Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Heroes as Celebrities. My two cents on the Wonder Woman thing.

When I saw the Wonder Woman Playboy cover, the first thing that crossed to my mind was 'Oh, shit'. Basically because it was the confirmation of an idea I've been bouncing around for a long time now, and seeing it in print, and just in the magazine I said was wrong for Wonder Woman was quite a shock.

I'll explain. I'm convinced that, in our world, if superheroes existed there would be no secret identities. Take a look at our celebrities. Unless they're in the D-list or lower, they can count on a paparazzi stalking them. This triples when they're A-list, or they bring scandal to their lives. Some of them seem to be unable to get one really private moment. So if we had a man flying around New York in bright prime color tights, you can bet that before six months were up someone would've gotten that elusive picture of Superman turning into Clark Kent. Superheroes could possibly exist but the double life they have? That would've almost impossible.

On the other side of the coin, the same magazines that now fight for getting the latest picture of the hottest hollywood star would be fighting for getting the chance of having a member of the JLA or the Avengers pose for them. That was my reasoning on doing a Vouge mock cover with Wonder Woman, and can you imagine Bruce Wayne on Forbes? With an interview explaining why he is Batman? Or Booster Gold on GQ? I would bet that Wonder Girl would appear in Sixteen or Teen Vouge, while the Supergirl who was portrayed at the beginning of her newest series would shock Clark and the Kents by doing a Maxim photo spread. And Playboy? I can think of a number of heroines that, the way they've been written more or less constantly and as part of their personalities, would jump at the chance of appearing in Playboy.

That list starts with Powergirl, since I honestly think the 'secure on her sex appeal' part of her personality is not only an excuse to draw the hole in her chest bigger. She Hulk would be another who wouldn't say no. Emma Frost. Starfire. Fire, who canonically had a website of her pictures naked (although in powered form). Storm, pre-T'challa's marriage. Psyloke, maybe the Wasp.

Wonder Woman, though, I'm not sure. When she just arrived to man's world? Probably, as I doubt she had any taboos regarding nudity living on Paradise Island. After a couple of years in the USA? Doubtfully, especially as she grew in her role as an ambassador and realized the difference between Themiscra and the rest of the world.

But all in all, I can't blame Playboy for their photoshot. I don't particularly like the comparison in text to Lynda Carter but that's not because I hold Lynda Carter in a high pedestal, but because I hate the way in which new comers have to be 'the modern' anything.

What I do wish, though, was that Wonder Woman wasn't the only high recognizable superheroine so every time someone does something like this, it has to be Wonder Woman, or, in a lesser degree, Supergirl. I understand how many people think that the photoshot is somewhat demeaning to a femenist icon, and why they're offended. Someone has mentioned the fact that Wonder Woman is the only superheroine for women and girls, at least in the view of the public eye. And I can't shake the feeling that if that wasn't true, the Playboy cover wouldn't have been such a huge deal. If we had more superheroines visible and, lets admit it, maybe less cheescakey in their original medium, then maybe we wouldn't have this kind of problems.

That or, as someone else pointed out, let's have at least one Playgirl photoshoot with a model painted on as Batman. Or any other male superheroes. They have plenty to choose from.