CBS via Getty Images
by Chris Harnick | Fri., Oct. 21, 2016 11:45 AM
CBS via Getty Images
There's a new president in town and she's a woman. A Wonder Woman.
Lynda Carter, who is best known to millions of fans as Wonder Woman thanks to the 1975-1979 TV series, is re-entering the DC Comics universe as President Olivia Marsdin on The CW's Supergirl. But the character of Wonder Woman is never far behind her, especially as the world celebrates the 75th anniversary of her comic book debut.
"It's strange, isn't it? There have been so many television shows with fantastic characters and this one character—I read as a kid. And then in 1975 I was cast—that's more than 40 years ago," Carter said about the character's enduring legacy. "That's a long time. And I'm still tied to it. People that have never seen the show know that I played the character. It's in casinos now on slot machines, it's a digital comic book, it's in reruns…"
When Carter put on the star-spangled costume in 1975, the feminist movement was in full swing. Carter said it took a while for women to embrace the fact that this character was more than a costume, but eventually it happened. "She was a non-predatory female. This was not about luring men, this was about sisterhood, about intellect and attitude, and fair play and inclusion and not might makes right," she said.
"She wasn't trying to show off, this is just who she was," Carter continued. "If you're gay, fine, what does it matter to you? What does it matter? And now there's a whole big thing, ‘Is Wonder Woman gay in the new [Wonder Woman comic book]?' Who cares! It doesn't change anything as to who she is or what she represents. She's not representing the gay community any more than she represents anything else. She represents a woman, yeah? OK! Get over it."
Wonder Woman has followed Carter for decades, but embracing the legacy and everything that came along with it was never a problem.
"No, I loved it. People have always asked me that question trying to get a rise out of me. One person said a long, long time ago, and they totally misquoted me about, ‘Oh, I totally hate being a sex symbol.' That was bulls--t. I never said that. He just made it up and it kind of followed me, I thought it was ridiculous," she said. "It is what it is. [When] I shot those things, I wasn't thinking it was sexy. I never thought of Wonder Woman as a sex symbol. If some adult man says, ‘Oh when I was a teenager…' I go, ‘Stop!' I don't want to hear it…It's not who she is to me. I get it, but I don't want to hear it.
"I love the character. I love her. I think she stands for so much…I've heard so many great stories," Carter continued. "She became so much more than this show or the comic book or the movie, she became a symbol for the beauty and the strength and the loving kindness and the wisdom of women…and gay men."
Wonder Woman, the character, was recently named an honorary United Nations Ambassador for gender equality. The world needs Wonder Woman now more than ever.
"[R]ight now the denigration of women—people are talking about it all over the world," she said. As an ambassador, the character is helping raise awareness about the state of women around the world, from slavery and torture to education. And then there's what's happening in the United States of America, Carter said, namely with Donald Trump, his presidential campaign and the women accusing him of sexual assault.
"You need a role model like Wonder Woman," Carter, who is a Hillary Clinton supporter, said. "And I just have to say; I don't think he would take her on. What would Wonder Woman do to a man like Mr. Trump?"
Safe to say Carter's Supergirl president isn't anything like the Republican candidate for office.
"It was really neat when I was on set with [Supergirl star] Melissa Benoist. Well, there are some surprises that I can't give away, but we had a lot of fun on the set because she does a couple of things that are Wonder Woman-ish and we laughed. I think she is a talented and amazing girl. I said, ‘You know, I may be the only person ever that gets what you're going through. I get everything. I get it all," she said, noting she urged Benoist to fight to have her character evolve, especially in her secret identity.
From her Supergirl role and beyond, Wonder Woman's impact is something still very present in Carter's life today.
"[Wonder Woman's] changed me in that it is a constant cause of a reflection, the impact. I don't take it personally, I really don't. If I did, I think I would be kind of a sad person. My family keeps my feet on the ground, trust me. They do. ‘Mom, you're not really Wonder Woman, I mean we think you are…'"
Supergirl airs Mondays, 8 p.m. on The CW.
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