Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, October 23, 2006

On the Star-Studded Swimsuit

Designated Sidekick has an interesting post up here. It highlights among other things, an...interesting alternate costume idea for Diana.

When I say interesting, I must be honest, I actually mean hideous. It really is the most hideous thing I could imagine for her.

That's way too much primary color. *Clashing* primary color. It hurts my eyes.

Not to mention, I can't imagine WHY Diana would wear such a thing. I mean, sure the corset and hotpants attire is a little silly. But at least I have a vague idea how it could be considered armor. At least when the corset is properly drawn to look like a breast plate, anyway. Sure, it doesn't do much actual protecting, but honestly, Diana is invulnerable. She doesn't NEED much protecting. She can go out fighting in a glorified bathing suit.

The linked costume though? The cape HAS to get in the way when fighting the way Diana does. (She's a hand to hand fighter with a smaller reach than most male opponents. The cape would just be something they could grab and trap her.) And as for the costume itself, it's not only ugly, it's also constricting. Assuming that it's unstable molecules, or whatever the DC equivalent is supposed to be, and actually does provide some armor, it's still got to be uncomfortable. I mean, it's fine for a woman like Sue Storm or Jean Grey. But Diana doesn't NEED that protection.

In a way, oddly. Diana's bathing suit has always set her apart for me. In a good way. I mean, okay, the men don't show the same amount of skin, and that's hardly fair. But Diana's costume means something to me aside from just indicating her physical invulnerability. In this climate, where it sometimes seems like a woman can't cross the street in a parka and snowsuit without being accosted by someone, it becomes even more a symbol of power to me.

Diana doesn't need to fear the eyes of men. She doesn't need to hide. She doesn't need to worry if that guy looking to long across the street is going to try something. She can run around in a bathing suit and fight crime if that's what she wants to do, because it's comfortable, it doesn't hinder her movements, and because it's cute.

I don't know if a man can really understand my feelings about this. I don't mean to be sexist, it's just...

My whole life, I grew up hearing "it could happen to you". I've heard all the statistics and the warnings from well-meaning parents, teachers, guidance counselors, resident advisors, over and over again.

"Never leave your drink unattended."
"Don't go off alone with a stranger."
"Don't accept rides from strangers."
"Always tell someone where you're going."
"Always bring a friend."
"Don't walk by the river after dark."

And so on. It's all sensible advice of course. Good to know. Wise to follow. And we all know why too.

We've also all heard the defense of "Look at how she was dressed! She was asking for it!"

I'm not saying, of course, that guys don't get raped, but I don't think that the average guy can quite understand what it's like to live with that constant awareness.

That's why the image of Wonder Woman is so powerful for me. She's my ultimate feminine power fantasy. She's powerful. She's respected. She's dignified. She's one of the three biggest names in the entire DCU. She gets to kick ass and take names. And she does it all in a bathing suit.

Now, I'm not saying I want all female characters to be dressed like that. I LIKE bodysuits and protective clothing that looks like it could actually protect. I prefer to have most of my heroines covered up. It's more sensitive and usually looks better.

But Diana is special. Please leave her alone.

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  • At October 23, 2006 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Though I obviously can't speak from your situation(and would never try); my own situation as a disabled person leaves a similar vunerability. Which is probably why I appreicate Daredevil, Oracle, Professor X & the GLC (Rings that make you one of the most powerful agents in the DCU no physical requirement=:))

    Anyway great post. you can add Shiva & Zatana to the lis of "nonstandard but appropriate dress" list IMHO

  • At October 23, 2006 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gotta say I'm a bigger fan of the Skirt.

    That thing be sexy.

  • At October 23, 2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    See, one of the reasons that I've rarely been able to get into WW is the costume. That isn't exclusive to her, though, the only one piece swimsuit costume I can stand is Zatanna's, and that's mostly because it has a retro style to it with the top hat. But, Canary, WW, Ms Marvel, I think Voodoo had the one piece for a while... all those costumes bug me and take me out of the story. It's a dumb thing to break suspension of disbelief, but I'll occasionally notice the costume and just go "blargh."

    Some artists do make it a little more believable than others. Jim Lee had a killer WW redesign during Superman: For Tomorrow that added a kind of skirty thing and cape, making it look kind of like an official uniform, and Doug Mahnke draws WW well enough that I barely notice the costume.

    It's just, I see the bathing suit and that gets lumped next to the awful '70s open-shirted costumes (Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, I think The Falcon too) that went the way of the dodo. There has to be a better costume design, but the TV show probably did a good job of making the bathing suit permanent.

  • At October 23, 2006 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it's just the colors. Too much red. Maybe if that were played around with a bit it'd look beter overall. Not that I dislike the bathing suit.

  • At October 23, 2006 12:20 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Wonder Woman comes from a Greek/Roman background, and for her, growing up on Themyscira it's hot and you don't wear lots of layers. I guess I'm saying that the outfit actually makes more sense than some of the other costumes out there, and it is so darned iconic by now anyway. I must also admit that I loved the white chiton and helmet that Alex Ross had her in Kingdom, 'cause it just looked so cool.

    Oh, and I STILL think she and Guy Gardner should get together. Heh.

  • At October 23, 2006 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thankfully it's just a design for an action figure and easily ignored. Those guys are always coming up with some kind of redesign. I remember seeing a Batman figure in some kind of lime-green batsuit years ago.

    I can't imagine WW with any kind cosutme besides what she has. Although as jaap says, the skirt was damn sexy. That's one of the reasons I really miss Hipolyta in the JSA.

    But as far as other heroines go, it's a tricky balance of looking good and being sensible and for the most part I think the DC's women should cover up a bit. Don't get me wrong, I'm a guy and love exposed female flesh as much as anybody, but Supergirl and Stargirl need to upgrade to a full shirt (what happened to that great outfit Stargirl wore for like one issue of JSA because she was cold?)And the Huntress' full-coverage outfit if far, far sexier than her midriff-baring bikini outfit.

  • At October 23, 2006 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm, that outfit... yeah. Huh.

  • At October 23, 2006 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I confess to having liked the breech clout she wore in "Kingdom Come," though it didn't really go with the practical armor she was wearing.

    Anonymous, who disguised as mild-mannered uber-goober Hale of Angelthorne, fights a never-ending battle against #$%%#$%%%@@!!! Blogger.

  • At October 23, 2006 9:06 PM, Blogger Wrye said…

    The swimsuit, done right, really does evoke Greek armor. And since some of those Greeks tore into battle basically wearing a breatplate and nothing else, it fits. No one puts Conan in a unitard, do they?

  • At October 23, 2006 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gloria Steinham didn't have a problem with that costume when she wrote an article praising Wonder Woman in the very first issue of Ms. Maganzine.

    The original outfit was meant to be revealing as social protest to prohibitive restrictions towards women (hence being callied a hussy in her very first appearance). The "bathing suit" did the same thing (since the character started wearing the one piece while still under the original creator).

    And, as Wyre just brilliantly pointed out, it's not that far removed from armor her people would wear and no one says a God damn thing about Conan running around in a speedo, Hawkman running around bare-chested, etc.

  • At October 23, 2006 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    She's like Power Girl, only whithout a boob window. She can leave the parka and snowsuit to non superpowered heroines like Huntress or Black Canary.

  • At October 24, 2006 4:07 AM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    You didn't understand. This outfit is supposed to match Jonn Jonnz's new suit in terms of eyesore levels.

    Next week, Superman will be wearing purple and yellow. Batman? His old Rainbow Batman Suit.

  • At October 24, 2006 6:35 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    green: I've always liked the way Shiva dressed!

    jaap: Actually me too. I love that skirt, I tend to think of it as more of an E-2 Diana/Hippolyta costume though. :-)

    david: I don't know if it's just the tv show honestly. There's something powerful about the costume.

    I do like Zatanna's costume too though.

    evan: Maybe. I'm a fanatic though. Bathing suit or bust! :-)

    sallyp: I admit. It did look cool. I don't mind the occasional alternate costume. (I liked PG's line in Circle of Fire to Oracle: "Do YOU wear the same clothes all the time?") But I prefer the default to be a bathing suit.

    Hee. I think they're a little too siblingy myself. But I do love when they interact. :-)

    anonymous: Hee. True. Action Figures are fun that way.

    And I love Hippolyta in that skirt. :-)

    Stargirl's costume doesn't bother me much though. It's very teenager-y without being remotely "Lolita-esque" (which Supergirl's honestly was)

    That said, I loved the one-piece bodysuit even more. I hope she wears that when she's older.

    AND I agree on Huntress. Far better sans Midriff. She got shot in the stomach!

    dan: yep!

    hale: I liked it too. Elseworlds have awesome costumes!

    wrye: Heee. I can't maintain rant-mode when you make me picture Conan in spandex. :-)

    david: I get some of the complaint. No one complains about Conan and Hawkman but if you look at the percentage of barely dressed men to women, it's a bit irksome.

    That said, hands off Diana! Her bathing suit is important, darnit!

    anon: I agree. Though I support Canary's fishnets. Because they're cool and iconic. :-) (Wish she'd have the jacket again though)

    But there are plenty of other heroines that could use more clothes.

    zaratustra: Ahh! Sense is made!

  • At October 24, 2006 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Especially Shiva During Knightend w/ gasp a ninja dogi. Which is actually appropriate to who she is. And it makes me able to forget the bussiness suit from the Robin Mini.

    Zatana I just fell in love w/ from Batman the animated series. hell she even cracked a joke tobats about female magican costumes:)

  • At October 29, 2006 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    >>Diana is invulnerable. <<

    She's what? Since when? I allus thot she's just real Real REAL quick with the bracelets.
    You sure she's invulnerable?

  • At October 29, 2006 11:27 PM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    AI -- Since the Perez reboot. She's got the stamina and resilency of the Earth, which in most writer's hands translates to invulnerability.

    Byrne had her shrugging off punches from Doomsday, yet ducking bullets at the same time.

    Gave some explanation about how the force is spread over the object, but her powers are magic so I'd figure on just funkiness with the divine energy. It's jsut an excuse to keep the bracelets.

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