It’s 2016. Why is Wonder Woman still white?

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Superhero and comic fans rejoice! The first ever Wonder Woman movie is coming out in 2017. Fans will finally have the chance to see the iconic Amazonia wielding her golden lasso on the big screen in her own feature film. But why does such an iconic character need to be played by a white actress? DANA DA SILVA explains why having a black Wonder Woman could be great for representation.

It has taken many years for Wonder Woman to finally grace the screen, in the first film adaptation of the character, ever! For comparison, Batman has been in eight movies and Superman, seven. Wonder Woman finally made an appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, yet the comic book character has been around for 75 years.

Wonder Woman was the first prominent female superhero to emerge on the comic book scene, and is one of the longest running comic book characters. Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, was created in 1941 by William M. Marston in a time where the roles of women were rapidly changing. His goal in creating Diana was to create a “new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”

via GIPHY

Over the years, she’s become a symbol of women empowerment, and she kicked some serious butt in Batman V Superman. So who was eventually chosen to wield Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth? Former Miss Israel, Gal Gadot.We’re excited that a female superhero is finally getting her own film, but when looking at what she represents as a character, we have to ask, why is she white? Why is this character not played by a black female actress?

Now hold up. Before you all start arguing that her race is part of the history of the character, that we should just make a new black superhero instead of changing her skin tone, blah, blah, blah, hear me out first. In today’s context, diversity of characters is still quite low and whitewashing isn’t new to the movie industry.

Watch this if you don’t believe me:

Representation is important to have. Making Wonder Woman black would help us look at this epic character in a new light and would give young black women a strong female icon that they can identify with. The more we create spaces for black female characters, the more we can chip away at the corrosive racial stereotypes in which black people are generally cast, ie wisecracking sidekick, sassy woman who needs saving etc etc. Let’s not even pretend that black women haven’t BEEN cosplaying Wonder Woman.

Artist Markus Prime has been tackling this issue of representation by drawing pop culture characters and superheroes as black and non-binary. He explains why it’s important for kids to see themselves represented in comic books: “’Ninja Turtles’ is already one of the most popular cartoons of all time, so just imagine how many black girls probably would have wanted to become news reporters, or how many girls would’ve been like, ‘I want to be an actress!’ because they saw a black woman featured in some of the most popular cartoons and movies in the country,” he said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

For a character that has been around as long as Wonder Woman, wouldn’t it be great to see her as a black woman? What is it with these tendencies, Hollywood? I’m sure Kerry Washington, Viola Davis (you know she could kick anyone’s ass), Taraji P. Henson, or Paula Patton, to name a few, could all slay as Wonder Woman. Sadly, we will probably have to wait a couple more years until Hollywood decides that representation is just as important as casting white men in everything.

Featured image via YouTube

19 COMMENTS

  1. OK….. But you could apply this argument to just about every white superhero ever. Why single out WW?

    • Because it’s 2016. We should demand representation of POC in current year media. Why bother with characters that aren’t hot right now.

  2. I’m sick of this crap, just come up with your own black characters instead of trying to ride someone else’s coattails. Build your own brand and diversified characters and i’ll give it a read put the work in is all i have to say!

  3. Wonder Woman is a white character though, she’s the daughter of Zeus. I do hear you though we do need more Black, Asian and Hispanic characters because these films do function as cultural microcosms. Superhero’s are our secular gods after all.

    • Relax, Roberto, you don’t need to be so apologetic about it and pretend that you agree with her. It’s obvious to everyone that this “journalist” is either crazy or trolling.

  4. I completely disagree. Wonder Woman is an amazonian, so if she’s going to be of any particular ethnicity, it should be… Yeah, Amazonian! There are plenty of black heroes in the Marvel universe, so it’s not like there aren’t options.
    Storm – From X-Men, played by Halle Barry in the X-men movies.
    Black Panther, John Stewart (a Green Lantern), Steel (ala Superman), Misty Knight (cyborg policewoman), Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter in Jessica Jones), and let’s not forget SPAWN (played by Michael Jai White, yes he’s black, in the movie).

    There’s more, but… well you get the idea. The diversity in comics is growing, and we don’t need to take classics characters and change them up arbitrarily. There are story reasons for their racial identity to change or become more pronounced.

  5. Excuse me, but this article is incredibly offensive.

    Gal Gadot is NOT white, and a single google search would have tipped you off – you already know that she’s from Israel, so how come you didn’t keep reading? She’s an underrepresented minority and most emphatically does NOT benefit from white privilege.

    I think making sure that our culture is less whitewashed is a great, noble goal – but this Wonder Woman isn’t whitewashed. There are plenty of other white female superheroes that deserve to be “blacked” before we begin removing representations of other minorities.

  6. Girl please go sit yo ass down. We have black characters on the rise look at Black Panther in Civil War, Ray Fisher is playing Cyborg, and Alexandria Shipp is taking over as Storm, Zendaya is playing a lead female role in Spiderman: Homecoming, and I’m sure more black characters are coming. My main hatred for this article is why JUST black. Black people aren’t the only moniorities with small influences on the superhero cultures. We need more Black, Hispanic, and Asian cultures represented but turning Wonder Woman black isn’t a very smart or critically smart move on behalf of WB and this upcoming DC shared universe.

    • Thiiiis! She is Amazonian why would she not look like your typical indigenous Latinx person? Most indigenous Latinxs are brown, can we get some damn representation please? There’s no reason we can’t fight for representation of others while confronting white washing in media.

  7. The only other female comic book character that I know of that got her own movie was Catwoman & she wasn’t white. This article is pointless.

    • You are so right! They are White for many reasons. One of them is money. Nobody believes that POC actually give a crap about or even help other human beings out than a White woman. Don’t need a super heroine with some ghetto attitude with Ebonics as a first language! Enough is enough America is still majority White and until that shifts deal with it.

  8. She was originally white. You can’t just change the race of a character to pander and be politically correct. It’s better to make new characters if you want to add diversity. Imagine making Storm a white female 50 years from now just to pander and be politically correct. That would be ridiculous.

  9. SJWs will always be retarded. You complain about people needing to be able to relate to heroes that look like them, then bring up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an example.

    How stupid can you be? Oh yeah lots of kids relate to being green turtles!!!

    TMNT is popular because it’s awesome. Color is not important. Only racist SJW pricks like you make it important.

    I’m Filipino. There are no Filipino superheroes. I could give less of a fuck. It’s not about race.

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