This blog is part of the Scáth na Feannóige/Shadow of the Hooded Crow project exploring fénnidecht as a practice to follow the War Goddessses, Badb, Macha and the Morrígan whose name is Anann. This is a less formal place for me to discuss various issues of interest to someone on a modern version of the Outlaw warrior path such as physical training, history, Old Irish literature, pop culture inspirations, werewolves, ecstatic trance (okay, I find that one tough to write about but I may try), gender issues the wilderness....


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wonder Woman---a rant from Goddesses to costumes to Goddesses

 If you are looking for something on the 2017 movie I have Wonder Woman Rant Redux - muscle, space and physical feminism I intend to do a review after I see the movie early in June.

It would be impossible that Wonder Woman has nothing at all to do with why I'm here writing this sort of stuff. But the truth is, I can't really remember how much of an influence she might have really been. It seems a lot, but I also realize some issues with those memories. Did I discover Greek Mythology or WW first?I don't know. Did I gravitate to Greek polytheism when about 9 or 10 years old due to WW or was I drawn to her due to my devotion to Artemis? I don't remember which came first.

But as the the new pilot, the recently revealed costume from it and all the blather on the web about it, she's been on my mind. Oh, and that blather several months ago about her new costume in the comic, which most people talking about the new TV movie one, mostly, don't seem to know about. Frankly, the costume even before the recent discovery I made wasn't the biggest deal. Stupid but not the biggest deal. But then, when I started reading her book (and it was always sporadic that I got them), she shortly there after wasn't wearing the Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit anyway. The Amazons had left Earth to save their powers, but Diana Prince stayed behind, gave up her powers and the Wonder Woman moniker, took up karate and opened a boutique. In some of the issues at the time, she wore a white jumpsuit, with flat soled boots, no less! So get over "she's in pants, ZOMG!" she's worn them before.

Her first TV appearance was probably largely inspired by this "Mod" version and was also blond. I'm going to admit that I liked that part, being, you know blond (which is my real hair color, although I hennaed most of my adult life, I'm black to the blond now). And she wore a skirt, with dark tights and blue boots. And was played by Cathy Lee Crosby. I don't really remember it much, but I remember being thrilled by the movie. I'm told it was actually very, very bad, but, hey, I was 12 and desperately looking for any good female character to watch. Even if it wasn't a very good show...after all, TV was not particularly good back then, anyway. And I remember desperately wanting a blond Goddess worshiping, ass kicking role model. (yeah, I know, poor little 'underrepreseneted" white girl, hey, I was a kid)

But no one else did so that didn't make it, and when the next pilot came along it was Lynda Carter in the Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit, WWII style...sort of. Actually the style was a bit shorter legged than the original shorts version, which followed the original skirted.

Which sort of brings us to just how much and how often the costume changed. It changed quite a bit over the years and I can hardly catalog all of it here. That's been done anyway by Carol A. Strickland at A Brief History of the Wondie Suit. She gives a great run down, but I mostly disagree with her opinion wise. See....I really sort of always hated the suit. Perhaps it was that I got some sense from the Diana Prince era of pants and sensible shoes, but fighting crime in a bathing suit just never made sense to me. Even when Carter's WW moved into the '70s with a higher cut leg.

While I won't replicate the whole run down that Strickland does, here's a look at some of the original sketches by Dr. William Moulton Marston, who created (with a bit of help from his wives) Wonder Woman under the pen name Charles Moulton. I do apologize, I have found this on so many sites and blogs that I cannot trace an original source.

This is the original suit. Note, no red boots, although they were there in the beginning once she was actually in the comics. The strappy sandals, hmmm...just another nod, such as the lasso and cuffs, to Marston's bondage lifestyle? Keep the straps in mind, now, we'll come back to that later. (However rather than diverge into Marston's lifestyle, including living with two women and believing that bondage would bring world piece, I will let SheWire.com speak in Wonder Woman Amazon Princess of Bondage and Submission? A Brief History)


So here's just a few examples of Wonder Woman costumes through the years. Again nothing compared to the Strickland run down linked above. It wasn't always the Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit anyway, but even that changed a lot.

WW wasn't always Diana, either, several others grabbed the title for awhile. Two redheads, one named Artemis, had short lived careers (that was when Diana wore that black bike short get up instead) and short lives once they donned the Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit. Hippolyta, Diana's mother, took the role, her adopted sister Donna Troy who had become Wonder Girl took the Wonder Woman moniker in a somewhat more metallic costume.

Earth 1, Earth 2, New Earth, Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, Bronze Age, Silver Age.... The thing is, comics get deep into changes, alternate realities (including a cross-gendered world with the Manazons), more changes, total redactions and, yes, just plain clothing changes. So holding on to a really very silly Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit seems, well, really silly. But all those things did seem to cause a stir so, this costume thing has been an issue since they changed WW's costume in the comics last year.

The first look was fully jacketed and Athletic Woman blog did note this as an issue, as, SOMETIMES Wonder Woman was drawn quite muscular (once could probably do another 15 page index like Strickland's just on the muscle, but the '04 pics will do for now) and the jacket hides the arms. However, the jacket comes off.

And the top has straps! It could stay on. Okay, it has a lot of straps, right down the arms. Which, if not stretchy would create some interference with muscles. But, seriously, this is a nod to WW's bondage origins, no? Which is part of her history, after all.

Me, I like the new comic costume, mostly. I like the pants, but would really like them a bit less painted on. I like the lower heel on the boot and really do not give a fuck that they're not red (because, who need red boots? why is that such a big fucking deal? Red is glaringly cheesy color for boots), but I'd like them a bit, clunkier, but then I'd have given her combat boots so.... And I like the darker look, although I know a lot out there hate it.

The darker look goes with the also very controversial greater violence that Wonder Woman has apparently been displaying. A lot of people are having a hard time with that too. Me, it almost brought me back into buying the book when I heard about it, but...well, we'll get to that in a moment.

The TV version, however, is trying to play it both ways. They have the pants and the blue boots, but are going with the baby blue and the higher boot. It's just all to bright and shiny for me, I do like the dark urban look most people are hating on. But mostly, why would anyone want to go back to the strapless bustier thing...it's always been the stupidest part of Wonder Woman's costume. Seriously, do you want to be in a fight worrying if your top is going to fall off? You move around enough and no amount of boobage is going to keep that on. It's just not.

Of course, the costume in the NBC movie/pilot is all we have to rant on, because it's all we know at this point. I'd love to see way more muscle on a live action Wonder Woman today than Adrianne Palicki is packing in this photo. I'm leery of her action acting chops, as the only thing I've seen her in has been as a rather vapid victim, but it's unfair to say she doesn't have those chops based on that. I hope she works out a bit more though. I wish Rhona Mitra got the role, dammit!

A big part of my plan here was to note, that pants, maybe even tight pants, are totally appropriate for an Amazon warrior despite the usual Greek toga image that most people think:



But, over all, I wonder if I care anymore. Because while I needed to rant on the costume fervor, while checking this all out and considering starting to buy the book again after all these years, I discovered something. Remember, the first bit here, in some way the Goddess worshiping Amazon Princess Diana is part of my early memories of worshiping Goddesses myself, as well as probably inducing an early interest in the warrior path. I actually did worship Artemis and other Greek Goddesses early on, as They were the ones I had learned about, the ones I knew. And Artemis is such a perfect Goddess for adolescent girls. But She stayed with me for years after.
Then in a very powerful way, She turned me over to An Morrígan. It was actually a pretty traumatic experience for the pacifist I was and culturally mind boggling as I ended up finding myself having to explore Gaelic culture far more than anyone I knew at the time was.

And now....Wonder Woman is facing a new enemy, a Triple Goddess out to destroy the Amazons. Yup, that would be The Morrigan. This is just horrific to me.

I've been trying to find pictures and more information, but so far it seems only two names and pictures exist or at least have made it to the internets. One is Bellona...um, wrong culture assholes! The other is Anann!!!! Damn! They got one right?! Most polytheist claiming to worship An Morrígan usually seem to miss Her! No clue as to the third, can't find it anywhere. Nope, not going to give DC money to find out.
(ETA: Apparently the third is Enyo, who is a Greek Goddess of war. So apparently while they use the title The Morrigan, they are using only one Irish Goddess, and then the Roman Bellona and Greek Enyo...which is just more Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!)

So, the hells with the costume, to hells with who plays her in the most recent live action depiction. I'm offended! I'm done! I've had it!

The first Goddess worshiping role model is fighting my Goddess? Or a cockeyed, ignorant rendition of Her. Insulting! ahem

I don't know what to think any more. Really, I just wanted to rant about the costume and my worries about the casting. I wanted to start reading the comic again, now that perhaps I an actually sort of kind of afford to do so. But instead...another little piece of my Pagan childhood has been destroyed. And not due to the loss of a fucking Iconic Strapless Bathing Suit.

ETA: Here's The Daily Beast's commentary on the script for the pilot with the eight cringiest moments...at least one would hope they're the worse.

ETA April 2: photos from filming show Palicki in a somewhat modified costume, obviously some of the feed back out there got picked up. Red boots, why that was such a big deal is beyond me, but I do approve of the lower heel. Slightly darker, less shiny legging with stars, the last was another thing that really wasn't a big deal to me. But the strapless top, waaay too low to be remotely reasonable, just is so bad. In the videos taken at the shooting, you can see her picking at the top and I think her posture over all suggests that she feels very uncomfortable and is focused on whether it's staying up. Seriously, give the woman some straps!

Wonder Woman an all comic images are owned by DC Comics, the image of Palicki is from NBC and Warner Brothers, who can own that damn costume.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A place where things come together

As I wasn't writing much about Gaelic spirituality at the time I started this blog, having started at a time of conflict, flux and burn out in the community and taking things more private for awhile, I have realized it might seem a sudden switch to some of my readers. While the intent of this was always to be about various aspects of the warrior path in my life and how they came together, the focus had been on fitness, self-defense and popular culture. That itself might seem quite a mix to some. But it really is in my interest in the warrior ways of ancient Ireland and Scotland that all those things come together, the physical training and the importance of story.

I'm not good at compartmentalizing. Somethings need to be, however, and therefore when I wanted a space to blog about homesteading and to share with my husband, I made another blog Dùn Sgàthan Notes, I also joined a blog for horse advocacy although between three of us we seem a bit too overwhelmed by it all to post much. Then, in order to share space for writing about things related to The Sarah Connor Charm School, I created a blog for the group. This last is the most likely to have cross-posting. (What am I saying? The only thing I've posted there so far has been reposts of things from here. I hope this doesn't annoy those who might read both.)

But this blog is for all things related to women on the warrior path, however diverse that may be for me. It's a place where things come together for me in my practice. Now I also have a real space location that brings things together, as well.

For years now I've had limited space for exercise equipment. Usually a small room, which usually means that things overflowed into the rest of the house.It lead to some bad habits, like making a stop by the computer in between sets, removing my focus.

When I was planning to build my own house, it was actually pretty much centered around the idea of having a gym. A gym/temple, really. But I never built my house. A decade ago we moved into the "in-law apartment" of my parents' home. Since their deaths, we now own the house...and we still live in the apartment. I wasn't ready to use the rest, the apartment is smaller and easier to care for and heat and it just doesn't "flow" into the rest easily. But we decided to find ways to expand into the rest. And, it of course, started with a gym.

Moving the living room fufurniture out of the way (come spring most of it will be moved completely out), we put down padded flooring, moved in the weights, benches, heavy bag. We added a pull-up and dip tower, as I have given up, for now, on finding the perfect bed frame to turn on it's side. When things are moved out more we'll have more open space, especially to work the bag, and probably get more equipment over time.

And in the far corner is a shrine. I may be the only Polytheist, especially the only HARD Polytheist, out there who has a shrine in her gym with a statue of An Morrígan and a figure of Sarah Connor. I hope these are joined by a figure or picture of Scáthach or other literary Irish warrior woman, or many, but I'm not finding the right one(s). I'm looking for well done and muscular, tattooed would be nice but muscle is more important. I have some great ideas in my head but a lifetime frustration of never being able to get such images out onto paper (my sister got that talent). I do have a list, a sort of prayer, instead:
I serve the War Goddesses
Badb and Macha and An Morrigan, whose name is Anand
Fea and Nemain, Bé Néit

I follow in the footsteps of the banfénnidi
Macha Mongruadh
Ness ingen Echach Sálbuidi
Medb ingen Echach Feidlig
Creidne
Scáthaig Buanand ingen Ardgeimme
Aifi ingen Ardgeimme
Bodbmall
Líath Lúachra
Luas Lurgann
Étsine
Bréfne
Símha ingen Chorrluirgnig
Bec ingen Conchoraig
Lithben ingen Aitreabhthaigh

Truth in our Hearts, Strength in our Arms, Fulfillment in our Tongues
(ETA April 2012: I have changed this over this time period, please read this post on why and how it reads now)

There are photos all around of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Some, now collected in a frame, are worn, faded, damaged, having gone from apartment to apartment with me for years, the first for 20 years this year, taped to the walls of various "workout rooms." Likewise, there are similar pictures of Kathy Long. Later these were joined by Demi Moore doing one-armed push-ups as Lt. Jordan O'Neal in G.I. Jane (this also includes the statement "Failure Is Not An Option" at top and D.H. Lawrence's poem "Self-Pity" at the bottom) and Sigourney Weaver as Ripley 8. But now I have more pristine photos of Linda, with autographs, including one of us together. I'll be printing more from ComicCon to go up, too.

But while An Morrígan and Sarah Connor grace my shrine, it is not to say that the two images are the same. One is a representation of my Goddess, the other is a representation of a role model. As a hard Polytheist I do not believe that the Goddesses and Gods are archetypes. They are real and They are many. Even a Goddess I worship of the same name as a Goddess you worship might not even be the same Goddess. We are limited, They are not so much, we do not always know who They are, only Who They tell us and They may tell us to meet our always limited understanding.

And while I might be limited, I'm not completely simple either. I have no problem with both worshiping Goddesses I believe are very real and alive and being inspired by stories both ancient and modern. For me Sarah Connor and other modern role models are as potent as the ancient ones of Ness and Scáthach and other literary figures who I also do not believe are degraded* Goddesses but humans in the tales.

So this space, this very sacred space to me, is filled with images that represent the warrior path for me.c It allows me to stay far more foused and mindful, more reverent than I have been for some time when working out with weights. I meditate, usually sitting on the balance ball, before the shrine between sets. I focus on what I am doing, what I am offering. Because working out is worship for me, a practice that deteriorated by bad habits, which now I am breaking.

There are no offering plates on this shrine as there are on my others. The offering is my blood, sweat and tears. If something else is demanded there, it will be given, but the focus here is on the work of the body. And where that meets the spirit.


*Yes, I know even some Celtic scholars these days use "euhermerized" but this word actually means the opposite; it actually means that the historical becomes mythological, that humans become Deities, not the other way around.

---------
Text and top photo copyright ©2011 Kym Lambert, wolf picture is currently photoshopped but a similar one will go there Drawing copyright © 2002 Aaron Miller
Photo of Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 copyright © 1991 Carolco, currently owned by Pacificor LLC