The online world can be a strange beast. Entire online movements have the power to change something for good or bring it down altogether, and sometimes, it can be a super annoying platform that makes you sigh heavy and roll your eyes into oblivion. The Hero Within Wonder Woman jacket is a good example of the last one.
Several major brands are hustling to create merchandise for the new Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot because it is kind of a big deal. This is the first live action, big budget movie for her. Hell, Black Widow over at Marvel hasn’t even received her own big budget production yet. Or Storm, for that matter… hint-hint-hint, Marvel.
We have already seen an influx of new DC related fashion, too. HerUniverse just released an activewear line with Wonder Woman pieces. Hot Topic announced a Wonder Woman collection as well. More major brands are going to follow.
But one company in particular, Hero Within, created a men’s jacket featuring the iconic WW. See below.
Would you believe this jacket and the model wearing it created major controversy for Hero Within? Yep, it did. Some people thought it was wrong to have a jacket marketed toward men, and a male modeling wearing it, for a fictional female character. Let’s lay on some wisdom.
Wonder Woman is for everyone
To say a fictional character is exclusive to a certain group of people is insane and wrong. While it would be easy enough to end the post on that, here is a bit more for you to chew on.
Let’s take this same argument and apply it to fashion created for women featuring Batman. Like this!
I wore this muscle tee prominently featuring Batman while I was in New York City recently. I thought it would be fun to wear a Batman related outfit in Gotham. Despite my derpy look in the pic (thanks, husband-photographer!), I was all about this outfit.
But Batman is a male character and I’m a woman reppin’ the Dark Knight with a muscle tee made for a woman’s body. By the same logic of the people mad at Hero Within, this is wrong. It’s wrong not to have a man wearing this top. Because Batman is a man. Sounds loony, right?
Without even involving a politically charged element such as sexism or feminism, this argument still doesn’t stand. Good design, whether it happens to be in fashion or not, needs to be respected. This collection is the end result of hard work. It is the end result of people publically releasing their hard work to the world and, on top of that, turning it into a livelihood. Don’t like the design? No need to call it “gay” or directly attack it. Move on with your life.
Geek fashion is clearly experiencing growing pains as it becomes more and more acceptable alongside mainstream styles. While a growth spurt is great news for us in the community because it allows us to explore and support more options from independent labels, it also means there is going to be some friction and nay-sayers.
Hero Within responded to the criticism very well. I absolutely love this excerpt from their post about it:
What I love about Fashion is that it is so much more than a way to support your fandom. It’s a blank canvas to express art. And art is meant to provoke, inspire or offend. Art is meant to push social and cultural norms to force us to ask questions like ‘why?’. Fashion can liberate a people group, celebrate rights for the marginalized and raise awareness for the under resourced.
Fashion doesn’t need a gender
The great thing about self-expression is the very word itself: self-expression. You have control over what and how you are perceived in this world, and instead of twisting that into something limiting or negative, I like to think it means you should do whatever feels comfortable and natural, especially when it comes to your own style. Because fashion doesn’t need a gender.
While, yes, we do have menswear and women’s clothing, this shouldn’t be a barrier of entry trying out different styles for yourself. You bet I would wear that Hero Within Wonder Woman jacket in a heartbeat, just like I wouldn’t tell a man who wants to wear a Batman dress that he can’t. Inclusivity is what we need in not only the geek style community but in fashion overall.
To end on a positive note, let’s just take in the craftsmanship and glory of this jacket. Hero Within is also officially licensed by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Let that sink in. Mad props.