There was an excellent competition over at Project Rooftop
to design a new costume for Wonder Woman. There is some amazing creativity there, and it's worth a look if you haven't seen it. But that's not exactly what I want to talk about.
One of the entries included an image of Wonder Woman with one breast removed, and one of the judges, Joel Priddy opined
"You know, with the dozens of Wonder Woman avatars running around out there (Power Princess, War Woman, Winger Victory, etc.), I can’t recall anyone making use of the Amazonian mastectomy before. Go figure."
I commented that perhaps it hasn't been used because it had been disproved
a long time ago.
I happened to check back today and found that I had received a couple of responses that surprised me, and rather than sidetrack that thread on a detail, I'm going to address them here.
Dean Trippe said:
you’ll note we refered to the mastectomy AS a myth.
However, I’d say the exclusion of the breast-removal in popular representations has more to do with squeamishness and male boob-fixation than lack of research.
That's an interesting opinion, and there may even be some truth in it.
The Amazons in Y The Last Man
have it, but they could be seen as a cult, using this as part of the indoctrination. The Amazons in Xena
don't do it, but quite apart from considerations such as the cheesecake aspect or whether self-mutilation of this kind would be permitted on prime time TV, there's the problem of actually creating the effect with real actors. I'm not sure there are enough actresses with mastectomies to fill the ranks, but I suppose it might be achieved by hiring a lot of flat-chested women and giving them one large prosthetic boob, either way I don't see the idea getting that far.
Off the top of my head I can't think of any other popular representations of Amazons, apart from Wonder Woman herself, and she's been dual-breasted since 1941, so it seems a bit late to change that now. I suppose they could dig up another lost tribe of Amazons who did it, but why would they, unless they wanted to show how stupid the group were, since it is of no practical value?
The Amazons were mythical warriors, Marionette, and if you’ll recheck the review,
Whether it was a part of the original myth or added later, the whole point of mythology is what it says about the creators (or those who adapt the creations) and the reactions of those witnessing them. Marionette’s strong reaction to it should make Jess proud. Getting such strong reactions from art (either positive or negative) is quite an accomplishment.
Whoever originally added the mastectomy idea to Amazonian myth obviously had a similar spirit to the creator of this website.
Yes, Sonny. The Amazons were mythical warriors. And the people who first wrote about them, created art about them, built statues and frescos depicting them all showed them with an even number of breasts. Quite clearly, in some cases. The fact that the word used to describe them was mistranslated to suggest that they were single-breasted does not make it an enhancement or variation on the myth, it makes it an inaccurate understanding of the source material.
If I choose to describe unicorns as having three legs, does that make it a valid adaptation of the myth of the unicorn? No. Does it enhance the myth in any way to add a lot of baggage suggesting that women mutilated themselves in order to give themselves a bit more bow-room, when all you have to do is go google women's archery to see that modern women manage quite adequately without this disfigurement? No.
And while you're right, it is an achievement to get an emotional response to a piece of art, A) I wasn't responding to the art, I was responding to Joel's comment, and B) I don't think that gaining the emotional response of annoyance at seeing an old inaccuracy perpetuated is an achievement of which to be especially proud.