It's a bird! It's a plane! Actually, it's a statuesque woman with a golden lasso...
In a genre mostly written by men for men about men, Wonder Woman has been singlehandedly representing a whole bunch of butt-kicking ladies for years. But Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Kelcey Edwards are showing the world the myriad of superheroines that exist. The documentary 'Wonder Women! The Untold Story Of American Superheroines' will examine exceptional women from both fiction and real life.
The film will dissect the image of the superheroine and explore how representations of powerful women often reflect anxieties about women's liberation. It will feature a variety of world-class heroines including activists Gloria Steinem and Shelby Knox, actresses Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), and punk rock star Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill and Le Tigre) and many many more.
We asked Kristy and Kelcey a few questions about their project:
What inspired you to make the film?
Kristy: I remember reading an article in the NY Times about Gail Simone. It mentioned that she was the first woman to write the series in comic book form... after 70 years of Wonder Woman being around! That struck me as rather shocking, so I started to read more about Wonder Woman's past... and it was fascinating!
How did you two meet?
Kelcey: A mutual friend of ours, documentary filmmaker Jamie Meltzer, put us in touch. He had been my professor in grad school and told me Kristy had this wonderful idea and was looking for a producer. Like most friendships between women, I think it started with a girl crush. I remember thinking Kristy was super cool.
How did you choose who to interview? Especially the Riot Grrrl part was an interesting take on the Wonder Woman narrative. Were you guys punk rock fans?
Kristy: I did a lot of research for the interviews. The Riot Grrrl was a later decision, when we realized the connection in that they repurposed Wonder Woman images and other cartoon images. And they really were another wave of feminism.
I'm curious what you think about Wonder Woman's outfit. Hot? Objectifying? Thoughts?
Kristy: Ha! It's pretty ridiculous! It just seems like a hard outfit to kick ass in!
But so patriotic!
Kristy: But she has gone through a lot of outfit changes in the comic book form. Now she is wearing pants!
I had no idea.
What do you want to bring to the women who see the film?
Kristy: We can actually remind younger audiences of the role of the women's movement in our lives and the images we see.
Kelcey: I agree, it's like we are now able to look back through this critical lens that has become very refined and very well articulated, and look back at the trajectory of our pop-culture heritage to get a much better sense of where we are now, and how we got here.
Kristy: I love the idea of looking at something really populist like comic books and action movies to see what they saw about our society and values.
Kelcey: But do it in a totally fun, accessible way that young folks will get.
'Wonder Women!' will premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas this March. You can get involved now to help the film's final moments of production.
In the presence of all this babe power you may just rip off your disguise and let your inner superheroine loose!