About a month ago I was talking with Fangirl Friend Jon about the possibility of a Wonder Woman movie and he seemed totally blocked on how to make it without the love story. After all, the whole reason that Diana leaves Themescyra is to escort Steve Trevor back to the US right?
Trying to explain to him that this was OK, he shook his head, saying it weakened her case if the entire impetus is that she’s following a man.
I did kind of lose it and snap saying, “Falling in love is not a sign of weakness!” This caught him off guard but it’s something that when I think about it, I get really annoyed. A lot of people think that the idea of Wonder Woman having a boyfriend, a relationship, is some sort of problem.
At first glance I might be one of them. After all I’ve railed against the portrayal of Diana and Bruce Wayne’s relationship in the DCAU multiple times. But my problem was never that Diana was attached, attracted to, in love with, Bruce, or whatever the hell was going on there, it was the way it was handled. It felt arbitrary and you know what? I’ve covered that, extensively.
I like the idea that Diana falls for Steve and decides to go discover his world. I like the way the relationship between Diana and Clark Kent is being handled in current issues, that is, these two people are in a unique situation that really, only the other person can understand and so they fall for one another. Diana’s capacity for love is part of what makes her such an interesting character.
That and her capacity for decapitating her enemies.
But the more I thought about it the more frustrated I got, especially because this plot line would not be considered a “problem” with a male character. In fact, in a film of the same genre it wasn’t.
At the end of Thor: The Dark World, Thor gives up the throne of Asgard to go to Earth and be with Jane Foster. Literally, walks away from his entire life and identity as the heir of Odin to be with the woman he loves. It’s never once said that Thor is weak for making this decision, that ending isn’t dissected, because falling in love with Jane is an integral and interesting part of Thor’s character.
So why should Diana be different? It’s not as though she’s leaving her home just to be with this guy. He’s just her excuse for leaving. She wants to see the world, she wants to fight for justice and all that good stuff, and yeah, she’s in love with this guy, as kind of an afterthought. Steve, like most superhero significant others, is great in his own right, but also, doesn’t really do much. He’s a pilot, and he’s involved with the US Government, but it’s not like, while Wonder Woman is fighting Cheetah he has anything to do with it. Unlike that pesky Lois Lane who’s always getting into things. (Just kidding, I actually really love Lois.) And while I’d love a mainstream superhero film that also explored the fact that Diana’s bisexual, (Even Justice League did that.) I’d settle for one where she kills some monsters and then makes out with a cute guy at the end.
This falls squarely in my “women can be more than one thing,” rant, and it’s such a potent example, that I’m kind of glad I got it out. Thank you for bearing with me.