Are You Less Of A Man If Your Woman Can Bench-Press A Building?
PHS editor Maya Kesh explores the relationship between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor and how it challenges the traditional gender norms in a romance.
Recently DC Comics experimented by pairing Wonder Woman with Superman.They have since removed the relationship from continuity and brought back Superman's marriage to Lois Lane. More interestingly they have brought back Steve Trevor as a love interest.
In the mid 1980s there was a DC line wide event called The Crisis on Infinite Earths.This reboot sidelined Steve Trevor. He was aged out of the narrative and became her good friend. Why? I think because it is very difficult to write stories where women are the physical alpha. I think that is what drove the recent Superman/Wonder Woman pairing. Diana was now in the familiar role of being with the stronger male. I thought it was a mess not because I love Lois Lane (which I do) but because of how it took Diana's agency from her.
Now Steve Trevor is back as her love interest and I couldn't be more thrilled. I loved them together in the 1970s but? I don't think the relationship was written well. Writers didn't seem to know how to reconcile a physically stronger woman to a human male.
After all, he will have to step back while she fights things a human can not do.
It is okay for Lois Lane to step back because this fits our gender tropes. It is more uncomfortable to see Steve Trevor do this. However, I think it is extremely important to show this relationship. Why? Because I believe it is vital for our boys to understand that their masculinity isn't defined by their physical prowess. I think seeing a strong man, confident in himself with a strong woman who can bench press a building, is so important. I loved the moment in the movie when she took the fire and the men followed her. I loved that Steve Trevor, even raised in a less enlightened time, stepped back.
Currently in the comics, we have a Steve Trevor born in a world where he doesn't have to prove himself. He is strong. Diana is stronger. He isn't threatened by what she can do. I am loving that.
copyright DC comics
Maya Kesh is a lifetime reader of comic books, an active member of the online comic book community, and a regular contributor of articles on the subjects of how women are portrayed and diversity in comics. To find out more you can follow Maya on Twitter.
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