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Thursday, August 27, 2015 

Child's school bans WW lunchbox because it supposedly represents violence

Here's an odd story of a school that barred a student from bringing a lunchbox with Wonder Woman's picture on it to lessons:
A child’s school has banned her lunchbox, because it features the comic book character Wonder Woman.

The school sent the unnamed girl home with a letter for her parents, explaining why they deem it inappropriate – which a family friend and Reddit user has posted online for the world to weigh in on.

Reddit user twines18 posted a photo of the letter sent, along with a couple of snaps of the child’s lunchbox, explaining that the school finds Wonder Woman to be a figure that represents violence.

But it’s not just this particular superhero that the school has it in for – they don’t allow any superheroes to be worn on clothing, backpacks or lunchboxes of the children.

“We noticed that Laura has a Wonder Woman lunchbox that features a super hero image,” reads the letter. “In keeping with the dress code of the school, we must ask she not bring this to school. The dress code we have established requests that the children not bring violent images into the building in any fashion – on their clothing (including shoes and socks), backpacks and lunchboxes.

“We have defined ‘violent characters’ as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes certainly fall into that category.”
I think the point they miss is that it's not like superheroes use violence because they want to, but because they have to. At least, that's decidedly the best vision that would apply. The pictures on the lunchbox only feature WW's pretty face and one running with her magic lasso, so their argument doesn't make sense in that regard. And Yahoo's writer says:
Seems fair enough, superheroes do tend to throw a few punches. But anyone who’s ever picked up a Marvel or DC Comics book, or watched one of their films, will know that superheroes only turn to violence as a last resort and it’s always in a quest to save and protect others.
So what's the school board's beef? They're clearly basing their judgement on a superficial, pre-determined view of superheroes as a whole, not unlike Fredric Wertham, who had a similar view about Superman decades ago.

Unfortunately, anybody who's picked up a DC and Marvel book from the past decade or so, will know that today's superhero tales are nothing like the older ones. That is, now they're less about saving innocent lives and more about infighting between heroes, while battles against villains are less emphasized, if at all. That's certainly been the case when company wide crossovers like Civil War turn up.

There's also a goof made here:
So surely aspiring to the likes of Wonder Woman (one of the only female superheroes, let’s not forget) is a positive thing?
Of course WW conception as an inspiration could be a good thing, but she's NOT, and NEVER was, "one of the only" superheroines. Mainstream or creator-owned, there are plenty of other sci-fi comics with superheroines around, and even lady stars who aren't superheroines per se, but do fight for the same causes.

I also have to wonder if they'd take the opposite stand if lunchboxes with supervillains on them were sold? Maybe it'd be a different story then? Seriously though, I'd be more understanding if  the school boards didn't want lunchboxes and t-shirts with villains like Dr. Light brought to class, if they were aware of how Dan DiDio and company exploited that costumed criminal for a bigoted story where he was depicted as a rapist. It's not the character's fault, but still, what DiDio and company did does embarrass and tarnish the character for quite a while, and fixing that damage won't be so easy. If no toys and t-shirts have been produced for a decade now because of Identity Crisis, it shouldn't be surprising. Any self-respecting parent who found out would have a hard time associating their families with a Dr. Light t-shirt and lunchbox because of the damage wrought by that miniseries. 3 years afterwards, Dr. Light was even technically killed off, because the editors must've realized they'd written the villain into a corner that'll take a while to clean the stench away from. But then, why did they go miles out of their way to do it in the first place? The Joker could be considered unfit for t-shirts too because of his lethal profession.

Update: Geekdad says the story may have been phony, and if it was, then that was reprehensible of both the "informers" and the media alike that they'd stir up a whole fuss over nothing.

Update 2: whether or not the story is factual, Jonah Goldberg's written his own take on the topic.

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I blame Wolfman for starting Dr. Light's downward spiral as a joke and living punching bag, but overall I just see this as another boneheaded move by education, in this case being overly cautious with the branding on apparel and supplies.

Uh... if you read the Teen Titans comics of the time, Dr. Light never turned into a joke. He was a formidable threat. I think the whole "joke" thing comes from "Identity Crisis."

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