Sreya Nandanampati, 17
As a young South Asian woman, I relate to and look up to a lot of Wonder Woman’s own journey of acceptance and pursuit of passion. Regardless of the issue or episode, Wonder Woman remains confident, honest, and brave in whatever mission she has to take on, regardless of how difficult it might be. One example is when she has to leave the comforts of her home in Themyscira and travel to a whole different world in London. In London, Wonder Woman faces misogyny, injustice, and inequality. Many people tell her she is a foreigner, that she does not belong there, and that she should go back to where she came from. However, despite these struggles, she stays true to herself and fights for good and honesty and never forgets her roots or where she comes from. She exemplifies resilience and drive and is a phenomenal example of someone who manages to always fight for herself and for justice while never forgetting her origins or where she comes from. So, what does it mean to us to be a South Asian Wonder Woman? Like her, I too am a woman competing in her own battles, professionally, socially, and culturally. Being a woman of color, we face many unique social barriers, including stereotypes and gender bias, that make pursuing what we love more difficult. This is especially prevalent in fields and occupations where women are historically underrepresented including STEM, business, politics, etc. Furthermore, as immigrants or children of immigrants in this country, we all have the shared experience of being treated as foreigners or being told that we don’t belong. However, like Wonder Woman, we do not want to cower in the face of difficulties. We want to tackle these difficult situations head-on and prove to those around us that we too belong in this country and can succeed and thrive here.
The cosplay consists of three garments: the warrior blouse, the patiala pants, and the bomber jacket. The warrior blouse resembles that of Wonder Woman’s. It is a strong, shielding piece of clothing. However, it is made with a South Asian twist with gold embroidery. Patiala pants are staples in South Asian closets and are versatile because they can dress up or down. Including this iconic piece allows us to truly showcase to our audience Wonder Woman’s origins and demonstrate the versatility of South Asian Wonder Woman. Finally, our bomber jacket represents the intersection of being South Asian and American. Bomber jackets are quintessential contemporary American clothing and radiate confidence. It has a South Asian flare through the use of Indian fabric, and it has a hand-painted picture of incredible women who inspire us to be our own Wonder Womans. The cultural fusion and the portrait both embody how we are confident women who will not forget our traditions and roots in South Asia.