Recently Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka confirmed that Diana is indeed bisexual. Yes, I know he used the word queer to describe her but I was raised to believe that was an exceptionally rude way to describe a person. It means strange, abnormal, and I know that people are reclaiming the word but it still feels wrong. This announcement brought up a lot of questions and thoughts, really made me dig deep after my initial reaction. My first reaction was, alright, and? For some reason I thought this was old news, but it seems I just assumed it. Before I thought about that though my next expectation was the media blitz to signal this virtuous revelation, then write articles about all the outrage (or manufacture it if needed) to pump the hype train. Then I got to wondering, why did I assume she was always that way, and why does Greg say it’s a matter of course?
Is it because she’s muscular, athletic, and comes from an island of all women? Was it because of all the fan art out there blurring the line between cannon and fandom? I’ve seen a lot of pictures of Wonder Woman with DC, and other comic company ladies and many of them are quite explicit. Did that just permeate my subconscious? Was it all of those things? I’m not sure. I don’t read DC much, so I can’t say it was something out of the comics. Maybe it was a little of all of them, but it seems even I tagged Diana with a stereotype that I just thought was a given. Right or wrong, it’s a perception that a lot of people I’ve talked to recently already had. Even my wife thought it seemed reasonable, but it’s also because her view of Diana is tinted by what she knows about amazon mythology rather than anything related to the comics. Either way, this revelation has seemed to strike a lot of people as old news, or just not that much of a surprise.
Greg says it’s a matter of course because:
And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, “How can they not all be in same sex relationships?” Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise.
It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able — in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner — to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.
Now, on the surface that seems absolutely logical, but wait a minute…doesn’t this imply that your sexuality is dictated not by how you’re born, by your personal preference or what you are attracted to, but by society and the options you have? Is this not saying that a gay person growing up exclusively among people of the opposite gender would be magically straight? Does this also not imply that a straight person, when given no other option for human contact than people of the same gender, suddenly becomes gay? Want to take that logic to Folsom Prison Greg?
Then we have the question, aren’t Amazons famous for capturing men to mate and have children with? The only option here isn’t other women. If Diana is bisexual, great, but isn’t there a better explanation? I can give you several examples of gay, and straight people, abstaining from sex for a myriad of reasons rather than go against what they feel is their sexual preference. They don’t just default to the societal standard because it’s the only, or most convenient option. Some may, and many may at least go through the motions in order to have some sort of physical contact with other human beings. We are social creatures by nature, and we generally crave contact with other people, but it has always been my understanding that the true core of our sexual attraction and preference is just part of us. It is as unchangeable as the true color of our eyes, or the code in our DNA. You may be able to hide it, mask it, act against it, but at the end of the day you are either gay or straight or some variation in between.
The why of it rolled around in my head. Why do it? Why reaffirm, or change the cannon (depending on your perspective). If Greg had just said it’s because of the story, which he does say is one of the reasons, I’d buy it. It’s the best course for Diana’s story is the only explanation that would matter. When you try to explain it in more words than that, fall into the jacked up logic above, then people start to ask questions. Like, when all of the most recognizable female DC characters are gay or bi, when does it stop looking like diversity, and start looking like a fetish? If you have to come up with a whole host of reasons, who are you trying to convince? You wind up talking yourself into a confusing hole like Greg seems to have done. In the end, the people who won’t like it will never be convinced, and the people who do like it don’t need so many reasons.
I know, lots of people think arguments like this make me homophobic. Even bothering to question this would peg me as such with a lot of people, but the zealots aren’t who I’m concerned with. It’s the environment we’ve created now. One can’t even discuss these topics without people getting offended, calling you names, and trying to paint you as some sort of monster. Seriously though, the old adage, ‘sex sells’ hasn’t become less true over time. When people have to use weak justification, that borders on insulting, to have a reason to write in another sexy female on female relationship it just looks like more of the same.
Now, to be fair Greg could write a remarkable story arc with Wonder Woman, and never turn it into softcore lesbian porn. There’s absolutely every reason for this to make sense, outside the whole ‘it’s the only option for her’ bit. This could be an awesome book, for women and girls who already like the character. I hope it is, but I worry that this trend in comics is either going to be short-lived, or do more damage than good. Most of us readers out here care about good stories and good characters. We really don’t give a damn who sleeps with whom, unless it’s driving the plot forward. Absolutely give representation to as many people as possible, but don’t do it lazily, or for the wrong reasons. You’ll just hurt the same people you’re trying to help. Reading over Greg’s interview it doesn’t look like he’s just phoning it in, despite his rather thoughtless explanation about Diana’s culture. I hope he sticks to that for new, and old fans alike.