Should Wonder Woman be a Lesbian?
That’s a question a lot of people have asked over the years. It’s been the subject of much debate, internet fan bickering, academic essays, and thesis’. Some say yes, others vehemently disagree, and then there are those who just want to make porn. All in all it’s a complicated issue.
I feel the need to raise the question again after the recent announcement that in Justice League #12 Superman and Wonder Woman will “begin a super romance.” Now I’m too cynical and jaded by modern comic industry practices to actually believe this “romance” will last a full year. However this latest headline grabbing short term sales spiking move did make me ask the question “why Superman and Wonder Woman?” In most out of continuity Elseworld stories they’re paired together for the same lazy writing reasons, “they’re so similar” but that doesn’t make much of an interesting story in a canon comic. Why not actually shake things up and have Superman date Black Canary or have Wonder Woman flirt with Batwoman (she’s in a relationship with Maggie Sawyer at the moment so dating Wondey is out of the question)? That’d actually be something new and different that DC could play with instead of travelling the safe and well traversed road they’re going down.
Not exactly thinking outside the box here
So what could we explore with this idea? Well there’s the obvious adding to her feminist roots so instead of just gender inequality it opens the door to queer inequality. Coming from an island paradise of free love to America where “free love” is only for ‘XY’ not ‘XX’ ‘YY’ or ‘ZY’ in certain places would be very jarring. It’s something of a modern equivalent for the inequality Wonder Woman was created to fight. Beyond the issues of the day there’s character moments that can be explored, like having her converse with Batwoman about being an out and proud lesbian and wondering if she should come out of the closet in both her costumed and civilian identity. The problems she’d face and how best to handle it. There’s also her relationship with Etta Candy to consider, since she is the Gabrielle to Wondey’s Xena, and how could she fit into this. Straight female confidant or non-superpowered romantic interest?
Now the obvious jokes and observations have been made a million times already, “of course Wonder Woman’s a lesbian. She was born on an island entirely populated by women!” For those of you who don’t know her background let me sum up: the Amazons were separated from the rest of the world when some of the Greek Goddesses gave them their own island hidden from the world, Themyscira (sometimes called Paradise Island). There they were immortal and build their own society without any men. Their queen, Hippolyta, begged the gods for a daughter and they instructed her to sculpt one out of clay which many Goddesses breathed life into. That daughter, Diana, grew up to become Wonder Woman and through some overly complicated plotting, which I shan’t get into here, she left for “man’s world” aka the outside world. So the DC Amazon’s are, or were depending on which retcon you follow, different from the mythic Amazons who rapped men to have their daughters. I mention all this because it lends credence to the “all women island = lesbians” theory.
That however oversimplifies things, which is where problems arise with this. Not all of the Amazon’s would be lesbians even with the “spending an eternity without men” on Themyscira. That assumes the environment would turn them into lesbians. Now that’s not to say they wouldn’t have sex with each other since they’d still have carnal needs that they’d wish to do something about. At most they’d consider themselves bisexuals if they actually thought about such sexual labels, which they probably wouldn’t.
All that wouldn’t apply to Diana since she was born there. So the question is how being made of clay would influence her sexuality. None of the gender theory about sexuality and biological influences applies to her. So it comes down to whether the Greek Gods would add anything to her creation, which is probably a given considering what those Gods got up to. Since Aphrodite was one of the Goddesses who gave her life I’d argue that she shouldn’t be a lesbian but Omnisexual. With the ways of the Greek Gods and the Amazon’s “free love” attitude (at least originally) she’d probably be fine with a man, woman, trigendered alien species, or whatnot, so long as she loved them. She probably won’t want the label ‘lesbian’ because she’d want more than one type of love. That’s my opinion on the matter at least.
With all that being said Wonder Woman won’t be anything but straight for a while to come. DC and Warner Brothers have a vested interest in her trademark and wouldn’t do anything as “risky” as having her express any sort of romantic feelings for anything other than a man. They feel that the controversy would hurt their sales. Though considering she’s not had a single live action movie, animated series, or even a TV series since the 70s, and her brand is just some merchandising and a single comic I’d argue there isn’t a lot to “hurt” there. The best she’s done recently was an animated movie that did very well critically but didn’t do what they wanted sales wise. WB even used it as an example of female superheroes not selling and said they wouldn’t make any more female lead animated DC movies because of it. So this brand they’re “protecting” isn’t something they’re confident in at the moment. The failed TV pilot and the live action movie that’s been stuck in development hell for years is proof enough they don’t really know what to do with her. Some of the comic writers have said they tried to do stories with her getting into a relationship with a woman but editorial nixed the idea consistently. The problem is at the business end and not a creative one.
Whatever sexuality you prefer her to be she’s definitely not “Superman’s sidekick” or “Batman’s Sloppy seconds” as some fans call her.
She’s Wonder Woman and if she needed could take down the entire Justice League, and has done before. She’s no ones sidekick. But that’s a rant for another time. Ship her with whatever you want but never define her by her relationship. She’s Wonder Woman, the ass kicking spirit of truth first and foremost.