Come to Illinois Public Media’s free screening and discussion of a film that traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.
The event takes place at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, at the Champaign Public Library.
Carol Tilley, a U of I assistant professor in the U of I Graduate School of Library and Information Science, whose recent research found that an anti-comics crusading psychiatrist in the 1950s “played fast and loose with the data,” will be part of the discussion panel. Other panelists include Rachel Storm, assistant director of the U of I Women’s Resources Center, and Kevin Hamilton, U of I associate professor of art and design. GMart, a comic book store in Champaign, and the Women’s Resources Center are partners for the event.
The film goes behind the scenes with TV stars Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), comic writers and artists, and real-life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna, and others, who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.
Wonder Women! explores the nation’s long-term love affair with comic book superheroes and raises questions about the possibilities and contradictions of heroines within the genre. Reflecting our culture’s deep-seated ambivalence toward powerful women — even in this so called post-feminist era — women may be portrayed as good, or brave, or even featured as “action babes,” but rarely are they seen as heroes at the center of their own journey.
Wonder Women! airs on WILL-TV at 9 p.m., Monday, April 15.