Wonder Woman: Feminist icon, or one man’s fantasy of what a woman should be like?

Oldham News | Reviews News | Wonder Woman (2017) - Film Review - Oldham  Chronicle
Wonder Woman (2017) film poster, DC films, featuring Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)

Like many comic book superheroes, since Wonder Woman’s creation in 1941 by US psychologist Dr William Moulton Marston, the image and storyline surrounding this female superhero has had many different manifestations over the years. Looking back in time, the history of Wonder Woman seems to be as complex and nuanced as the feminist discussions surrounding the character at the time.

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Masculinity in Bond Villains: The reference of homosexuality by ‘queer-coded’ male characters as a tool for violence and manipulation in 007 – does it have to be this way?

Screen shot from Skyfall (2012) directed by Sam Mendes, Eon Productions. Image features James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).

In this blog, I will look at how queer-coded masculinity is portrayed in the villains in James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) directed by Martin Campbell and Skyfall directed by Sam Mendes (2012). In particular I will look at La Chiffre in Casino Royale (played by Mads Mikkelsen) and Raoul Silva in Skyfall (played by Javier Bardem). Focusing on the torture and interrogation scenes from these films, I will consider the significance of mockingly ‘queer-coded’ behaviour of the villains included in the films, such as innuendos and homosexual references used to torture and manipulate Bond (played by Daniel Craig).

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Why I think infantilising ‘femininity’ in mainstream media and Hollywood is damaging to both men and women (and why I think it’s ok to be a woman).

Snow White (character)/Gallery | Snow white characters, Snow white disney, Snow  white
Image: Pintrest

In this blog I explore the impact of ‘infantilising’ femininity, which has often been taught to us through mainstream media, popular culture and children’s entertainment. By this term, I mean showing women as incredibly young to the point of child-like, with no wrinkles, small waist and big bust, character traits that include naivety, ‘innocence,’ never setting any boundaries, letting everything happen to her without any awareness, being at the man’s beck and call, being reliant on the male gaze’s approval, seeking assurance from men, having less money and property than men (or none at all), and any ‘fierceness’ in characters, often portraying women fighting against the dominating father figure, attempting to ‘fight the patriarchy’ by sacrificing herself for her father’s unhappiness.

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What do I mean by ‘Divine Feminine’ and ‘Divine Masculine’? (And what do I mean by their opposites, ‘Toxic Feminine’ and ‘Toxic Masculine’?)

MahaShivratri 2019 : Ardhnarishwar Temples in India - PenPaperHeart, masculine and feminine energy
Image source: Penpaperheart.com

I’ve often talked about ‘Divine Feminine’ as being about nurture, compassion, and creativity, and ‘Divine Masculine’ being about stewardship of the earth, strategy and building for a new world, but what do I actually mean by this? In practice, what do these character traits that (I would argue) we all have within us, look like on a day-to-day basis? And on the other end of the scale, what does an ‘immature’ or ‘Toxic Masculine’ and immature or ‘Toxic Feminine’ look like, in our day-to-day lives?

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Why did I choose watercolour painting as the artistic medium of choice for the Bi in the 2000s™ illustrative series?

Pictured: Artist Anna Frances, wearing Bi in the 2000s™ merch, with the original ‘Where do I fit in my cultural landscape?’ watercolour artwork in the background

For me it was an easy decision to paint with watercolour in the Bi in the 2000s™ illustrative series, for a lot of different reasons. I think for me, I was drawn to watercolour paint in particular because of its fluid and subtle nature, giving the artist infinite ways to explore colour, from its most faint, to its most distinct. I also find the fluid water component of watercolour a very calming and very natural element to work with, and I find the results often very moving, for that very reason. I think every artistic medium has its own qualities, and this is just one of the paints that I love working with.

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The privatisation of Hamilton House: Why does gentrification keep leading to something like this?

End of an era for Stokes Croft as Hamilton House to come under new  management - Bristol Live
Image: Bristol Post, 2018

Although Bristol City Council have rejected property company Connolly and Callahan’s latest application(s) to turn 2 blocks of Hamilton House into apartments in 2019, the future remains unknown for the formerly abandoned office block, turned iconic community and art centre in Stokes Croft, Bristol.   

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It’s time to change: Why as a small business owner, I’m trying to source sustainable and ethical products for my online store (and why I’m hoping other retailers do the same).

‘Bi love’ Mens/Unisex organic cotton t-shirt from the Bi in the 2000s™ merchandise range

Like everyone, I’m trying my best. My business is relatively new, every step of the way is a huge learning curve, and I’m really trying to put a sustainable and ethical foot forward from the very beginning of the launch of the merchandise products that I’ve created, which I’m approaching in the following ways:

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Is the LGBTQ+ Pride flag used commercially as a means to gentrify cities, or to celebrate diversity?

H&M shop front in London, 2017, during Pride month (mynoho.co.uk)

Is the LGBTQ+ Pride flag used commercially as a means to gentrify cities, or does it celebrate diversity? Regardless of whether you see the cultural appropriation of the LGBTQ+ Pride movement for commercial use as something positive or something negative, some urban theorists have actively encouraged creating a space that will attract LGBTQ+, with the intent of gentrifying the area.

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Pride flag: How useful is it see the rainbow LGBTQ+ Pride flag used on commercial logos and packaging?

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride flag – Red Dragon  Flagmakers
LGBTQ+ Pride flag

So you want to support LGBTQ+? You’ve bought your bacon, lettuce and tomato rainbow flag sandwich from M&S, you’ve bought your apple with a rainbow flag sticker for lunch from Pink Lady, you’ve bought your coffee in a rainbow coloured coffee holder from Starbucks, you’ve bought your rainbow trainers from Nike, you’ve been there, you’ve spent your money, you’ve got the proverbial t-shirt (from adidas). And how do you feel now? Do you feel proud to be you? Proud to support the LGBTQ+ community? Do you feel proud to embrace the side of you, that doesn’t necessarily fit into the hetero-normative narrative that we all have to love the same way? Or do you feel like a few trans-national corporations have just burnt a large hole in your wallet, you’ve continued to contribute to the global capitalist economy, and you’re still afraid to kiss someone that’s the same gender as you in public, for fear of public shame and discrimination?

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Why is representation and seeing others ‘like you’ in the culture around you important, especially when growing up?

Image: ‘World’ by Anna Frances from the Bi in the 2000s™ illustrative series.

Anna Frances explores further why she thinks seeing someone ‘like you’ in the culture around you, effects how you see yourself, and also can effect how you see others.

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