Image: Wonder Woman graffiti in Taipei, Taiwan / Tianmu Peter / Wikimedia Commons
She’s whip-smart, far stronger than any human, and is an immortal Amazon who flies around in her own invisible jet. She kicks ass, takes names, and does it so well that even Superman respects her as an equal.
And her motivation? She just wants to fight for what’s right and keep the world safe from evil.
Let’s all just agree that Wonder Woman is one of the most badass superheroes there is, regardless of gender.
She may be a longtime pop culture icon, but Wonder Woman is also having a bit of a moment right now. After all, she’s starring in her own film next year (hopefully proving that, yes, you can make a movie about a female superhero and still have people flock to the cinemas), and her comics continue to sell like hotcakes, 74 years since her first appearance in Sensation Comics #1 in January 1942.
Given her popularity, it might seem a bit surprising to some for her current writer, Greg Rucka, to confirm in a recent interview that she’s bisexual. After all, in years gone by, such news would probably have led to a drop in popularity and sales, and certainly more ammunition for certain conservative leaders to declare that comic books were poisoning children’s minds.
But such notions are as wrong as the motivations of any of Wonder Woman’s foes. And in 2016, knowing she’s bi is a watershed moment.
If anything, Diana of Themyscira (Wonder Woman’s true identity) is even more badass now. Too often, queer characters – especially in mediums like comics – have been marginalised, seen as “weak” or “strange” or, even worse, stereotyped in such ways as being exaggeratedly butch or femme. But when Superman and Batman turn to you for advice and even need you to rescue them from all kinds of perilous situations… Let’s just say that no one can accuse Wonder Woman of being “weak.” And that’s a message that should resonate with everyone – especially rainbow youth who can look up to her as a role model.
The revelations about Wonder Woman also represent how far we’ve come as a society. As much hate and intolerance as there still is out there, record numbers of people are finally understanding that sexuality is a complicated, personal thing that may mean different things to different people. And just because someone is “gay” or “straight” or “bi” or anything else doesn’t mean they need to fall into a particular category of expectations – stereotypes, after all, are bullshit.
What Wonder Woman tells us now is that it’s OK to be who you are – no matter who you are. No-one is strange because of who they are – and, like Wonder Woman, we can all be badass in our own way.
But you know what we need now? A major superhero with the same level of fame as Wonder Woman who’s trans. A major superhero who’s genderfluid. A major superhero who’s asexual.
Here’s to Wonder Woman, paving the way to show us all that anything is possible.