We get it. When you love an iconic character, it's easy to become fiercely loyal to a specific incarnation of said character — usually the one to which you first introduced or the most popular and recognizable version. But as fan fiction and fan art have revealed, people reimagine characters lots of different ways, none of which are inherently wrong or bad. It's just a way to exercise creativity and express love for the subject.
When artist Robin Eisenberg was recently asked to create a piece inspired by Wonder Woman, she brought her unique artistic style to the interpretation she did. "I love drawing aliens with realistic body types, living their lives, comfortable with themselves," she wrote in a post about the piece on both Instagram and Twitter. "So, I drew an alien character with a realistic body, wearing a more everyday version of the Wonder Woman outfit." DC, the entertainment company behind Wonder Woman, decided to use the illustration for a variant cover and tweeted it out to DC Nation Twitter account — which is when Eisenberg learned that some fans' devotion is less like loyalty and more like narrowminded fat-shaming.
"I didn't realize that featuring a Wonder Woman-inspired character with a realistic body type would be controversial. Apparently it is! 😂💕," Eisenberg wrote, adding that once the variant cover was tweeted, "it was immediately met with hundreds of comments hating on her body (as well as on the non-traditional art style... and on me personally 😎)."
A look through the replies to DC Nation's tweet reveals some horrifyingly rude comments about not only Eisenberg's signature artistic style, but about her interpretation of Wonder Woman's body. "Being fat is unhealthy and shouldn't be encouraged, it's not a complex thing," wrote one person who does not appear to be an actual health expert. "Stop making superheroes fat," another anti-fat-superheroes activist wrote. And those are some of the tamer ones; many used especially cruel words to make it clear that they are unwilling to accept an imagining of Wonder Woman with a bigger body.
Thankfully, a number of fans were ready and willing to call out the absolute bullshit that is being offended by the concept of Wonder Woman that differs from the traditionally leaner versions of the characters.
"Watching all the people here complain about a character who has realistic proportions is very telling. All the cries of 'fat!' and 'whale!' make it clear that misogynistic attitudes remain rife," one person tweeted. Another said, "I think that Wonder Woman is a concept that is beyond body shape or skin color (or even, dare I say, gender). I applaud DC's initiative and it saddens me to read such backlash, which is against what Wonder Woman is about."
Ultimately Eisenberg tells Allure, she's happy to see the positive responses from people who've said the piece makes them feel good. "I think one of the reasons I was asked to do this is that I'm not a traditional comic book artist, so I would present something from a different perspective," she wrote on social media, "The fact that this was so controversial just makes me want to continue to draw diverse body types and create more art that people can hopefully see themselves in. Strength and beauty can come in lots of awesome forms! I don't think one form negates the others?"
More on body positivity:
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Originally Appeared on Allure