Wonder Woman: Sexist, Empowering, or both?

This post has gone through no less than 7 drafts. Normally I have one draft, correct grammatical errors and fix glaring syntax and then publish. I originally wrote it back in August. Truth is, I wasn’t able to explain my side thoroughly. But after ANOTHER lengthy discussion, I’m finally ready. I’ve also included some very interesting links at the bottom of the page for you to read.

Growing up, I loved the Wonder Woman TV series. Like many of my friends, I spun around in circles trying to turn into a super human Amazon woman. I also watched the Superfriends cartoon in which I always wanted Wonder Woman and Superman to get together. I also read my fair share of comics and Wonder Woman was by far my favorite (I had the Underoos to prove it).

When the announcement of a Wonder Woman movie was released, I was ecstatic yet apprehensive. Was it going to be another movie marginalizing a strong woman? Or were they going to make her over-the-top and unrealistic?

Turns out is was an amazing movie. Men often take for granted seeing awesome men doing awesome things without being marginalized or sexualized. Women on the other hand do not take this for granted because it is so rare. To have a blockbuster movie portray a strong, independent, and intelligent woman who happens to be a super hero is amazing. Yet sad at the same time because it has taken so long to have a movie of this caliber with a female character of this caliber.

My best friend saw the movie before I did and had briefly mentioned how disappointed she was in a particular part of the movie. She didn’t give me details because she didn’t want to ruin it for me. After the movie was over, for the life of me, I could not figure out what part she was talking about.


If you have not seen the movie, stop reading now unless you don’t mind learning some of the plot.

Turns out, it was the scene where it is implied that Wonder Woman and Steve Majors have sex.

Wait. Why?

When she told me which scene it was, I was trying to figure out what I missed that would cause her to be so disappointed. Alas, I could not recall anything so a discussion began.

My friend and I have VERY different views on sex. She adheres to a much more conservative view of sex which is relegated to one-to-one relationships. To her, sex should not and will not be given freely. Although she adheres to a one-to-one rule, she is not judgmental at all. After all, she is my best friend and hears my crazy ass stories and continues to support me on my adventures. She is extremely supportive of other women and their choices and is one of the most level headed women I have ever met. But when it comes to sex, we rarely see eye-to-eye.

Empowering not Sexist

To me, I saw Wonder Woman (and the rest of the Amazonians by default) as an empowered, intelligent woman that did not have any societal restraints ingrained in her to prevent her from seeking out what she desired sexually. Both my friend and I agreed that the scene where Diana and Steve spoke about not sleeping together before marriage was brilliant. I really appreciated how Steve did not try to seduce Diana, but respected her. She wasn’t sure if he respected her but was just following the conventions of society.

Where we went our separate ways was the scene when Diana invites Steve into her room. I valued that Diana invited Steve into her room, not the other way around. Diana had control. She was not forced, coerced, or seduced. She understood clearly what happens between a man and a woman. Diana simply wanted to enjoy this moment in time with a man she found desirable and had a connection with. She did not have some irrational, religious, or societal voice in her head telling her it was wrong.

My friend, on the other hand, found it inconceivable that a person who lives in a world without sex would so freely have sex within such a short time. She thought the scene to be gratuitous and put in specifically to appease men and society in general.

Not gratuitous, just part of the story

Diana’s love interest is Steve and always has been since the beginning. Every super hero has a love interest and is an integral part of the story… Superman has Lois, Iron Man has Pepper, and Batman has Julie, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and his many other hookups. It would be weird if they didn’t have Wonder Woman’s love interest in the movie.

Diana doesn’t have a voice in the back of her head telling her that having sex with someone you barely know is wrong. As a woman who has only recently began to embrace and own her own sexuality without fear or worry about what others think, I know I would have invited Steve into my room, too. So seeing Diana make that same choice made me happy.

Wonder Woman is beautiful, strong, and sexy

Most intelligent people will not argue about the benefits of a woman being both strong and beautiful. While what is on the inside is indeed the most important, we are a visual species and make decisions and assumptions based on what we see. So if the Amazons were indeed a superior human race, they would have beautiful bodies.

A woman that is confident with her own sexuality and unabashedly talks, dresses, and displays her sexuality without constraint is truly a wonder woman. It takes bravery, strength, and deep introspection to do that in our society. Wonder Woman did not grow up with the same societal influences so in the movie she is able to just be who she is, which is a loving and deeply caring individual. She does not worry about what others think because she knows who she is. She also has the added bonus of knowing that she is treasured in her own society and no one there would judge her for her being who she is.

While I would love to kick ass like she did and I am working every day to have a healthier and stronger body, I am more impressed with the power Diana possessed to be her own person and this includes being a sexual woman. This is what I love about the movie. Girl Power in the purest form!

What I loved about the discussion with my friend was the awareness of how our pasts continue to influence us regardless of how evolved we feel we are. It reminded me that although I might hold a point of view and interact with people with a similar point of view (bisexualitythreesomes, foursomes, moresomes, polyamory, etc), not everyone views sex and everything it entails the same. Each person will have their own baggage and constraints that they are dealing with. It is up to me, and only me, to be true to myself… just like Wonder Woman!

Further Reading:

Wonder Woman is bisexual, DC Comics confirms

Exclusive Interview: Greg Rucka on Queer Narrative and WONDER WOMAN


Unicorn Upshot:

Each woman that conquers her fears, stands up for what she believes in, loves herself, is proud of her body, or encourages others to be their best is a Wonder Woman!

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