For years, the world of mainstream superheroes has been absolutely dominated by men – despite the fact that there’s a plethora of amazing feminist comic book characters just waiting to star in their own film.
Now, finally, Wonder Woman is set to save the world all by herself. And, judging by the latest action-packed trailer, warrior princess Diana (Gal Gadot) is fierce, fearless, and focused on breaking down gender barriers as quickly as she possibly can with her indestructible bracelets and glowing lasso.
Despite this, however, fans have insisted that the new Wonder Woman feeds into misogynist beauty standards – and it’s all down to the demigod’s underarm hair.
Or, more accurately, the lack of it.
As fans of the original comic book series will already know, Wonder Woman – otherwise known as Diana Prince – was raised on the island of Themyscira, a matriarchal society entirely comprised of badass warrior women. And, as such, she spends the majority of her time in Amazonian-training, working “ten times harder” to hone her extraordinary skills in strategy, hunting, and fighting.
We highly doubt that Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) or General Antiope (Robin Wright) would have ever pulled young Diana out of lessons so that they could have a chat about waxing her armpits – let alone advised her on bleaching them to ensure that not even a speckle of stubble remains.
Women only really began shaving their armpits with the introduction of short-sleeved dresses around 1915, when the new Wonder Woman movie is set.
As the women of Themyscira are entirely cut off from the rest of the world, it’s safe to assume that they would not have been aware of the globe’s newfound fascination with the bare underarm. And, yes, we’re well aware of the fact that Diana is set to leave the island and travel to England for the first time: it changes nothing. The primary goal of her mission is to put an end to World War I, not shave her pits.
Feminist comic book fans on social media were quick to notice Wonder Woman’s groomed underarms.
“Just speaking aesthetically,” tweeted one person, “the new Wonder Woman trailer had me wishing she had armpit hair.”
Another agreed, pointing out: “She was raised on an island of women [with] no Schick advertisements.”
“Wonder Woman should have leg hair and armpit hair,” tweeted another dissatisfied viewer. “If she came from a place with no male standards of beauty she wouldn’t [give a f**k] about body hair.
“She’d probably consider her body hair [to be] beautiful and natural, and be shocked that women of Earth remove it because men/society says so.”
Wonder Woman should have leg hair + armpit hair. If she came from a place with no male standards of beauty she wouldn't gaf about body hair— Joshua Bruckner (@SirJoshington) August 13, 2016
Another person wrote: “I just don’t buy the idea that Wonder Woman would shave her armpits, let alone bleach them, as appears to be the case in the trailer.”
How any woman chooses to groom (or not groom) her body hair is a personal choice that should never be dependent on societal pressures. Diana has every right to shave her armpits if that’s what she wishes to do, because it’s her body and her choice – but there’s no denying that it would have been an incredible statement if the feminist icon had stepped into battle with a little hair under her arms.
Seeing more women shunning razors, after all, is one way to normalise the fact that adults of both genders produce armpit hair – and that we have a choice in whether or not to remove it.
Wonder Woman is set for release on 2 June.