A preview screening of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which premiers April 15 on PBS, gave me an idea. This blog could rename itself SuperWomantraveler and strive for justice and truth in the often self-serving online travel industry. (Not to say there aren't plenty of excellent travel bloggers, but does any of them wear a disguise??)
OK, just kidding about this blog, but the documentary's director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan has created a provocative story that sheds much new light on women, women and power, women and teamwork and many other traits. I heard her describe her motivation at a screening and then quizzed some women friends. None of us, we confessed, had appreciated the deeper themes of this Wonder Woman comics superheroine during our upbringing. In fact she was a turnoff to many of us, with all due respect to actress Lynda Carter, TV's Wonder Woman and a savvy voice in the film. Truth be told, what was personified early on in these figures was physical exploitation -- Carter's ample measurements and those first Southwest Airlines female flight attendants in their hotpants? To be honest, because of this imagery, many of us clearly undervalued the concept of Wonder Woman for her symbolic role in history (aka the Amazons in Greek myths), her inspiration for modern warrior princesses (e.g., Linda Hamilton in The Terminator films) and her meaning for contemporary modern feminist icons, modeled by Gloria Steinem.
But Ms. Magazine co-founder Steinem, ever the smart and savvy analyst, and several other thoughtful voices in this fascinating chronicle have rendered a both stirring and entertaining tale about history, literature, politics and culture. And did you know that the DC Comics superheroine was created by Harvard psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston in 1941 to fight for justice, peace, love - and even sexual equality - on the eve of World War II and within the male-dominated superhero genre? Now, that's a concept to be further pondered in the context of the times, and as further modeled by the contributions of wartime superheroines like Rosie the Riveter and as described in the new book, The Girls of Atomic City. The question at hand - what makes a superhero, mythic or real?
To consider this more, check out some other good reads on the topic, such as Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology, from Wonder Woman to Charlie's Angels.
So from now on, Womantraveler will be assuming a posture of truth and justice in travel-writing. Now wouldn't that somewhat upend the genre -- telling it like it is, without fluff, no cleavage (sorry) and dedicated to tell-it-like-it-is punch?