She’s Still Wonder Woman: Why Lynda Carter’s Lifetime Achievement Award Is Most Deserved

She’s Still Wonder Woman: Why Lynda Carter’s Lifetime Achievement Award Is Most Deserved by Stephen Patterson , May 26th, 2016 at 7:25am Share on Facebook Share to TwitterActress Lynda Carter was honoured on Tuesday night at the 41st Annual Gracie Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to film and television. I’ve discussed Carter’s contribution to Wonder Woman and the female superhero before , but being the recipient of this award highlights not only her contribution to female superheroism, but what she accomplished for women in the media industry.Carter became known to the world for her role as Wonder Woman back in 1975 on the hit TV series Wonder Woman . Ever since Carter’s portrayal of the character, her interpretation has remained the most iconic with no subsequent successful adaptations of the character until this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice . That’s a huge gap for such a well-known hero, highlighting just how unforgettable and irreplaceable Carter is. As amazing as this is, Carter being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award extends beyond what she did for the character of Wonder Woman and superheroes – it conveys the impact that she made on women in the media industry. In her speech, Carter discusses the obstacles she faced in the industry, most notably when she was first cast as Wonder Woman, saying that network executives didn’t believe women could lead a primetime series. She further discussed how she originally had a male stunt double. She professes her gratitude for the role and all that it did for her career.Carter as Wonder WomanWonder Woman skyrocketed Carter’s career, but what some people fail to realise is that Carter did as much for the character as it did for her. Carter embodied the role of Wonder Woman and her appearance on network television arrived at just the right time, giving young girls a role model. Wonder Woman was both smart and pretty – It wasn’t one or the other, Wonder Woman proved that women can be equals in a world thought to be owned by men. It may have just been a TV show at the time, but the it’s legacy is what changed television forever. After Wonder Woman came to an end, women were seen more frequently in lead roles. What was even more noteworthy is that they were no longer playing the typical housewife character. During the 1980’s we saw characters like Angela Lansbury’s sleuthing genius Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote , as well as Jane Badler’s brilliantly twisted Diana – the lead character and villain in V . This was expanded on during the 1990s and, as theme-orientated television began to fade, drama and comedy took over. Calista Flockhart’s Ally McBeal was a huge success, and of course we can’t talk about the ’90s without mentioning Friends – a show that many of its lead characters were women. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the ’90s on this front was Buffy The Vampire Slayer – a show that was also revolutionary at the time. Examining modern television, it’s clear that nearly every major network has a least one female-led television show. Moreover, powerful female characters – superhero or otherwise – are becoming more prominent. Characters like Supergirl, Arrow ‘s Black Canary and Game of Thrones ‘ Danaerys Targaryen all represent strong female characters who could easily give the male characters in their respective shows a run for their money.Carter and husband, Robert AltmanCarter’s speech at the ceremony was almost a passing of the torch to all these young women who now carry on the legacy that she created. Women on television are arguably stronger than ever and there’s no doubt that Carter played a large part on getting us to this stage. Not only on-screen, but there are more and more female writers and directors in the industry, and achievements like this were only made possible because of people like Carter opening up the door for women. Carter didn’t just open up the door, however, she kicked it down and made sure that it was never locked again. Carter and her eponymous character were role models, but it’s moments like this – like Carter getting the recognition that she deserves – that allow us to see her for the role model that she so clearly still is.Perhaps it was divine intervention that led to Carter being cast as Wonder Woman, but whatever it was we are grateful because the trail that she blazed for female superheroes was revolutionary. If it weren’t for Carter we may not have been given subsequent series like Birds of Prey , Supergirl or Marvel’s Agent Carter . Powerful women weren’t usually seen on TV but Carter changed this, and what was so important about Wonder Woman was that it was female-led and female empowered – women were equally important to the narrative. Moreover, female led series’ of any genre are arguably now more popular than male led series: examples include American Horror Story , Happy Valley , Grey’s Anatomy . We’ve moved on from male domination in the media, and that is largely due to what Carter accomplished with Wonder Woman . She may be superhero royalty, but she is also the pioneer of female television and that is what makes Carter a real life Wonder Woman.Is Lynda Carter still your favourite Wonder Woman? Tell me what her portrayal of the iconic character meant to you in the comments below!