This is my Wonder Woman memory.
I’m 7 or 8 years old.
My mom is buying my brother and I stretchy, plastic figures shaped like superheroes.
I don’t remember which Justice League of America superhero my brother selects. The colors blue and red are stuck in my head, so I’m guessing it’s Superman.
I pick Aquaman.
I don’t remember leafing through the figures as they hang in their packs from a metal peg on the rack.
But here’s what I know: There isn’t a Wonder Woman in the bunch. Wonder Woman is never an option.
Sure, I like Superman and Batman and the rest of the Justice League of America superheroes as much as the next little girl, but I love Wonder Woman with her golden lasso of truth, invisible jet and bulletproof bracelets. Spink! Spink!
I never identify with Superman or Batman, even though I’m a tomboy and admire their super strength and athleticism. Back then, I find them too masculine with their dark features and chiseled chests.
I am always a Wonder Woman girl.
Xena: Warrior Princess comes on the scene in 1995. I watch the reruns in the early 2000’s when I’m coming out. And here’s where it gets tricky—that fine line between wanting to be Xena and wanting Xena.
After much contemplation, here’s what I decide:
In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings …
A land in turmoil cried out for a hero.
She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle.
And she was Middle-Age Butch, a mighty princess butch, durable and sturdy like the fabric flannel.
The power … the passion … the danger.
Their courage will change the world.
But back to Wonder Woman. My experience was always one of lack and longing. A Wonder Woman-shaped hole.
Even at a young age, Aquaman was my way of compromising, of finding some middle ground.
He certainly wasn’t Superman or Batman. He couldn’t fly or really fight. He had nice blond hair. His superpower? He could talk to fish. I suppose I found Aquaman sensitive because he was able to communicate with dolphins.
So that’s one of the reasons why the Wonder Woman movie is a big deal to me. I’ve been waiting most of my life for Wonder Woman. Just Wonder Woman. Having a choice of Wonder Woman.
I’m struck by the movie’s tag line:
“The future of justice begins with her.”
This movie belongs to the little girl who played with a bendy Aquaman figure because there was no Wonder Woman option.
It belongs to all the little girls, back then and now.
Absolutely love this post!
Thanks! I have to admit that I got a little teary there at the end.
You make the intensely personal both interesting and attractive to strangers!
Thanks, Penny. That’s how you know you’re doing memoir right. It’s taking the personal and making it universal.
I guess a lot of now-middle-aged butches were fighting behind Xena, one lustful eye on the one and only Princess! I know, I was there!
I thought I saw you back there! All hail Xena!
Love Wonder Woman, love Xena, two butches in a pod:-)
Ditto that, BB. You have good taste in superheroines.