One of the best things about my husband is that he enjoys shopping at Costco. Given that I can’t stand large, crowded places, I am happy to let him do our monthly Costco run, even if it does mean that he will inevitably come home with all kinds of things that we don’t need (a 1000 piece set of Tupperware? Really?) This week was no different. However, in addition to the Magic Bullet which I will never use, he actually came home with something that I was excited about: the complete first season of Wonder Woman on DVD.
I was a big fan of Wonder Woman when I was a kid. The show first aired in 1976, when I was four, and though it only aired (on and off) for three more seasons, Wonder Woman had a huge influence on me. I was Wonder Woman for Halloween at least twice (well, three times if you include Halloween from last year), I had several sets of Wonder Woman underoos, and in 1980 I wore a Wonder Woman tee-shirt almost every day for the entire summer. I don’t think I completely grasped the feminist undertones of the show, but I certainly knew that Wonder Woman was unlike any other girl on tv (with the exception of The Bionic Woman, which aired around the same time). She was beautiful, yes, but she was also strong, independent, moral, and smarter than all of the men she worked with, combined. I mean, how dumb were these guys that they didn’t realize that Diana Prince was just Wonder Woman in glasses and a bun? Plus, Wonder Woman was the only girl in the Justice League (the girl twin from the Wonder Twins doesn’t count, sorry), and that was just plain cool.
So, when the DVDs appeared on my kitchen counter along with the toilet paper, the six-pack of toothpaste, and the giant box of Dinosaur Chicken, I was pretty psyched. Not only was I looking forward to re-living a cherished part of my childhood, but I was also excited to watch it with my own daughter, who’s about the same age I was when Wonder Woman was at her peak.
We popped in the pilot this morning, and let’s just say that it wasn’t exactly as I remembered it. I knew that the effects would seem awful (the totally not invisible invisible plane, for example), but mostly, I was shocked by how overt the feminist message was. Lines like, “sisterhood is the way of the future,” “war is the doing of men,” and even the lyrics to the theme song: Wonder Woman/now the world is ready for you. In your satin tights/ fighting for your rights and later in the song, make a hawk a dove/stop a war with love. But while it was surprising to hear women put forth as the last great hope for peoplekind, it also seemed quaint, somehow. In today’s world – where international politics and war have become so complicated; where so many American women are struggling just to provide their family with the bare necessities; where women are being trafficked as sex slaves, or raped trying to collect firewood in refugee camps – oh, if only a pair of satin tights and a loving attitude were all it took to fix our problems. But also, it was shocking to see such a powerful, leading woman on television. In a Hollywood where female-driven movies can barely get financed and sci-fi and the bromance rule, it felt strange to watch something so commercial that’s also so pro-woman. I had to wonder, how is it that in 2011, watching a female-driven television show seems strange? What’s happened to us since 1979?
I hear that David E. Kelley is working on a Wonder Woman remake for tv, starring Adrianne Palicki, that will air in the fall if it gets picked up. I hope it does, and I hope it turns out to be good. But even more, I hope it keeps the girl power message of the original. I would love nothing more than to buy my daughter a Wonder Woman tee-shirt, and for her to want to wear it every single day. And who knows? Maybe someday a hot chick in a pair of satin tights will be able save the world, after all.