Google “Wonder Woman armpits” and you’re met with half a dozen think pieces from publications like Mashable, Huffington Post, Forbes, Slate, Telegraph, Independent and Refinery29.com all covering a non story.
At the heart of all these articles is this “blink and you’ll miss it” still from the Wonder Woman trailer.
Reactions of the above have run the the gamut from:
Wonder Woman should have leg hair + armpit hair. If she came from a place with no male standards of beauty she wouldn't gaf about body hair— Joshua Bruckner (@SirJoshington) August 13, 2016
Leaked screenshot reveals what Wonder Woman's armpits looked like before they were digitally altered by the patriarchy. pic.twitter.com/V4nZ07heaj— マイル (@martian_munk) March 18, 2017
Sometimes I look at Wonder Woman in comic books and I ask, "Diana, where is your armpit hair?"— Malediction Mel (@DybbukStay) January 3, 2014
"should Belle be lesbian?"— Detective Hoy (@officialhoyalty) March 18, 2017
"should Wonder Woman have armpit hair?"
NO. ENOUGH. It's not canon so stop! IT IS NOT CANON!
Fine. To reduce a non-issue to a few dozen subtweets is inconsequential and stupid. Especially when an armpit bears a striking resemblance to mine when I’ve forgotten how to apply self-tanner. So why are the aforementioned publications even picking up a story like this? Because no one loves a faux feminist rage quite like those who are decidedly against equality. Oh and clicks. Beautiful, angry, internet traffic clicks — the irony of which is not lost on me. I realize this is a bold stand to take, but all the ingredients are there:
1. Take a beloved character
2. Allow interpretation of canon to develop
3. Start mixing portrayal of beloved character not aligning with a few dozen people’s ideal
4. Add a pinch of an innocuous observation blown way out of proportion
5. Scorch the shit out of it with Twitter
Writers for those outlets are presuming and concluding that there are bogus cultural expectations in this movie based on a few people noticing that Diana Prince doesn’t have body hair when maybe she should. A plot point absolutely not involved in this movie. At all.
If a couple of die hard Wonder Woman fans are really going to get up in arms over a detail like armpit hair, they should really go all the way in then. Maybe spend some time with how everyone’s teeth in period movies should look more rotten, or how about how more people should have pox scars because of lack of antibiotics and vaccinations? Maybe give a few folks polio and take away some limbs.
But the issue at hand is this: Manufactured rage like this is doing an incredible disservice to equality in that stories like this get picked up by pro-feminism sites because more and more, comic book movies (and by extension, book-to-movie adaptations) and their fans nitpick over the tiniest details when it comes to sticking to canon. And when those fans start to voice their dissent and pick up steam, feminist websites report on them because of interest in intersectionality. What they fail to do, however, is genuinely assess whether or not this serves their readership and their overall mission. Because I’ll be honest, it’s stupid fucking stories like these that anti-feminism folks sink their teeth into when they go to launch their arguments over why feminists are so angry and lash out over tiny things. This is just ammunition in their arsenal.
Also, she was made of out mud and clay, so maybe pick a better hill to die on. But if those are going to be your hills, bring better artillery, because you’re bringing tickling to a gunfight.
H/T to the fantastic land mermaid @kdm/Kendra