Friday, January 11, 2008

Lynda Carter She Ain't! The Reaction Starts.

Jeez, take a day off and look what happens. Tiffany Fallon pops up on the cover of the latest issue of Playboy and causes a furor. Good Lord. That will teach me to go work out instead of camping out in front of my computer!!

As a rabid Wonder Woman fan of over thirty years, I decided to throw my opinion into the already full pool. Fallon is a beautiful girl with a nice body. She was Playmate of the Year and is trying her hand at bettering the world while recently appearing on Celebrity Apprentice. That is nice and all, but then I read the quote from Playboy that says:

"You know the painted lady on our cover as Playmate of the Year 2005 Tiffany Fallon, but to usher you into the cover story, Sex in America, we recast her as that champion of truth, justice and American Sensuality, Wonder Woman. Tiffany, a modern-day Lynda Carter, has been honing her TV skills. She appeared on TV’s The Simple Life with Paris Hilton, became an weekly co-host for the International Fight League’s Battle Ground and accompanied her country music star husband, Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts (Still feels Good is in stores now), to numerous awards shows. What’s next? “I’ve been filming The Celebrity Apprentice,” says Tiffany. “At first I was intimidated because I was one of the youngest contestants. But I brought a fresh outlook to the tasks. I can’t tell you much more, you’ll have to watch.” If this wonderful woman is involved, we’ll have our eyes glued."

Wow. When does this lady sleep? Heh. I have no personal beef with Fallon, because it sounds like she is a hard workin' gal who has made her lot in life and seems to be doing well in it. What I think is wrong with the above paragraph is the comparison to Lynda Carter and Wonder Woman in general. I have tried in vain to think of someone who has the special spark that Carter brought to the Wonder Woman character and quite frankly, I can't think of a single person who would have the same impact.

What this boils down to is that Wonder Woman has always been considered a fantasy woman. Considering she was created by a guy with a pretty liberal sensibility for his time, it is no wonder that she continues to fascinate so many men and women. Because of the fetish nature of her origins, and Hugh Hefner's interest in old school cartoons and art, it doesn't surprise me to see her pop up here. In fact, I would be surprised if one or more of Hef's girlfriends through the ages hadn't dressed up as the Amazing Amazon to fulfill a few kinks.

I think I would be a great deal more stirred up about this if if wasn't an adult men's magazine. The fact that the character appeals to this particular audience isn't surprising either. Am I giddy with excitement? No, but that isn't a shock considering I am not the target demographic. What bothered me more then the ass shot was the comparison of the woman on the cover to Carter. Petty, but true. Oh yeah, and those boots! Hera help us!

I am interested to see the pictorial inside. It sounds like there may be a theme of sorts there, which makes me wonder if any other heroes are being portrayed in print. Have any of you seen that part of it?

Where will this lead? God only knows, but I am pretty sure that this is just the beginning of the internet reactions. I will be back tomorrow to check on the state of the blogosphere and am interested to see what you have to say.

Quick side note: Playboy is run by a woman. Christie Hefner, Hugh's daughter is an incredibly intelligent and classy female who pretty much saved the magazine and it's properties from ruin when she took over. I have always felt that the magazine is Hugh's vision with Christie's business acumen. It is an irony I have always strongly felt. What about you?


Swinebread said...

I just don't have the energy to be upset by this. An attractive woman is made up to look like Wonder Woman. Sure it's soft porn and the quote is totally awful/off-base but the pictures seem tasteful for an ADULT audience. There are so many other issues in comics themselves, that this a blip terms of gender problems with super-heroes.

It's not like WW is in a sex scene with Peter North or something. (Now THAT Would be sick)

Heidi Meeley said...

Swinebread, I respect that. I really do. My surprise was more that the magazine would compare PMOY Fallon to Lynda Carter and to Wonder Woman. It really caught me off guard.

Now that I have read the accompanying article, my take on it is a bit different.

Peter North!! Whoa.

Lisa said...

I see it as just more evidence that comic books and the iconic characters that are such a part of it are being accepted and adopted into the American culture. I know there are some who will be all outraged by this, but it does not sound like they set out to make Wonder Woman the focus of the article, or to womanize women any more than Playboy does already. If anything comic book fandom should be proud that stuff we like is finally being accepted by the general public. Heck, they could have painted her to look like the statue of liberty or just painted a flag on her. But instead they chose a comic book character. And Playboy isn't some weird fetish porn mag that always shows women dressing up as fictional characters. We've made it into the mainstream. We might not like the color of the airplane, but we've taken off.

As far as the comparison between Fallon and Wonder Woman, saying they "recast" her is what keeps me from finding it insulting. They're not saying she's as good as either of them, but that they had her dress up and act as if she were. That's the roll they cast her for in this issue--the roll she's playing--not what she actually IS. But the next sentence where they say that she's a modern day Linda Carter - I'm lost there because the sentences that follow that one don't really give me any indication of how the two compare. If they want to compare the two, then they should show similarities, right? They failed to do that. I just think it's bad writing!

Now if there was a comic book cover where the Wonder Woman outfit was visibly painted on, then sure, I'd be a bit irritated. Putting this on the cover of an adult magazine is one thing, but putting it on the cover of something that is not designed to be for adults only is a problem. I don't have to explain the cover of a Playboy to a mom who comes into the store - but I might have to explain it when it's on the cover of a comic book usually accessible to teens and up.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, you make so many great points that I don't know where to start. I do have to immediately agree that it is thankful that this is an adult magazine. Therefore, it will not be easily accessable to kids. It isn't something you have to worry about hiding in your shop, which is good. I was really torn, because it made me keep making comparison to my "gratuitous" posts and the cover. I think it is true that at least this cover is dictating to a mature audience.

After reading the inside of Playboy and seeing where this all went, I just couldn't find any reason to pull my hair out. My quibble about Fallon was the biggest confusion to work through. She is gorgeous to be sure, but I just don't see the parallels.

It would be interesting to see Playgirl do the same with a body painted Superman. LOL!

I appreciated your point about Wonder Woman and heroes in general being accepted more readily by the general population. That is a wonderful way to think about it.

Excellent points, Lisa. I appreciate it!

lainieyeoh said...

nothing about playboy really surprises me, except for the info from your quick sidenote. that, i had no idea about.

James Schee said...

Only thing I wonder is whether Playboy got approval to use WW on its cover or not. If not it seems like a lawsuit from Time Warner waiting to happen.