Why doesn't Wonder Woman wear pants

Wonder Woman in Pants! Artist re-imagines iconic superheroines fully dressed

A few days ago my 4 year old son asked a tricky parenting question: “Why doesn't Wonder Woman wear pants? The other superheroes do that. "

He's right. All of the great male superheroes - Batman, Spidey, Captain America - battle super villains fully dressed, albeit in tight-fitting costumes. But her most prominent partner is running around in a push-up corset and high-heeled boots.

It's 2013, after all. Perhaps it's time Wonder Woman and her fellow campaigners got outfits that are less Victoria Secret fashion shows and better suited to save the world.

Just that, 26-year-old Michigan artist Michael Lunsford did just that in a series of drawings that reimagine what everyone's favorite superhero would look like.

Lunsford, the creator of the comic book Supernormal Step, changed Supergirl's little skirt and cut-off shirt to Comfier leggings and a longer tunic. Powergirl gets sporty rolled jeans. And Wonder Woman loses the famous bustier with a cleavage for a long-sleeved jersey and trousers and swaps her heels for a few practical flats.

Lunsford insists that he does not want to make a moral statement or advance an agenda about humility or gender equality. The costume redesigns aren't about telling people what superhero characters should look like, explains Lunsford. "It just showed that superheroes can look like this, but they certainly don't always have it."

He admits that many comic book superheroes end up with "the painted, glorified swimsuit look." As a lifelong fan of comics, Lunsford wanted to take this notion "to the other extreme" and show that these iconic characters still "look cool" even when they are not wearing traditional lingerie outfits.

Growing up, Samiya Mir, a New York lawyer and mother of two boys, ages 4 and 1, always thought Wonder Woman was "very beautiful." Like many of her generation, she knows Lynda Carter's portrayal of the icon in the 70's best TV series.) But now, as a parent, she believes that traditional female superhero costumes are overly sexual - and unrealistic. "It doesn't seem physically practical for [these women] to go around and get the bad guys while wearing a bikini top," she says. Tells me it's time for female superhero costumes to change over time.

Like me, Anna Fishbeyn, a playwright and producer and mother of a 9-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy, recalls that Wonder Woman embodies a feminine ideal. “I loved Lynda Carter,” she explains. "And I said to myself, when I grow up, I would like to have thin legs, voluptuous breasts ... and I would like to have superpowers."

Even so, she'd love to see new costumes on Wonder Woman and Supergirl. We should “level the playing field,” argues Fishbeyn, so a strong role model like the Amazon warrior princess doesn't need to ask, “Can I see my underwear?” When she's kidding a villain.

Some mothers disagree. They say the playing field is level where comics generally feature hypersexualized versions of men and women.

Pants or no pants, Wonder Woman is portrayed as Superman and the rest of the male superheroes, says Saira Rao, mother of 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son and president of In This Together Media, the books for “real girls” with characters published who are "brave, funny and fearless".

Wonder Woman “doesn't wear much,” confirms Rao. "But at least she's strong, smart, and kicks in the butt."

And some mothers don't find the costume impractical either. Laura Rossi Totten, a Rhode Island mother, twin girl, PR expert and blogger, describes herself as a feminist and fashionista. “Wonder Women's exotic but highly functional costume rocks,” she argues. “She's sexy, but not too trippy, and her accessories are killers. Tiara as a weapon? Genius."

Indeed, the ultimate referee of feminism, Gloria Steinhem, put Wonder Woman (bustier and all) on the first cover of Ms. magazine in January 1972 with the bold phrase, "Wonder Woman For President?"

In our house, we tell my son not to worry: Wonder Woman has special powers that keep her legs warm - or like her plane, she has invisible pants.