In Search of Wonder Woman

August 05, 2013

I recognize that I’m too old to ask for a birthday cake topper. Yet, a week before my birthday I felt confident and super strong. I had just celebrated my one-year anniversary working for AAUW, and I was proud of what I had achieved.

Christine Hernandez with her Wonder Woman cup

I love the cup, but I would have preferred a cake topper.

I was spending my birthday in my California hometown for the first time in years, and my mom offered to buy me a birthday cake. I asked if she could keep an eye out for a Wonder Woman cake topper. My mom searched every store she visited during the course of a week with no luck. My sister and I looked at a few stores while we were out but could only find pink, feathery crowns. On the day of my birthday, my husband slipped out of the house early in search of a cake topper. After visiting several stores, he came back with a Wonder Woman cup.

The cake was delicious — even without a topper — and my number one priority was to be surrounded by my family. A topper didn’t take away from me being my own kind of superheroine this past year. However, the whole situation made me think about what it must be like for parents of young girls who also want a Wonder Woman birthday party. In our search, we couldn’t help but notice the high availability of so many male superhero products. The option for young girls? Don’t be a superheroine; be a princess.

This cup was the only Wonder Woman party gear we could find.

This cup was the only Wonder Woman party gear we could find.

Where are the superheroines? How many recent movies have focused on the stories of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and other male superheroes? Actresses are left with smaller roles that revolve around the male lead(s). In the few times that women have been portrayed as heroes, they are often oversexualized. I don’t think that I’m asking for much when I ask for more strong female leads in this overabundance of superhero movies.

Until we see greater representation of superheroines, young women and girls will be out of luck finding something in stores or on screen. In the meantime, we need to show girls how they can be their own superheroes.

By:   |   August 05, 2013

5 Comments

  1. Margaret Arthur says:

    Last Spring, our branch was awarding small scholarships to two very deserving students whom we judged best in an area science fair. I found Wonder Woman cards (Target, I think) in which to present the awards. I think the winners appreciated the cards as much as the awards.

    Margaret Arthur
    President, Ocala FL branch

    • Christine Hernandez says:

      Hi Margaret,

      My husband actually found the Wonder Woman cup at Target too. That’s a great idea to share superheroine cards to your scholarship recipients!

  2. Vic Hall says:

    If you think that’s hard, try finding strong super heroines of color…

    • Christine Hernandez says:

      Vic, I’m completely with you on that one. There’s been such a challenge to even hire people of colors for any superhero roles. I know that there was pushback at the idea that Donald Glover could have played Spiderman in the latest films.

  3. Michele Guttenberger says:

    Female Icons in Comic books sounds like a good branch program topic and one I was thinking about before I read this article. I am President of AAIW-NJ Sussex County Branch. One of our board members owns a Comic Book store. Their store was helpful in getting customers to sign a petition/pledge against human trafficking which was our AAUW-NJ campaign. We did this during the last Super Bowl season held in NJ . Comic book fans were enthusiastic about signing the petition. They are intent about fighting the forces of evil which human trafficking is. So, the thought of spotlighting female comic heroines sort of sparked this idea for next year’s branch programs.

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