Jacki Zehner On Women, Money, and Changing the World  » Ms. Magazine and Wonder Woman 40 Years Later

June 13, 2012

Ms. Magazine and Wonder Woman 40 Years Later

In July of 1972, Ms. Magazine published its first regular issue from New York City. While many predicted that the magazine would shutter within the year, Ms. Magazine is still published to this day, and in honour of its 40 year anniversary, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Gale A. Brewer will be issuing a Proclamation to Ms. Magazine’s founders and staff at City Hall today in New York City. Co-founded by Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Ms. Magazine was the first national feminist publication, and more importantly, it was written, controlled, and run by women, a first in the male dominated world of news media. Used to discuss and shed light on issues critical to women’s lives, such as domestic violence, abortion, and date rape, as well as to advocate for women’s causes and hold presidential candidates accountable on women’s rights, Ms. Magazine has spent the past 40 years furthering the feminist cause both nationally and around the world.

Published since 2001 by the Feminist Majority Foundation, which is led by prominent women’s rights activist Eleanor Smeal, Ms. Magazine continues to deliver comprehensive coverage of the issues most important to women and girls. Today in New York City, Ms. Magazine’s founders, staff past and present, and supporters will gather to celebrate this milestone and recognize the extraordinary achievements of the past 40 years. Hopefully, this celebration will also galvanize those involved with Ms. Magazine to continue their work, as for all that has been achieved, there is still plenty of work to be done.

On its first cover in 1972, Wonder Woman was front and centre with Ms. Magazine proudly proclaiming “Wonder Woman for President”. With Wonder Woman’s ideals of peace, truth, equality, and justice, it is hard to argue with this notion. In the years following Ms. Magazine’s debut, Wonder Woman became one of pop culture’s most iconic figures, enjoying a surge of popularity thanks to the primetime television show Wonder Woman, starring Lynda Carter, and the Saturday morning animated series Super Friends that ran for over a decade. However, since the mid-80s Wonder Woman has faded from the mainstream media, despite the continuous publication of her comic book series.

In contrast, Wonder Woman’s male counterparts have not faded, and today superheroes own the box office, with several films released each year, each with staggeringly high budgets and extensive marketing campaigns. This summer alone The Avengers has climbed to the third highest box office gross of all time, and The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most hotly anticipated movies in recent memory. Throughout all this, Wonder Woman remains without a film of her own, despite it being listed as in production since 2001, and an attempt to bring Wonder Woman back to television failed last year. At a time when superheroes have never been more popular or profitable, it is a disgrace that the most famous female heroine of the past 70 years can not find her way to the big screen.

It is no coincidence that Ms. Magazine decided to put Wonder Woman on their cover 40 years ago. Wonder Woman stands for love, peace, and equality, ideals that should not only define feminism, but humanity as a whole. One can only hope that with advocates like Ms. Magazine, Wonder Woman will someday soon be given the chance to bring her message to a global audience. After all, if the big screen is ready for a THIRD incarnation of Superman, it is more than ready for Wonder Woman.

Guest Post by Laura Moore; Jacki is in New York this week for Women Moving Millions and some family time.

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