It’s week eight of our interview series leading up to the publication of Wonder Woman Unbound, where we talk to cool and interesting people about their favourite versions of Wonder Woman and how she relates to their particular fields and interests. This week we’ve got Molly McIsaac!
Molly is a comedian, cosplayer, actress, model, writer, and was recently a star of Syfy’s reality series Fangasm. She’s written for iFanboy, Ain’t It Cool News, Official Cosplay Magazine, and much, much more, including her own site, The Geeky Peacock. She’s also a part of THREE Youtube channels: Hey! Listen!, Snake Charmers, and The Geeky Peacock’s own channel. In short, she’s very busy. And she describes herself as “an active princess against patriarchy,” so she’s my kind of people.
I talked with Molly about Wonder Woman, cosplay, feminism, and the various intersections therein:
Tim Hanley: What was your very first encounter with Wonder Woman?
Molly McIsaac: Honestly, I can’t hone in on this memory. Wonder Woman just seems like an entity that was always there – she was so ingrained in pop culture that she just seemed to ALWAYS exist. I remember doodling pictures as a young girl of me grown up and donning her outfit – perhaps these were my earliest cosplay dreams!
TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?
MM: When people ask me what Wonder Woman they need to read to get into her, I generally direct them to Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but that’s probably it – the Alex Ross art so perfectly encapsulates her as the larger than life woman she is.
TH: Having cosplayed as Wonder Woman, what do you think is most essential about capturing the character?
MM: It actually takes me a lot of preparation before I cosplay Wonder Woman. First, I go to the gym and do weight training (I’m still working on perfectly defined muscles that would do her proud), make sure the costume perfectly represents many things about her – is it practical to be a badass Amazonian in? And finally the ATTITUDE of cosplaying her is definitely the most important – the entire time I’m in my Wonder Woman costumes I’m thinking “Strength, poise, power”.
Molly McIsaac in her steampunk Wonder Woman cosplay.
TH: When you’re in costume as Wonder Woman, how does it feel? Do you take on a different persona?
MM: Yes, absolutely. Cosplay helped me find a lot of self confidence in general, but when I lace up my Wonder Woman corset I transform. I am untouchable and stronger than I have ever been. All insecurities fall to the wayside and I BECOME her. It definitely makes me feel amazing when little kids run up to me and scream “WONDER WOMAN!!!”, because I know I’m doing a good job.
TH: As a vocal geek feminist, both in your writing and on Fangasm, what does Wonder Woman mean to you?
MM: So much. We all know that Wonder Woman was created by a man who had a dominatrix fetish – she wielded her lasso like a whip and whenever she was captured she was chained spread-eagled in basements. It makes sense to me that feminists in the early days of Wonder Woman weren’t too thrilled about her being a female role model. However, I am of the modern day feminist model that believes that in your face sexuality is something that we need to own and embrace – and Wonder Woman is oozing with it, whether she means to or not. She completely owns everything – her body, her thoughts, her abilities, her costume. And if you really think about it, the mere fact of her existence breaks gender roles – bad guys have to admit they were beat up by a GIRL. A hot, STRONG girl who made them feel weak for the first time in their life. That’s awesome.
TH: Finally, if Wonder Woman were to leave Paradise Island and come to our world for the first time today, what do you think she’d find most surprising about it?
MM: I actually wrote a rant about this a long time ago on my old Facebook and I wish I could find it but that account has long since been deleted due to Internet trolls. The gist of it was this… I believe if Wonder Woman came to our world today she would be shocked and sad by the way women are treated. If she looked around and saw rape culture so prevalent, women still not making equal pay, the abuse women suffer at the hands of people every day JUST FOR BEING WOMEN she would be shocked and appalled. Can you imagine her walking into a convention where women are emulating her costume and seeing men groping them with no thoughts of consequence or self awareness? I think her brain would explode, honestly, and she’d probably bust some heads.
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The interview series continues next week with Chris Sims! Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.