the moral lesson of wonder woman is that you can be stronger than any living human and literally stop bullets with your arms but there will always be white dudes thinking they’re stronger than you are
HYST note: This post brought out a lot of feels. I’m a brown girl who grew up in a small mostly-white town and can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel exoticized, othered, and intensely aware of how the combination of my race and gender played into every social interaction. Chalk that one up to white dudes (white girls too, sometimes). Yeah, it’s a bummer, but unfortunately my experience isn’t unique – it’s the American WoC story. Luckily, all of this made me angry! – the anger fuelled me to work hard! When my goal of getting into an Ivy League happened and white guy classmates explained it away as “Oh you just got in because you’re a minority and a girl” I got even angrier!
Being angry is rewarding but exhausting, though! I think this is why I could never stop reading Wonder Woman once I started. While I was working relentlessly (and, sometimes it seemed, pointlessly) in campus feminist activism, Diana fought patriarchy and its limiting and annoying constructs about women but she kept so collected and regal while she did it. She inspired me then, and she inspires me now that I’m an angry grad student (except for this insulting WW/SM nonsense, which makes me… you guessed it: ANGRY).
And – here’s the kicker – it wasn’t just Wonder Woman who inspired me; there was a guy in almost every issue who loved her and supported her and thought that she was the bee’s knees in general… and he was a white dude! WHAT. Steve Trevor is supposed to be a “typical American male,” by the way – he even won a nationwide contest for the Most Typical American Male once – and while I wish that the typical American male was like Steve Trevor, he is nevertheless a great example of the kind of ally that men can be for women. This is a guy who smacks of white cis male privilege; he’s also great at his job, fearless, kind, funny, and doesn’t bat an eyelash when he needs help from good lord a woman. Every once in a while he gets embarrassed about it, but then Diana comes in and is like, “Oh, my poor boo is a product of the patriarchy he subverts, he just needs a little reminder to keep trying.” And then Steve *listens* to her and understands and tries. This is amazing to me. It gives me a lot of hope.
However, if your post was referring to the Steve Trevor from the 2009 Wonder Woman movie, then yikes! That dude was okay for a laugh but he was no Steve Trevor. Pre-Crisis comic book Steve (with a few exceptions in the Silver Age, heh) and rare-cartoon-cameo Steve are the real deal. I like the New52 version of him so far too.
(Sidenote: It’s shocking, but I have met a lot of cool white dudes – also JK about the “shocking” part I realize that they’re not a monolithic entity. And I’m getting plenty of good-natured crap for dedicating a tumblr to a fictional white dude character. But, like I said, Steve makes me hopeful!)