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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

Reality vs. fantasy

The new Wonder Woman and her costume have been criticized as overtly sexual.

Lady superheroes are supposed to save the world.

How DC and Marvel depict them while still maintaining the integrity of the original character and her costume shouldn’t be a problem.

The new Wonder Woman and her costume are sexualized — very few things aren’t, nowadays.

It seems to me that sexualization is primarily criticized because it objectifies women.

It, either directly or implicitly, suggests that women are valued only as sexual objects rather than as people existing in their own right.

I don’t believe the sexualization of Wonder Woman does that.

I don’t think she is somehow minimalized because she is wearing a skimpy outfit, because that is not her defining characteristic.

Her defining characteristic is that she is a superhero and, while I won’t go so far as to say this is somehow empowering for women, it definitely doesn’t appear demeaning.

The defining characteristic of superheroes in general is their physical form and prowess.

I hazard to say the sexualization is more of a physicalization — rather than highlighting the sexual aspects of a woman, it highlights the physical aspects.

In that regard, the physicalization places the bodies of superheroes on par with the bodies of athletes, in whom we admire the sheer physical talent.

If we accept that, we have to consider that other superheroes are subject to the same kind of physicalization as Wonder Woman.

Superman wears a tight outfit, and the Hulk goes shirtless.

These physical aspects are not construed as sexualization, because they’re not. The public is primarily concerned with objectification and sexualization of women, even though men are sexualized as well.

If we want to argue that Wonder Woman is being sexualized, then we also have to argue those other superheroes are sexualized.

Then, if we do not feel compelled to accept that, we would at least have to concede that most superheroes represent an idealization of the physical form and, by extension, Wonder Woman’s figure is the idealization of a woman’s body.

Idealization is not the same as sexualization.

I don’t see anyone complaining that the marble statues of ancient Greek goddesses, who represent the idealization of a woman’s figure, are sexualized.

The only way to determine if Wonder Woman is sexualized is to determine if the woman’s physical ideal that this whole society has, beyond what is portrayed on television, is sexualized.

We have no one to blame but ourselves if the ideal that comes to mind is the picture of an extremely thin woman rather than a form similar to that of an Olympic athlete’s.

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