The real wonder woman

Marci Turner » Complementarian Wisdom Culture

The comic book heroine feeds a woman’s desire to save the world in her own strength, but the real wonder woman lives for Jesus’ glory.

My friend and I have this thing with Wonder Woman. She has a Wonder Woman blanket and a coffee mug. We both have t-shirts. I have the TV show theme song with the ridiculous lyric as my ringtone. I imagine both of us probably wore Wonder Woman Underoos when we were little girls.

Wonder Woman was a powerful woman no one would mess with and a beautiful woman that no one could take their eyes off of. She was the comic world’s feminine answer to Superman and the aspiration of many young girls.

Beauty and femininity were never intended to manipulate.

Created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist and an inventor of an early component of the polygraph, Wonder Woman premiered in December 1941. Marson modeled her after two women in his life: his wife and their female “roommate” (Marson maintained a polyamorous relationship with both women until he died in 1947).

Of Wonder Woman’s creation, Marson wrote:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

Just as her golden lasso was used to control and manipulate, Wonder Woman roped women in, albeit deceptively, with her allure of power, beauty, and dominance. Though women may obtain power and be stunningly beautiful, these are not the defining qualities of a wonder woman. A real wonder woman embraces the following truths.

Unique creations

Like men, we were created as image bearers (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4). Our sin dulls the wondrous reflection from the mirror we were meant to be. Only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus can the true wonder of a woman ever be expressed.

Women and men share the responsibility of stewarding God’s creation (Gen. 1:26), yet God created women to be different from men. He created a helper, another human with a different approach, purpose, and role (Gen. 2:18; Eph. 5:22–33).

We aren’t Superman, and the creation of Wonder Woman played into our need to want what men have and be what men are. Satan lured the first woman Eve, that her specific purpose and her special relationship with Adam and God wasn’t good enough, and we’ve been falling for that trap ever since.

A gift, not a tool

Like a tennis match, the world has volleyed women between two rackets: domination of men through fight or femininity. Wonder Woman not only kicked tail; she was also easy on the eye. It’s not necessary to overpower men to be taken seriously. It’s also unrighteous to dominate men with your feminine lures. The Bible warns strongly of such women (Prov. 5). Our femininity is a gift bestowed by our Creator and for his glory. Beauty and femininity were never intended to manipulate men, just as masculinity was never intended to overpower or manipulate women.

Great wonders

Although we may be tempted to perform acts of wonder, our real wonder comes when we yield to the Lord allowing him to do great wonders through us. Jesus told his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Then Jesus goes on to promise how great wonders will be performed through ordinary gals like you and me.

Holy empowerment

With the Holy Spirit, you have greater than superhero power—you have supernatural power. The Holy Spirit empowers you to disciple others, spread the gospel of Jesus, love, and serve. You are not Wonder Woman sent to save the day. Instead, you get to take part in God's plan to save the world from sin, death, and Satan.

Our comic book heroine feeds our desire to want to take charge, go it alone, and save the world in our own strength, but the real wonder woman follows Jesus and lives for his wondrous glory.


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