls can swoon at the idea of everlasting love with a Vampire boy who actually DOES express a desire to drink their blood and demonstrates a love of showing how much more powerful he is, why is there still no desire among men for a super powerful girlfriend?
That said before you bring it up, yes I do think Twilight is a depiction of an unhealthy relationship but not becaue Edward was 'stronger' but for a plethoa of other reasons like him being stalkerish and creepy and emotionally domineering.

I'm glad that May "Spider-Girl" Parker finally seemed to be getting together with Wes at the end of her run. After the on-and-off relationship with Flash Thompson's annoying son, it was sweet to see her with someone nice.

I actually think its right they dont have him (Trevor) anymore after all it is rather deliberately anti-male in intention and implementation. It also smacks a wee bit of silly lets reverse everything and made social points kind of thinking.

TheDarkEricDraven:

Well, yes, she has a fanbase, just as Firestorm, the Crimson Avenger, and Grifter have fanbases. Maybe not even that. I think she might only be as "famous" as she is because she is DC's flagship female charecter. As of right now, she is the only female with her own title that isn't from Wildstorm (Voodoo) or a spin-off (Batwoman, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Supergirl).

I admit, her popularity has not remained consistent over the years, and it is partially the brand recognition that keeps her around. That doesn't mean that no one cares about and it certainly doesn't mean she isn't worth preserving, developing, and analyzing.

TheDarkEricDraven:
Sometimes she hates men, sometimes she is peace loving, sometimes she is a killer, sometimes she is strong as Superman, sometimes only a bit stronger then a peak human, and so on. Writers don't know what to do with her.

And sometimes Superman is pissy & moany about being an alien and feels he doesn't fit it, and other times he feels perfectly at home among humans. Different writers have different takes on the characters. Yes some writers are dumb enough to play Wonder Woman as man-hating killer, but in my experience, most know better. Having contrasting takes on her personality doesn't mean she has any less of a character than Superman or Batman.

And so what if her powers have changed over time? Originally, Superman couldn't fly and Batman carried guns. Both personalty & power-wise, she's remained more or less consistent for the past few decades, non-canon stories excluded.

I think people are intent on finding sexism where there isn't any, if one rant (such as apperances in artwork won't work), it will be the number of female heroes, when that gets slapped down it will be about why aren't there more men playing second fiddle as romance interests or sidekicks or whatever to the female heroes?

It's rapidly coming to the point where I think "The Escapist" should just make a policy that topics such as sexism and racism in geek media are banned, at least for the purposes of articles. It's not insightful, it's not profound, it's not new, and really it only seems direct at getting attention and trying to keep tired old issues, that don't even really exist anymore, afloat.

The easiest way to counter the entire point here (which isn't so much about Wonder Woman) is to point out that this is a non-issue especially nowadays as there are tons of Anime/Manga/etc.. that have exactly what is supposed to be missing here, and of course there has been an increasingly incestuous relationship between Manga and western comics in recent years.

That point aside, one also has to understand that usually the "normal" love interest of a male super hero fills the role of a foil of sorts. The idea being that the character in question is maintaining a secret identity, and the "normal" love interest largely exists to represent jeopardy of that identity being found out. The problem compounded by the having love interests who are competant enough in their own right to get into these huge messes that require the intervention of the super hero.

The lack of female characters with "norms" as love interest is largely because in recent years where the issues of actual sexism have mostly dissappeared is because the whole idea of the "secret identity" has fallen out of favor, at least in the old sense, largely because as time goes on and technology improves, the odds of something like this working continuously go down. Most super heroes aren't total unknowns, and know this, with groups like SHIELD maintaining huge databases of heroes and who they really are, oftentimes without their knowlege, but frequently with it, and there is increasing awareness of this within the concepts.

The point here being that most of the super heroes who still follow that mould are VERY old super heroes. The "norm" love interest has gone the way of the child sidekick, it still exists to some extent, but it's not what it used to be. Most female characters are the product of modern tastes in comics, where people want to read about super-beings and what they are up to, not about normal people, and if they do want to read about casts of normal characters they generally don't want to deal with the much-parodied classic relationships.

It's not a matter of sexism, or men feeling it hurts their macho pride, or whatever else, hell Anime and such is popular enough in the western market alone to show that there isn't much of an issue there. Some of the longest running series out there are pretty much entirely about all these super-babes who are madly in love with some poor schlub who is totally out of his league and needs to be rescued 24/7.

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).

This. It's not that there's a problem with women filling traditionally male positions within society, but physicality is a different matter. Males are genetically stronger and more athletic than women. When a woman embraces these male roles they quickly step beyond what it means to be female in order to emulate masculinity.

JoshuatheAnarchist:
...specifically his theory about the superiority of the female gender.

Just a slight correction: it's the female sex, not female gender.

That aside, I really like the thesis of this article. It's these seemingly harmless constructs which ultimately produce ubiquitous societal expectations and presumptions, and that needs to be addressed.

Djinn8:

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).

This. It's not that there's a problem with women filling traditionally male positions within society, but physicality is a different matter. Males are genetically stronger and more athletic than women. When a woman embraces these male roles they quickly step beyond what it means to be female in order to emulate masculinity.

It is not just phisical. It is about anyfield where there is competition between genders.

hmmm. perhapes we are looking at this wrong. ok, i dont know if people know this, but on average men ARE stronger the women. men naturlay have more upper body strength. its been proven. another interesting tidbit is that most people dont like the unatural, dont like things dont dont conform to their world view. so when we see a girl rescuing a guy, which we see as the women being stronger then the man, we feel uncomfterble. not because we are sexist, but because we see this as unatural, and it is. thats not to say that a girl being stronger then a guy is bad, or even uncommen, just unatural. i would also like to point out that being unatural isnt a bad thing either.

perhapes sexism itself evolved from this feeling of discomfert. i dont know.

Trishbot:
... 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.

If it helps they ret-conned out a bunch of her sexual conquests by saying it was an alternate universe She-Hulk who was a giant slut (which given the comics tongue in cheek nature actually makes sense), I don't think she slept with Juggernaut anymore.

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've always been a fan of this combination, the only problem is that there would always have to be a reason why Bruce just doesn't call for Diana's help.

matthew_lane:

"So apparently the industry has no problem with pairing super-powered men with human women, but a huge problem with pairing super-powered women with human men"

In the left corner we have a refutation

Astro Cities ASTRA; Matt (that one dude).
Huntress; to many to name over her long written history.
She-Hulk; a new guy every night.
Empowered; Thug Boy
Wonder Woman; Nemisis

A great example is Big Barda and Mr Miracle, sure he is actually a Superhuman (and New God) but he's much smaller than Barda physically yet that doesn't seem to worry him.

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).

I know this thread is ancient history, but I just thought I'd point out that in many species the female is the larger and stronger of the genders in order to protect offspring. Yes, I realize this isn't true in the case of humans, but at the same time, women are at their most ferocious when defending their children.

I think perhaps at some point in our evolutionary history men were indeed bigger and stronger for the purposes of hunting and for protecting family units from danger, but we are so far beyond that now that it's merely a cultural remnant and men's physical superiority is a vestigial trait.

Hi there!
I consider your article very interesting, but I disagree with your conclusions.
You have to understand that humans are in fact animals, and as any other animals, we have specific behaviour. One rigorously studies behaviour is the hypergamy of women. Hypergamy means that most women will always look upwards on the social ladder when deciding on a sexual partner. Not because society expects this from them, but because it is instinctual.
One evolutionary psychologist did a test putting 20 women and 20 men in one room for a few hours without them knowing the purpose of the study. After some time, they noticed that 80% of all the women in the group war paying attention to only 20% off all the men. In conclusions women are naturally attracted to men they consider the best of the group. But this isn't something new to us, we all noticed this in high school.
Knowing this, we instinctively consider that Wonder woman can't possibly be attracted to Steve because he's a wimp. He's not a man to admire, his not a man you would notice in a group of 20 men (not as long as Superman is there)
Moreover, any couples therapist can tell you that, if you're a woman in a relationship with someone you DON'T WANT to have sex with, all you have to do is emasculate them. Show them you're better than them at their chosen profession or hobby, and he isn't going to be able to have sex with you. In other words, a man will be faced with sexual impotence if he's in a relationship with a woman he perceives as being better than him, and this will lead to an unhappy relationship. This is why most people perceive Steve's relationship with Wonder Woman as being unrealistic. This is also why we perceive Superman's relationship with Lois Lane as being more believable. Just as women look upwards on the social ladder, men look downwards. This is why a lot of girls date boys a few years older than them, and rarely boys younger than them.
The problem with Steve isn't about sexism or the fact that we can't deal with powerful women, it's just that the story is just unconvincing.

Sorry for the long post

When Lois is flown out of danger in Superman's arms, it fits with our traditional view of women as the inherently weaker sex, but when Wonder Woman carries Steve Trevor in her arms, it makes him weak because we have this outdated idea that being male means you have a responsibility to be physically superior to women.

It's not dated perse. It's just the cultural baseline settings of most males, apparently. I mean, hasn't anyone wondered how come they are still there? Thousands of years into our recorded history and even longer in our existence as a species? Those freaking drives to thump our chest and prove our masculinity are there due to intrinsic natural causes. We exist in a natural world, not one made up merely of ideals.

I'm all for culturally phasing out instinctual drives that have little place in our society any longer, but to just come out and say that something is dated b/c we feel threatened or b/c of this or that without offering actual context of those fears other than "Dood, it's old news!" doesn't seem very conductive towards a productive debate. Just saying.

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.

I'm all for sluts, and all, but that does sound like a serious character demotion if she suddenly isn't as well rounded as she was before in favor of her having a schtick to live up to. That doesn't sound fun.

I just have to wonder why it matters, since wonder woman is a crappy character in the first place.

Her writing is some of the most scatterbrained nonsense, with no one ever able to settle on a single personality, and half the time making her powers and abilities change because the latest writer doesn't know what they are. I'm told she now has a better, more solid writer, but I'm still just not interested in this one-note superwoman.

She's as lame as Superman is!

JoshuatheAnarchist:

poleboy:
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

XD
Yeah, historical accuracy is not something DC is too terribly worried about, methinks.

There's absolutely nothing historically accurate about that. Aside from the dubious nature of the Amazons' actual existence (possibly it derives from Scythian women, but the warriors there were still mostly men with some women choosing to be warriors), there's seriously no reason to do that, women archers (and men with large enough moobs) wear a half binder that keeps the right side out of the way.

I'm also not sure that I buy the whole men are insecure thing. Maybe in the 40s, or maybe I just hang out with too many weightlifters, but in general guys responses to strong women is one of attraction.

In all honestly, I am tired of superheroes dating non-superheroes in general. Comics handle relationships poorly as a whole, regardless of gender. I am tired of the Lois Lane/Mary Jane damsels-in-distress. It's a cheap gimmick that's lost it's luster long ago. That sort of thing is what innocent bystanders are for.

Not having the principles actually get with anyone is another dynamic shows and comics use to keep the fans interested. For example, any females that enter the "Supernatural" series are either friend-zoned or killed.

As the studio sees it: ladies like fantasizing about finally being the one to "heal" the brothers, whereas the guys want to fantasize living the unattached lifestyle. I can see the reasoning, but I think good writing trumps it, so I disagree with it. The TV show Castle deals with this in a palatable and interesting way.

I've never particularly ascribed to the "commitment = stagnation" ideology. I just think that heroes deserve appropriate matches. For instance, I supported turning Spiderman into a bachelor again, simply because they handled MJ so poorly. I'll admit I've always been a Black Cat fan (never a distressed damsel). But even if MJ is his fated one, at least handle her properly, for pete's sake (pun intended).

I think a valid excuse, however, is turning away fans who have one favorite or another. For example, there are Wonder Woman/Batman fans, and those who think she can only be with Superman. There are those who think Lois is great, others who hate her. For the record, I have hated every incarnation of Lois Lane until Smallville and Amy Adams (although she was palatable in the Death and Return arc in the comics). But that doesn't mean I'll stop reading Supes just b/c he's with Lois, or start reading b/c Wonder Woman is with him, only if the stories get dull.

Rogue...there's another pisser. Her and Gambit are clearly attracted to each other, and she ends up with Magneto-clone due to some ham-fisted loophole?! Bull...controllable "Genosha collars" work just as well as magnetic body condoms. They turned her into an powerless, indecisive caricature. Gambit became an arse for even looking at another woman, but hey, who can blame him right (sarcasm)? Contrived reasons to extend needless drama frustrate me.

If the love interests aren't contributing to the story, at least have them be the normalizing factor that keeps the hero sane. But for the love of God, don't make every other arc about their kidnapping/death, and don't trivialize them.

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