Wonder Woman Went to Washington and All I Got Was This Photo Essay

On Facebook, I saw photos of Wonder Woman traveling all over Washington D.C. Turns out, she was hanging with my former colleague Christine Mathias. (We used to produce talk radio shows for KGO Radio in San Francisco.) Lucky for us, Christine agreed to share her adventures with Wonder Woman on Reel Girl. Check out this photo essay.

Some people celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with an epic excursion to Paris. Some people relax, beachside, with something full of rum and bad ideas. Some people have reproduced by their tenth year of marriage, so they’re lucky if they can ditch the tiny human to take a weekend in Mendocino. We (the incredibly game Husband and I) didn’t do any of those things. We took Wonder Woman to a rainy, thunderstormy Washington DC instead. She’s been protecting us and fighting for our rights since the ’40’s, so really it was the least I could do. As an American woman I have taken her sacrifice to heart and try to live my life in pursuit of justice and equality and WHERE DO I FIND MY OWN LASSO OF TRUTH?

Washington Monument

“Did you know, Christine, the Washington Monument is the tallest obelisk in the world?”
“No I didn’t, Wonder Woman! Thanks for layin’ down some truth!”
“Also — totally a penis.”

Capitol Hill is a ghost town on Fridays — this is when Wondy turned to me and was like “Don’t these people ever work? No wonder they can’t protect women’s reproductive rights or come up with a solid plan for universal pre-K.” That’s her eye-rolling face.

We fought off the other tourists to get this shot but Wonder Woman was pretty insistent. “Um, Christine, not only is Lincoln a pretty big deal, but did you know he met Sojourner Truth???”

U Street Metro
One day we took the Metro past Howard University to historic U Street. I mean, it used to be called Black Broadway! Duke Ellington’s house is there! “Christine — Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s house is there.”
“Dude. She was an abolitionist, and one of the first black female journalists AND lawyers in the country. In like the 1880’s. Kind of a big deal.”
“Sorry Wonder Woman.” This is not the first time I disappoint her on this trip.

Bens Chili Bowl
We ate A LOT. Wonder Woman was game to be a vegetarian for a week, so this veggie chili-dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl was a big hit. Except….
“Too bad about the Bill Cosby portrait on the side of the building. Since he’s a rapist.” Word.

“AMELIA!!!!!!” We totally fangirled BIG TIME at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Amelia Earhart is such an inspiration to me, to Wondy, to every little girl who ever liked science…. “Christine, take the picture, I want to go check out the Tuskegee exhibit.”

“It’s no Justice LEAGUE, of course….”
“Very funny Wonder Woman.”
“No seriously, Loretta Lynch’s stalled confirmation was an embarrassment driven by racism and misogyny and HELL YEA she’s the boss now!”
“OK that’s better.”

National Archive
“So…..every female statue in this town has a) pointy nipples b) children all over it. CAN I GET A WARRIOR?” I agree, WW, it would be nice to see a fuller representation of the roles women fulfill in our society. “SERIOUSLY JUST ONE SWORD.”

Supreme Court
At the Supreme Court.
“Is she here? Is she working today? Are any of them working? Can we meet them? Did you bring my Notorious RBG shirt?”
“Sorry, Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t here. No Sotomayor or Kagan either. And I didn’t bring your shirt because it’s my shirt, Wonder Woman.”

Sandra Day bust
We got to see Sandra Day O’Connor’s chair and portrait, and Wonder Woman was glad to get at least this photo-op (if RBG was unavailable.)
“As I understand it, she is the best idea Ronal Reagan ever had?”
That is correct.

Sarah Edmonds
We visited the International Spy Museum and got acquainted with lady-spies like this Civil War-era cross-dressing Union operative Sarah Emma Edmonds. “She was so much more than a spy! She enlisted for three years, broke limbs, got malaria, was a stretcher-bearer on the front lines, she even eventually got a military pension and burial! OMG I DIE.”

“Hey you. It’s been a while.” Wonder Woman and FDR go waaaaay back, like WWII way-back. She and Eleanor were “like this,” and Wondy was a big fan of FDR’s Labor Secretary, Frances Perkins. She was the first female Cabinet member, and can be credited with the implementation of social security, unemployment insurance, and a federal minimum wage. “You know, the small stuff.” Wonder Woman + sarcasm = hilarious.

The mosaic of Minerva in the Library of Congress was….controversial.
“That’s Athena.”
“Wonder Woman it’s Minerva.”
“Dude, I’m Greek, that’s Athena.”
“They’re the same.”

Joint Custody
Wonder Woman loves vinyl (“it’s interacting with music, Christine”) so we took her to some great shops around town. She even made a friend at the awesome Joint Custody on U Street.
“Your hair is fab.”
“Thanks girl, nice lasso.”

And then we were done! It was a wonderful trip, incredibly educational and inspiring and full of great experiences. Got some pie and coffee for the ride home, and…
“Christine. I told you to get your own piece. Chocolate Pecan is my fave.”

Christine Mathias is a broadcaster, producer, writer, and Feminist Malcontent who has decided to make life as uncomfortable as possible for Supporters of the Patriarchy. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @NerdAlert19

‘It’s been said that you’re too skinny for the part. Wonder Woman is large-breasted, is that going to change?’

I am so mad right now, I am shaking. Gal Gadot, the actress playing Wonder Women in the Batman vs Superman film (did you get that part about how the film is referred to as Batman vs Superman?) was asked by an interviewer if her small breast size qualified her to play the part.


From The Mary Sue:

Gadot was interviewed by Good Evening with Gai Pines, an entertainment show in her homeland Israel…


It’s been said that you’re too skinny for the part. Wonder Woman is large-breasted, is that going to change?

Thank you, media for directing the public to focus on Gadot’s breast size. We all need to pay a little more attention to critiquing female anatomy. Also, since Wonder Woman in a movie probably means Wonder Woman in more merchandise, we really need to make sure we get the character’s breast size right for kids’ toys and games.

I can’t even count how many blogs I’ve written about sexualized female superheroes. Wonder Woman finally appears in a movie, not even her own damn movie, but the 8th Superman and the 9th Batman one, and she gets asked about her breast size? Wow. We live in backwards, fucked up, sexist times. In case you think this interview an anomaly, it’s far the first time the media has judged Gadot’s body as inappropriate.

And what does this interviewer even mean: “Is that going to change?” Is he asking Gadot if she is going to get breast augmentation? Or is he asking her if the character will no longer be identified with that particular breast size?

Here’s Gadot’s excellent response. She can add me to her fan list.

Hmm. I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world. Breasts… anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is amazonian, and historically accurate amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go “by the book”…it’d be problematic.

Missing Wonder Woman found on lunchbox from 1976!

My daughter has been searching and searching for Wonder Woman. She’s always on the lookout. We comb bookstores and toy stores. We couldn’t find her on socks at Stride Rite or at T-shirts at Target or on a birthday cakes at Safeway. It’s possible to find her on the internet, but you’ve got to seek her out. Her image doesn’t appear here and there as my daughter and I go about our day, unlike the ubiquitous Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, male Avengers, and other male superheroes. So my daughter was thrilled when today, we were at my sister’s house and she saw a Superfriends lunchbox sitting on a shelf in my nephew’s room. It’s from 1976. Check out Wonder Woman, front and center!


On the back? Batgirl, front and center.


On the side? Catwoman!


Other side? Supergirl!


That makes 4 female superheroes. So I wondered, in 1976 was this awesome lunchbox made “for girls”? It does have a purple border. Was purple strictly a “girl” color in ’76 the way it is today? But even if this Superfriends lunch box was meant only for girls, today in 2013, it’s not likely you’ll find a lunchbox with 4 female superheroes on it. Maybe, if you internet search, you’ll find someone selling it somewhere, but it’s not something your daughters and sons will see as they go about their day. In 2013, female superheroes have gone missing from kidworld.

Last week, it was announced that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman. Plastic heroines reacts:

It’s not just that I think Ben Affleck is all wrong for Batman (I do), it’s that Batman and Superman have already had so many feature films that it’s ridiculous.

  • Batman (movies, live action): 1966, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2012
  • Superman (movies, live action): 1951, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 2006, 2013

Sixteen in all, if you count the movie Affleck has been tapped for. And we can’t get a single Wonder Woman movie???


I remember there was a Supergirl movie when I was a kid. I LOVED seeing her on the screen. Where has Supergirl gone in 2013? My kids don’t even know who she is. My 4 year old keeps asking about Spider-Girl. Instead of telling her she doesn’t exist, I help her draw her and write down the stories she tells me about her. I wish some major movie company and toy maker would help me out spreading narratives of Spider-Girl to kids, not to mention Spider-Woman.

Melissa Silverstein spotted a book on Wonder Woman when she was out with a kid. She posts about the sighting on her blog Women and Hollywood:

I was with my four year old nephew who is obsessed with The Avengers. He only wears Avengers t-shirts and knows all the characters even though he has never seen any of the movies. But that’s the culture. These male superheroes are everywhere and kids pick up on it.  We were in a book store and had lots of time.  We made our way to picture books with superheroes on the cover.  He immediately pointed at the Batman and Superman books.  Right next to those books was a book on Wonder Woman.  I said do you know about Wonder Woman? And he said no.  He had never heard of her. We sat down and read the story and he was really into it.  He thought it was cool that she had a magic lasso and also the book ended with Wonder Woman and Superman rescuing someone together so he got to see that she was a real superhero and could keep up with Superman.I am relaying this story because I am sure there are boys all over the country and the world being exposed to only male superheroes because that is what our mass consumer culture allows us to see. While it would be great for us to have a Wonder Woman film and that would be a great start it will not be enough. That’s the problem with the lack of critical mass we have in our female stories.

Disney execs tell us that they make movie after movie with male protagonists because that’s what kids want to see. Their line is that girls will go see movies about boys but boys won’t go see movies about girls. That’s bullshit. Girls don’t come out of the womb any more open minded or generous than boys. All kids are self-centered, and they all want to see themselves reflected out there. But kids get trained from birth to pay attention to stories about boys, they learn that stories about boys are important and for everyone while stories about girls are just for girls. I wish parents wouldn’t perpetuate this sexism. Read your kids stories and show them movies with strong female protagonists. Get excited about the bravery of the female characters. Don’t ask your kid what movie she wants to see, you choose. Turn on a Miyazaki film. Here’s a list of great movies with female protags. Your kids will get into them when they watch. Let’s all bring back female superheroes and celebrate them much more than before, because even in the seventies, they weren’t around nearly enough.


Dear Stride Rite, until you stop gender stereotyping, we’re through

Dear Stride Rite,

Today, I walked by your store on California Street in San Francisco, and I was saddened by how differently you market shoes to girls and boys. What’s with your gender stereotyping? I don’t get it. Aren’t girls and boys feet pretty similar? Don’t all kids need shoes where they can be active? Please tell me why Stride Rite markets shoes to little kids as if girls and boys are completely different species. As author Rebecca Hains writes, according to Stride Rite, girls are pretty and boys are active. This kind of gender stereotyping limits all kids.

Here’s the huge poster selling shoes to girls in the window of the San Francisco store.


According to Stride Rite, girls like pink, purple, sparkles, and princesses.

Here’s your poster selling shoes to boys.


Boys are powerful. They like orange, blue, red, yellow, and black.

The shoes displayed below the girl poster are also– surprise, surprise– pink, purple and sparkly. The shoes displayed below the boy poster feature Spider-Man and Captain America shoes.


Where are the female superheroes at Stride Rite? Not on the socks you sell. Those are my daughter’s hands in the picture. She was looking for Wonder Woman.


Apparently, Wonder Woman isn’t one of the world’s greatest superheroes. Isn’t she a member of the Justice League? Where’d she go? What about Black Widow? Why has she gone missing from the Avengers Assemble? And while we’re looking for MIA powerful females, where’s Leia with her lightsaber? Why isn’t she part of the Stride Rite Star Wars shoes marketing plan?

Here are my three daughters ages 4, 7, and 10 wearing Stride Rite shoes.


Unfortunately, we will no longer be shopping at Stride Rite.The way you guide girls to one side of your store and boys to the other is manipulative and destructive. My youngest child chose her orange shoes from the “boy” side, but every year, my kids get more influenced by marketing such as yours. Their choices become more limited as they repeatedly see that girls are supposed to be so radically different than boys, only wear certain colors, and behave in a certain “feminine” way. For as long as I can, I hope to protect my kids from learning that boys are valued for what they do, while girls are valued for how they appear. That means not shopping at Stride Rite.


Margot Magowan

Please go to Stride Rite’s Facebook page to tell them to stop gender stereotyping.

Update: On Reel Girl’s Facebook page, Lizards and Lullabies posted this email just received from Stride Rite. Guess they’re working hard to snag back to school shoppers. Makes sense, that’s why my family went shoe shopping.


I couldn’t click on the commercial link so I went to You Tube. Ugh, it’s really awful.  As one commenter Tweets:

wish like a princess? They’ve found a way to make a princess EVEN MORE passive!

Here’s the ad:

Update: This comment, posted on Pigtail Pals Facebook page, makes me so frustrated. Diana got way more than a confused look from the sales associate when her daughter dared to step beyond gender limits at Stride Rite:

“We just went into a Stride Rite store for my 4yo daughter and she was drawn to the “boys” side with the Spider Man shoes. The sales associate actually stopped her and said “Oh honey, those are for boys. Let’s get you something prettier over here.”
I told the sales associate that she was free to pick a shoe from whatever side she wanted and that pretty wasn’t defined by pink, purple and glitter, nor was it the only quality we wanted in a sneaker.
We walked out with Spider Man sneakers that light up and are awesome. I did mention to the woman that while we appreciated her friendliness, we did not appreciate her gender stereotyping and making my daughter feel like she shouldn’t be excited about black, red and blue shoes with eyes that light up.”


And one more thing, while I’m here. All that “pretty,” shiny stuff on girl’s shoes gets scuffed up and falls off pretty fast. When it does, parents are likely to buy kids new shoes, which is great for business and also, creating lifetime consumers. Check out this post: Are girl’s shoes designed to disintegrate?


Where the fuck is Wonder Woman?

I’m at my wit’s end here. After a trip to Target, Kara Bara posted this pic on Reel Girl’s Facebook page of the store’s sexist Justice League display:


She writes:

I love your blog and I was in my local Target and I noticed Wonder Woman had gone missing from all their Justice League superhero stuff. She’s already outnumbered 7:1 on the team and now she’s completely missing from all the displays.

Kara posts a second pic:


Here’s the other side of the display with an even more obscure member, Cyborg, instead of WW – just in case we didn’t get the message that superheros should only be dudes.


After I saw this, I went to Target’s website, and guess what? Wonder Woman has gone missing from the all male group pic. Can you get any more sexist in your marketing strategy for children than excluding the only female? Seriously, Target, WTF? Please stop teaching kids that males are more important than females. Put Wonder Woman back where she belongs.


Kids want to see heroic, female protagonists

Yesterday, I posted about A Mighty Girl’s news that kids’ underwear with female superheroes on it sold out. I also posted about a dad shopping with his 5 year old daughter who complained about the lack of cool female characters on clothing.


He bought his daughter boy underwear. A commenter expressed the same frustration: her daughter is fan of Spider-Man and she started a petition to get girl underwear designs integrated with boy underwear. I signed this and I hope you do too, but I want to recognize the deeper issue here and make sure this info isn’t misconstrued into: See, girls like boy characters, so let’s just keep making them and let girls go missing.

All kids want cool characters. They want to see exciting narratives where heroes take risks, make choices, and act.

Why is there no Spider-Girl movie and 5 movies about Spider-Man? Where is Spider-Woman? Why are there 7 Batman movies while Batgirl, like Supergirl, is practically invisible? And why, for God’s sake, are we still waiting for a major release of a Wonder Woman movie in theaters? Not to mention multiple sequels?

I read this on Pigtail Pals Facebook page, Melissa Wardy’s talk with her daughter, the Original Pigtail Pal.

“Mom? Every time I watch that Spider Man movie I can see there are no girls in it. I get really mad! I just don’t get why there can’t be more girls in it.” -7yo Original Pigtail Pal Amelia, girl and Spider Man fan
“I think it is really important that you noticed that. There should be and easily could be more girls in it. How could we change that?” -Me
“Oh. Oh ho ho. We’ll just show them what girl super heroes look like.” -OPP
“Maybe that could help them have more balance with girls.” -Me
“Yeah, they need more bad ass girls.” -OPP
“Uh no, I said ‘balance’.” -Me
“I know. I said ‘bad ass’.” -OPP

Hollywood and Target, are you listening?


More cool female action figures

I tore these cool women away from my kids long enough to get them photographed. My husband took the pictures.


So here we have soccer players (they come with a ball they can kick), Catwoman with her whip and motorcycle, Batgirl, Wonder Woman with her plane, Hawkgirl, and Princess Leia.


Next we have Coraline (who you’ve seen in an earlier post) Katniss and Merida (who were not Christmas presents but wanted to join the party) and Rue from the Hunger Games.


Catwoman, Serafina Pekkala, Lyra Silvertongue, Black Widow, Wonder Woman (already missing her laso) and another Batgirl

All figures except for Merida and Katniss were found on A Mighty Girl or Toward the Stars. That little Wonder Woman on A Mighty Girl’s promo was the one who started me on my shopping spree.

Wonder Woman without pants leads to LEGO without pants

Hey, kids, meet Wonder Woman, one of the few female superheroes.
Which one of these LEGO minifigs is not like the other? Why do you think the most powerful and famous female superhero is shown in her underwear?
Read more about about sexism marketed to kids through LEGO sets here.
“If I don’t get pants, nobody gets pants” Wonder Woman by Theamat (Cynthia Sousa)