This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Wonder Woman With Pants Or Without Shouldn’t Matter To A Fan

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Mehernaz Patel:

Recently, DC comics released redesigns for their main trinity. This comes as no surprise since re-designs are fairly popular in the visual medium of comics. Yet, as fans, all of us naturally have our personal favourites as well. This one will probably turn out to be mine:

wonder woman 41
Image released by Hit Fix, Wonder Woman No. 41

The reasons for this at first glance were fairly obvious to me – the woman is wearing pants again. Unlike a majority of her previous iterations, the Amazonian warrior actually looks dressed enough to engage in some serious action, which is rare for a female character in comic books or even in video games, not plot or good character development…just some clothing.

It does happen every so often that women in these mediums just don’t look dressed enough for whatever they’re up to, like engaging in a brutal one-on-one fight. For instance, these clothes don’t really look like they’d hold up in battle… or hold up anything really:

Photo Credits
Photo Credits

This is the blatant objectification that these women have been undergoing for generations, year after year; these are just more editions to the existing versions of the characters, which highlight exactly what would sell more copies. No wonder that the new batch of comic book and videogame heroines, like the mysterious new female Thor, or Kamala Khan, the current Ms. Marvel from Jersey have finally been given the credit they deserve. They have been shown in the manner that  women should always have been represented as, good for them.

Yet, isn’t this a little overly simplified? In saying that they’ve “evolved” isn’t there a grave injustice being done to their poor, pant-less avatars?

Let’s take Carol Ferris for instance, crowned as queen by the wielders or the purple light of love, the Star Sapphire, who also runs her father’s aerospace empire. She is generally seen in these:

fourth image comic book
Photo Credits

My initial reaction to that image is honestly to tape a cover on my screen, but I’m wrong. This may be considered a cold manufactured image of the female form, impossible to maintain, let alone fight in and yet, by maintaining this position, we’re constantly falling into the same trap in the fight to regain equality for all genders. If we, as a fan base, or as any critical audience keep observing that this was the old face of comics, they’re turning on a new leaf, a leaf with some more modesty, then we are re-iterating the age old “wisdom” that a serious woman doesn’t wear skimpy outfits.

Why, how charitable of us, by once again dictating what a woman’s clothes say about her, we are not moving forward, but rather taking a leap backwards.

There is no harm in a new, more modern look for female, male, or the severely lacking third gendered characters in comic books. But, by writing off their past looks as some kind of sexual bait and by judging the validity of an art form simply because it chooses to dress its characters unconventionally isn’t fair. Perhaps, she just doesn’t like pants? Perhaps, a little air during a heated battle was just what she needed. Perhaps, she just felt empowered by something somebody else wasn’t comfortable with.

You know what else was fairly empowering, yet at some point cringe-worthy? It was women having jobs.

In a recent wave of gender consciousness that has rightfully arisen around the world, there has been a bit of an unfortunate tendency to confuse an individual expressing their sexuality, with an individual being objectified. Let us take a look at Aphrodite – but wait – perhaps, her embodiment might offend some gentile soul. Well she’s mostly naked, if you’re curious about how she carries herself, and that is perfectly okay. Being the goddess of love and beauty does make her want to proudly display her body, a symbol of her own agency and it is definitely not just some way for to get more attention. If that is too far from home, we could even consider Kali, in one of her more famous renderings:


There is no way one would call her disenfranchised or objectified, she looks as she is warranted to look – powerful. Superheroes constitute the modern myths that inspire and entertain millions around the world. As the goddesses of today, they are no different from any religious figure that decided to wear a skirt made of arms.

I’m not upset at the increasing number of new launches for a more diverse group of super heroines or video-game characters, who are more present and active in their roles than ever before. But, the joy should not arise out of the fact that they have more clothes covering their skin, it should be for because more women of substance are making their debut. Their outfits should be interpreted as what they choose to wear and nothing else. And, not a single heroine from the past should be hidden away in shame.

Plus, to anyone who’d say that they’re “skimpily dressed” because it sells more comics, your cynicism would be rewarded by the fact that even the new “better dressed” ones have also been designed specifically for that purpose. And in my opinion it’s working.

So, instead of repeating the same old binary where we see the female body as being sold to a male audience, let’s just celebrate the bodies of these heroines as something that they as individuals choose to display as they see fit. No “objectification” should be attached to this unless it is truly warranted. This is not to ignore the multitudes of people fighting for gender equality across the world, but to make sure that we honour their efforts by changing our own lingual cues, before expecting anyone else to do so.

You must be to comment.
  1. Jigsaw

    There can never be equality until men are forced to work and women given an option to work.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Nupur J

By Shareerspeak

By Priyasmita Dutta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below