Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Monday, September 15, 2008

On Diana's Costume

Okay, for the record, I think the not-real-but-ought-to-be Wonder Woman poster as seen on Michael May's blog among other places is positively stunning.

And really ultimately gets to the bottom of my irritation of people who continue to insist that Wonder Woman needs a different costume to be taken seriously.

Okay, granted, she's in what amounts to being a slightly armored (depending on the artist) bathing suit. That's remarkably ridiculous! No one's going to take a woman fighting crime in a bathing suit seriously!

She ought to be in footie pajamas wearing underwear on the outside in primary colors!

Or we could always dress her up like a giant rodent! That'd make her look less stupid!

Am I the only one seeing a logical fallacy here? Are leotards, which, I might add, are actually worn as athletic garments in a variety of endeavors from swimming to dance, to gymnastics, to weight-lifting because they are inherently practical, light-weight, sweat resistant, and do not restrict movement, really more ridiculous than blue tights with carefully detailed red panties atop?

The day I see Olympic Athletes wear footie pajamas is the day I'll yield to that line of logic. And even then it may require the help of mind-altering substances.

Now one line of argument that does make some sense is that there's no protection in a bathing suit for people trying to hit you. This is true. But honestly, I've taken martial arts before, I was never particularly good at it but I did, and you know? A martial arts gi is not any better at impacting force from physical blows either. Heck, even with padding that shit fucking hurts, and martial artists in media don't tend to actually wear padding in much of anything and no one complains when they can take blows that could drop a tank. Do you really think Ken or Ryu wear padding? Probably not.

If Ken or Ryu can generate pyrotechnics and take a ball of like in the chest while wearing a karate gi and live, I'm perfectly willing to buy that freaking Wonder Woman probably doesn't have a whole lot of need for protective outer garments.

Besides, there's nothing to say that, like the fanposter shown on Michael's blog, that an armor-esque design can't be incorporated into it, after all. Variations on the armored leotard thing hasn't hurt She-Ra or Xena's sheer feminist-icon-asskickery potential. Yeah, her limbs are uncovered, but that's not actually a completely unfamiliar concept for certain combat type societies.

Ultimately though, the leotard is Diana's costume. And no matter how much they've tried to change it over the years, from 1940s to the present day, well over half a freaking century, that will always be Diana's iconic costume. The general public is going to be a lot more skeptical of a Wonder Woman wearing the admittedly awesome white pantsuit than they are the red leotard. To the non-comic book fan, a white pantsuit does not say "Wonder Woman". Lynda Carter's pretty red leotard does.

Besides, that poster just shows how AWESOME it can look with the right actress/model and designers with a clue could make it look. That poster pretty much wins my argument for me. :-)


  • At September 15, 2008 5:36 AM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    Me, I'm happy that they gave the damn thing straps. My issue with the traditional costume was entirely down to the lack of support it had to offer. That thing just did not seem comfortable for running, jumping and fighting crime in.

    She still flies by harnessing the wind or something like that, right? I can accept lack-of-support if the character comes with general gravity defying ablity but that's not part of her skill set.

  • At September 15, 2008 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to agree with the idea of straps. All things considered, the only reason something embarassing does happen in the comics is because DC won't let it. As for the costume itself, I liked it. Not only was it very true to the comic without looking ridiculous, but it acutally looks like a somewhat functional piece of armor. Perhaps made out of leather.

  • At September 15, 2008 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, it just occurs to me that the answer of "what keeps Wonder Woman's top up" is the same for the "real" Wonder Woman as for my niece's Wonder Woman Barbie doll: invisible straps.

    And it's even consistent with Amazon craftsmanship - if they can make an invisible plane, surely invisible clothing accessories would be simple enough. Just make them at the same time you make the invisible seat belts....

  • At September 15, 2008 12:25 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    That is really a beautiful poster. I don't mind a few liberties being taken with her costume in the name of practicality, but you really do need to make it recognizable. She's an iconic image, in her own right, and that includes her costume.

    When it comes right down to it, it is probably MORE efficient to fight in, than trying to see through a cowl, or getting swathed in a cape.

  • At September 15, 2008 1:39 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    That poster is the same kind of "update" they gave Iron Man's armor for the movie. It's the visual equivalent of the Litarary Agent Hypothesis: the costume always really looked like that; it just looked simpler in the comics because of the art style.

    I like that. And, dammit, I want the movie now.

  • At September 15, 2008 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The next time that some blockhead says that fighting in a swimsuit is just STOOOPID and SILLY for a superhero, feel free to point out the martial attire of Leonidas and his warriors in their recent cinematic blockbuster. Capes, helmets, gladiator sandals, and leather speedos for dudes whose idea of modern medicine might have included cauterizing wounds.

    In addition to having a swimsuit that actually incorporates metal armor, Wonder Woman has a magic purple ray on call, bracelets and a tiara forged by the gods, sturdy footwear, peerless martial training, the strength to knock Superman on his ass, and enough badass in her pinky finger to make Leonidas have a case of the vapors.

    (On the other hand, if you ran with the "invisible straps" idea and combined it with the warrior costumes in Miller's original comic... well, even the Spartans would probably lose focus fighting Amazons like that. The Band of Thebes, no, but just about all the rest.)

  • At September 15, 2008 3:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    And it isn't like those ancient Hellenes had a lot of body shame. The Amazons were cut off from society well before the Hellenic world knew body shame, hehe. Their athletic competitions were generally done in the nude. It's possible that Diana's costume could be considered prudish by Amazons. ;)

  • At September 15, 2008 4:09 PM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    It helps that Wondy is known for agility and being able to deflect bullets with her bracers and so on- armor's a concern if you expect to be hit a lot. If you're the Grecian equivalent of a kung-fu master, it gets in the way.

    Aesthetically, of course, I think the design has always worked, and the basic primary shades can be easily translated to actual fabric (yellow is apparently problematic when it comes to doing movie superhero costumes, but here you can just replace it with gold.)

  • At September 15, 2008 8:02 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    On the strapless issue:

    Lynda Carter was pretty darned active in HER version of the costume. I don't recall ever seeing her in danger of a Wardrobe Malfunction.

    Remember, corsets were originally SUPPORT GARMENTS before the brassiere was invented. I know a couple of full-figured women who insist that a properly-fitted corset is more comfortable and supportive than any strap-laden bra.

  • At September 16, 2008 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I defer to the corset expertise of others, but obviously the fact we didn't *see* Lynda Carter having wardrobe malfunctions doesn't rule out the possibility that there were some on set.

    Thinking about Wonder Woman's outfits lately, it's actually her belt that's been bugging me the most. I think she used to have a pretty unobtrusive (if not nonexistent) belt, but from Perez on it's often just too darn *big*, and her current belt's a little too fiddly, with the stylized "WW" motif repeated.

  • At September 16, 2008 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Wonder Woman costume isn't really corset-style, is it? I've never seen laces, and it's been sort of semi-backless a lot of the time.

    Also, while I can see how you could hack together a version of that costume that would hold up to some vigorous activity, I'm imagining *flying* in something that's stuck to your chest with hope and willpower, and, well. Maybe the Amazons have created Magic Purple Double-Sided Tape, but it's a bit distracting.

    So, yeah. Straps and I'd be happy. (Also, I dig the bike shorts variant. Nothing wrong with a leotard, but it'd be nice to be able to kick people in the head without having to check and make sure that two inches of spandex hasn't shifted a bit.)

  • At September 17, 2008 5:03 AM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    Serpant, while corsets were the original support garments historically they'd have straps and full backs and wouldn't be worn alone, there'd be chemises and other under-things to prevent chaffing and bounce-out. Our current modern idea of the corset comes from what the thing evolved into in the Victorian era, which was not a period know for a sensible approach to women's underwear.

    My best friend does fence in corsets but they're Renaissance ones with straps and worn over an underdresses.

  • At September 22, 2008 8:18 AM, Blogger Alexa D said…

    The fanartist who did that has done more designs in that vein. Me, I'm just in love with the hoplite skirt with star-shaped rivets. And I do think this costume would look best for the movie.

  • At September 22, 2008 11:52 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    - Toby S.
    Don't know about the attire in "300" since I did not see that movie, but I hardly would consider a fictionalized treatment of history terribly relevant. (Also I suspect the leather speedos may actually have been an addition so as not to offend present-day sensibilities). In actual fact, hoplites like Leonidas and his men were heavily armoured for their day (more so than their Persian opponents) with armour covering chest, back and shins and the rest to a large extent protected by a shield somewhat larger than e.g. that of Captain America.

  • At September 22, 2008 6:12 PM, Blogger Cassandra James said…

    I've had the whole 'spandex suit' debate with people before and as you said even athletics use it for the following reasons:
    * can be stretched over 500% without breaking
    * able to be stretched repetitively and still recover original length
    * lightweight
    * abrasion resistant
    * poor strength, but stronger and more durable than rubber
    * soft, smooth, and supple
    * resistant to body oils, perspiration, lotions, and detergents
    * no static or pilling problem
    * very comfortable
    * easily dyed
    Which can all be found here:
    Sure some super suits may be a little too skimpy for what we'd like but I don't find many of them ridiculous. (Although I *do* hate the low bust of Wonder Woman's suit in ASBAR. That thing just has no class. >_>; Although I guess that's not Miller's intention.)

  • At October 11, 2008 3:25 AM, Blogger philippos42 said…


    Diana's traditional costume isn't what I'd call a leotard. It's a strapless backless whatthehell (possibly a form of longline bra) & hotpants (or briefs since 1973).

    If I were producing a WW film (& I've given this an unhealthy amount of thought) I'd definitely have the cut of the thing redesigned enough for the actress to do action scenes, which is, I think, the point.

  • At October 28, 2008 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Strapless corsets have been around since at least 1730. A properly fitted and lined corset - especially one with the front top edge stabilized with metal - won't give you trouble with bounce-out or chafing.

    I do semi-contact combat in strapless corsets, and they're much more supportive and less bouncy than even sports bras.

    Lacings can easily be hidden with a panel that hooks/snaps/velcros shut. I mean, I assume Superman doesn't get into his costume through the neck, but we don't see a fastening and the top never pulls free of the tights.


Post a Comment

<< Home