I longed to be the transformed Diana Prince, brandishing the lasso of truth and looking stunning from every angle. There weren't many strong female role-models at the time...not that there are many now - although I must confess, I do have a Buffy moment every now and again.
Of course it wasn't just prepubescent girls who enjoyed Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter was an incredibly beautiful woman and appeared in the US on the cover of many magazines. For men, she sent their pulses racing in her tight, fitted attire and for women, set a standard for sexual attractiveness. That's the wonder of family viewing, you know.
For some young boys, however, Wonder Woman led them into puberty longing for an Amazonian goddess of love. Sthenolagnia, a phrase coined by German sexologist Magnus Hirschfield in the 19th century refers to sexual arousal from muscles or demonstration of strength.
However, the fetish with superheroines appears to draw on much more than attraction from strength. Sites such as Superheroines Demise, Super Woman, and Fem Power hint at many fetishes and sexual interests including BDSM and FMG. Female muscle growth (FMG) is a fantasy genre involving attraction to the muscular growth of a woman - as seen in bodybuilders or other muscular woman. It's related to growth fantasies and breast expansion fetish.
Perhaps the roots of the superheroine fetish aren't to be found in the costume - or even the golden lasso. Changes in the roles of men and women within society weigh heavily in the foundations of this fetish. It appears to have it's foundations in the equalisation or reversal of the power relationship between men and women.
For some, however, such as author Neal Pollack, the fixation on women of Amazonian proportions, like Wonder Woman, is not so much about the physical domination of the character as much as it's about the thrill of transformation. Neal's fetish for the Lynda Carter character began after a visit to a friend's home at the age of six. In an essay entitled Wonderlust, the Texan writes: "We walked in just as Diana Prince, Wonder Woman's dowdy alter ego, whipped off her hat and glasses, glanced around nervously and spun. Her hair bun loosened just slightly on the first twirl, leaving a little wisp above her brow. On the second go-round, it bloomed a little more. With the third rotation, a wavy, silken corona surrounded her head. I stood there, agape, as a ball of light bloomed in Diana's chest and gradually enveloped her. She emerged from the haze as Wonder Woman. At that moment, something inside of me awoke — something dark, raw and primal. "
In early adulthood, despite attempts to repress his desire for superheroine transformation, during sexual dry spells, Pollack found himself drawn in again. He writes: " One night I was lonely and horny, so I went to a comic-book shop in the East Village, bought a half-dozen superheroine titles from the '70s and early '80s, took them home and had a passionate session."
The author's more recent dabblings touch upon the toonophilia arousal with animation. Anime programmes, such as Sailor Moon, left Pollack a bit dismayed. He writes: "I felt more than vaguely pedophiliac watching a fourteen-year-old cartoon girl twirl around naked in space while brightly colored stars from a magic wand turned her into a mystical princess." A switch to adult anime to fulfill his desire for superheroine transformation left him in 'amazement', although, he adds: "It was too much, even for me."Sometimes, I guess you can have too much of a good thing - even thrills of a more adult nature!
While Wonder Woman episodes are relegated to repeats and Superman films to Christmas viewing, I wonder what superheroes will inspire the sexuality of future generations. Actually, no I don't. A quick glance through the kids' tv lineup has left me with the notion of Power Ranger sexploits and Transformers with genitalia which move at supersonic speeds. Oh dear, Generation Y are in for a letdown when real-world sexuality hits them!