Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, get thee to a theater and enjoy some of the best ripped-women-kicking ass you’ve seen in ages. The amount of time I’ve spent re-imagining that island battle scene as a full two-hour flick… sigh. More warrior princess Robin Wright scenes please. But I digress…
I’m not here today to talk of Diana, Amazonian demigod of our dreams, but rather, plus size winner of our hearts, Etta Candy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Wonder Woman universe, Etta was introduced one issue after Wonder Woman’s debut in 1942. She spouted amazing catchphrases like “Woo! woo!” and “For the love of chocolate,” and unapologetically loved candy… and herself. Wait, what? Yep, she was bad-ass AND she knew it. She kicked so much ass alongside Wonder Woman and without any of the innate superpowers.
She went through a few iterations in the comics: changing races, changing sizes often, and even changing her own view of her plus size body, sadly. But for the most part, her true character was someone who was big, bold, adorable, and loved her damn self thankyouverymuch. Here’s why Etta Candy is the hero we need AND deserve…
She has self-love
As we love her, she loves herself. She is confident, knows that she is attractive, and isn’t afraid to express her interest in whomever she found cute, Steve Trevor included.
In one plot line, she swapped bodies with Wonder Woman, only to decide that she preferred her own. She was made an honorary Amazon by the women of Themyscira, as herself, natch. She even celebrated a birthday with an all-candy 16-course meal. Fuck yes she did! Own it, girl.
Etta holds her own in Man’s World
Etta lives in 1940s London (at least in the Golden Age era), so she’s at a disadvantage by just being a woman. In the comics, she’s quick to make herself known on the front lines, which I’m hoping will happen in later films. But in the meantime, she worked the back channels to get shit done and clearly holds a lot of power as Steve’s assistant (and eventual wife in the comics).
When it came to men in general, she took no guff. She didn’t give in to pressure to eat less, told them off when necessary, and even punched out her fiance who turned out to be a Nazi in disguise.
She fought Nazis
Many of Etta’s best story lines took place in the 1940s, which makes it even more amazing that she was able to pull off such killer feminist plotlines and character traits. But it also means that World War II was taking place. In Wonder Woman #3 (1943), Etta literally saves all the children and Wonder Woman from a concentration camp. She distracted Japanese spies, allowed herself to be captured to let Wonder Woman beat up the baddies, and once deflected a bullet with a box of candy alone. Who needs magical gauntlets when your signature sweet is around?
Etta isn’t intimidated by Wonder Woman
AND she often fought without her. In the new movie, Lucy Davis’ Etta makes a slight reference to Diana being the most beautiful woman in the room, but ultimately doesn’t seem at all threatened by her tall and brawny gorgeousness. This is right in line with classic Etta: she isn’t intimidated by Diana or by anyone else for that matter. She fights alongside her and also alone often, because that’s just how she rolls.
She stopped burglaries in London, rescued Diana A LOT, led armies of other women into battle against the Nazis, sometimes armed only with a box of candy. Tell me that’s not the superpower you want.
Etta is just an overall sparkplug
Starting in 1949 (during the Silver and Bronze age of comics), Etta’s character took a turn with a new writer that made her more insecure with her body and thus less empowering. I’ll always embrace her best version, though: the agitating, independent, takes-no-shit and no body shaming, Nazi punching Etta Candy.
Although we don’t have tons of proof yet, it seems as if the 2017 version of Wonder Woman will bring back a version of the spunkier, self-loving version of Etta we all crave. If director Patty Jenkins remains on board to lead the effort, I think we’ll be in good hands.