vehrec asked: I think it's been said that Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are american in different ways, with Supes being a second-gen immigrant, WW having come of her own will as an adult, and Batman being about as WASP as you can get. Do you think the various levels of immigration help them to achieve some of their identity? Seeing Diana react to Ice Cream made me think of this-Yes, she sees the problems in our world-but she also sees what makes it great and enjoyable, because she's an outsider.
Yeah, I definitely do think that shapes some of their identities. Batman comes from a place where he has no idea what it’s like to be an outsider, where he’s always been accepted and privileged. He’s used to the idea of control and suspicious of people he can’t control- his animosity towards superpowerful people and other “outsiders” and the millions of backup plans he has because they’re “dangerous”- he’s terrified of Superman etc. because he can’t control him, and he’s used to being in such a position of privilege and power socially that well, he’s a control freak and he always thinks he’s right and pushes his views on others.
Superman meanwhile- he’s very much American, but comes from a working class background and also has the knowledge he is a bit of an outsider and might be regarded with suspicion when people find out his ancestry. Early versions of Superman had him taking down war profiteers and stuff, he was a bit of a social rebel, but DC’s toned that down. Superman isn’t really interested in control- he wants people to accept him and feel comfortable and safe. He’s not actively trying to change the world, he wants to save it.
Which reminds me be of a conversation Wonder Woman has with Lois that kind of touches on the issue in one comic. Superman is afforded a lot of privelige because he’s a dude and just looks like another white guy- he’s not visibly alien, and nobody knows he’s not from this planet as Clark. He was raised here, he can blend in. So he is also very privileged, about as privileged as he could be in this situation. That’s why he rarely sees the need for change.
Out of all of them, Wonder Woman is the one who’s actively interested in social problems, gets socially involved and tries to change the system. She is an outsider to this culture, period, and she’s treated as one. However, she’s made friends and found people she loves here, so it’s like her second home. Wonder Woman can see the problems pretty starkly because she comes from a culture where she was NOT treated as a second-class citizen on the basis of her gender to one where she is. She knows what it’s like to be treated as a whole person, and she wants every woman and oppressed group to know that feeling. It’s very much like someone coming from a country where they are considered the norm or possibly even considered privileged, only to be treated far differently in another country and find themselves afforded far less priveliges. They are by nature, a bit more aware of the prejudices because they can see the contrast.
So of course, Wonder Woman is the one who’s interested in social change. She doesn’t want to save the world, she wants to change it, because she sees that this system is wrong. At the same time, she can also gets to experience things she never got to experience before by moving to this new culture- stuff like ice cream. And because she is looking at these things with fresh eyes, she finds such joy in them, more joy than someone who grew up taking these things for granted would.
So yeah, it is really fascinating when you look at the three of them, and really, these are ways I I find both Superman and Wonder Woman (especially Wonder Woman) more interesting than Batman, and these are specifically things that make their characters interesting.