Want to see some smart thinkers and entertainers talk about the legacy of Wonder Woman? Director Kristy Guevava-Flanagan’s April 15 documentary on PBS, “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines,” will shine a spotlight on the history of the character and her pop culture influence. Plus: Lindsay Wagner and Linda Carter!
Carter and Wagner will be joined by Kathleen Hanna, Gloria Steinem, and other females deemed real-life superheroines by the doc, which will look at the curious way that, against all odds, Wonder Woman’s story has more often than not been her own. She’s not a gender-flipped hero, someone’s sidekick, or girlfriend, and the continued survival and love for the character is a testament to her uniqueness in the comics landscape. The aims of the doc were in “Exploring how our highly visual culture places more emphasis on girls’ and women’s looks rather than on their deeds, Wonder Women urges women to claim the action genre — and media in general— as their own, if they want to change how they are represented.”
From the official synopsis:
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. Go behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and feminist figures such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna and others, who offer a counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.
The character really can’t seem to catch a break, having been canceled and rebooted so many times and gaining the one foothold in live-action with the beloved TV series while feature films and a television revival have both proved elusive. Although Warner Brothers has stalled out a couple of planned Wonder Woman features, I lay that less at the feet of some kind of institutionalized sexism against women and action, and more at their weird inability to figure out how to handle big budget superhero movies.