Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Comics' Greatest Female Role Model
She is one of comic's greatest characters. She is a symbol of female empowerment like no other. Her glory and the inspiration she provides actually outweighs the horrific festish-fest of all Marston's bondage-based fiction.
I speak, of course, of Etta Candy.
Oh, I'm sorry, did you think I meant Wonder Woman? Please! Don't make me laugh.
Wonder Woman; so vain that she wouldn't tear masking tape off her eyes for fear of ruining her eyelashes.
Wonder Woman; so shallow that the only thing she says when given her armor symbolizing her new divine mission in Man's World is, "Oh, Mother, how lovely!"
Wonder Woman; so unfeminist that she abandons her home and leaves for Man's World, not because of her holy mission, but because she has a crush on the first man she's ever seen.
Wonder Woman; so spineless and insecure that she cries when someone doesn't think she's attractive.
No, I don't mean Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is the symbol of all that is WRONG with how women are portrayed in comic books. The dominance fetish, parading about her bathing suit, the obsession with a man, the vanity.
Etta Candy is a real woman. Etta Candy is a role model. Etta Candy, in case you didn't know, is a svelte figure when Wonder Woman, in her guise as a war nurse, meets her. Etta is thin because she's suffering from an illness (inflamation of the spleen, or some such). Once she's cured, she blossoms to her normal size.
Etta Candy is not fat; she is a sturdy woman with some meat on her bones, as opposed to the anexoric top-heavy heroines of today. She's from Texas, you know, where size is appreciated.
Etta Candy does not moon over men. Wonder Woman actually says to her, "You know, Etta, you need to lose some weight if you want to catch a man!" Etta's reply? "Who needs a man when I've got candy?"
Etta is so wise. You'll note that Etta doesn't eat just any candy; you don't see her with lollipops or gumdrops. Etta eats chocolates. No fool, Etta knew long before anyone else did that eating chocolate produces the same chemicals (such as phenylethylamine) in the brain that falling in love and having sex do. Who needs a man when I've got candy? While Diana Prince stamps her foot and sighs over a recalcitrant Steve Trevor, Etta has popped a bon-bon is woo-wooing her way to her next madcap collegiate adventure.
Modern writers haven't done Etta justice. On the WW television show, she was portrayed as a simpering subservient wuss by the actress who was the waitress at Arnold's Drive-In. When she was reintroduced after the Crisis, she was insecure about her weight, jealous of Wonder Woman, desperate to lose weight, and wound up falling for Steve Trevor -- that's everything Etta Candy should NOT be. Suffering Sappho, who thought we needed the Earth-3 version of Etta Candy?
The real Etta Candy doesn't have superstrength, but she still takes on Nazis, gangsters, and Mexican prison guards. The real Etta Candy risks her life for her country every episode, without being nearly invulnerable. Etta Candy doesn't need to be a Helen of Troy to command the respect of men and women alike, and is the head of her sorority. When Etta Candy's fiancee turns out to be a skunk, she dumps him, and says, "Oh, well, I'd prefer a nice horseback ride with Diana anyway!"
I'm not a woman and I don't date them; but I know who my model of a woman is.
And it sure ain't Wonder Woman. Who needs a Wonder Woman when I've got Candy?