Wonder Woman: Does Sex Still Sell?


I asked the guy in the DC t-shirt if he was going to see the Wonder Woman movie when it came out. He said he wasn’t sure because…the costume designer…she’s not a sex object!

I was surprised by his response.

Then there is the Empire Magazine poster. The March poster was of Wonder Women. Well, most of her. She did not have a head or a face and the light was shining mostly on her boobs. It was pretty much all about her boobs.

In April, the magazine (after some reader feedback) thoughtfully acknowledged that representations matter and provided an alternative poster. A much fiercer shot with the focus on her Wonder Woman’s eyes.

Wonder Woman has been getting trouble for her clothes (or lack of them) from the very beginning. During the 1950’s she was forced to cover her back to comply with the  Comics Code Authority.

We all know the over sexualisation and objectification of women has been a common feature in graphic novels. What some people might not know is William Moulton Marston who created Wonder Woman in the early 1940’s was absolutely influenced by suffragettes and intended Wonder Woman to be a feminist project.  Jill Lepore’s book “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” is awesome and explores his ideas and its contradictions including her scanty outfits.

So is there a turning of the tide? What should Wonder Woman be wearing?


2 thoughts on “Wonder Woman: Does Sex Still Sell?

  1. I think a hefty amount of influence playing into her costume design is that Hollywood wants to sexualize her. I don’t keep up with superhero comics, but I went to a presentation about Wonder Woman. What I gathered from it was that the comic industry and Hollywood have their own narratives to run, and this may always be an issue.

    1. We went to see the film the other week. Interesting the makers were bragging about the female director but almost every other name, (including the writers) in the credits were men.

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