Interview with Wonder Woman’s Gail Simone: Part 1

I have a teenaged son, and he’s grown up with Xena and Buffy and Lara Croft
and Ripley and Alias and any number of strong, interesting female characters in
video games. To him, he doesn’t remember a time when we were starving for
portrayals like that.

Put simply, he missed that first wave debate. He and an entire generation
grew up in the shadow of the work Gloria Steinem and others like her did, but I’m
sure for the life of him, he couldn’t pick her out of a line-up. They take
things like moms with careers in stride, it’s not unusual at all to them.

In a way, I think that’s the way it should be, that each generation moves a
little farther from the debate, from the upheaval, and more towards a working
model where successful, powerful women are simply part of the fabric of living
in this country and this world.

But in another way, it means that a lot of these kids this age haven’t ever
really discussed the subject in a way that we all went through. That
philosophical trial-by-fire hasn’t really hit this generation.

Right now, most of the gender discussion these kids see is ignorant ranting by zealots on
either side on the internet. There’s very little exposure to the core concepts
of what feminism is about, presented in an entertaining and non-academic
manner.

And the shame of that is, that allows idiots and creeps to define the term
FOR us. The Rush Limbaughs and morons of that stripe. He can call us
feminazis, actually compare the desire to be treated fairly with Nazism, and
where is the pop-culture voice that says "hell, no!" to that?
Where is the popular media that addresses that sort of hateful nonsense head
on?

So, I’ve really done a bit of a turn-around here.

It’s not how I imagined it, but the feminism in the film is sincere and so
much a part of the story that it can’t really be easily ignored. I’d like to
think that those early feminist ideals as expressed in the film are planting
seeds, getting people talking about this stuff, asking questions and seeking
answers, especially teens and their parents.

Scene from the animated Wonder Woman movie

And I like that the two main participants in the story are all sincere, no
one is portrayed as inherently evil or superior, they’re simply misguided and a
little ignorant about one another. And they grow to trust one another. They
have their eyes opened.

In that regard, I really think they did something very interesting and maybe
even important. Because these issues aren’t resolved. These questions
still haven’t been answered. And I’m thankful that they did us all that
service.

That really might be Wonder Woman’s best legacy, her greatest super-power,
in the end. The power to open minds.

Read the second part of our interview with Simone, in which she discusses female and LGBT characters in comics — including Birds of Prey and the upcoming lesbian Batwoman series.

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