First, an enjoyable diversion that hopefully won't be pulled anytime soon. Then on to the business of expressing a pretty complex opinion.
The biggest thing I see among fans that irks me is the insistence that Wonder Woman be paired with another costumed hero like Superman (in the letter columns and the freaking 90s Elseworlds) or Batman (since the cartoon series set them up a ratehr dedicated fandom has surfaced). Worse than the fans, this is a trend among writers, who gave her a crush on Clark in the 80s (this was their way of establishing she wasn't lesbian or asexual, I suppose, since the 80s reboot got rid of all the female characters she could have been paired up with as well as getting rid of Steve), a dozen alternate universe stories where she marries Clark in the 90s, and a relationship with Batman in 2000s JLA that is so important that it saves her from the Black Lantern in their company crossover (I will never let this go. Ever.) but is never mentioned in her or his book.
Now, a lot of us object to this based purely on franchise integrity. Wonder Woman dating Batman or Superman makes her into one of their supporting characters. It's not right, and she should be treated on equal terms with them but the writers, editors and most importantly the marketers clearly favor both men over her. Until we can replace Warner Bros execs with doppelgangers who love Wonder Woman boardroom fights over Superman and Wonder Woman or Batman and Wonder Woman will end with her getting the shaft.
But my objection to these two relationships and my insistence on bringing back Steve Trevor does go further than franchise integrity. It's all about character background, masculinity and femininity, and the underlying theme of Wonder Woman. Consider if you will, the classic origin story.
Despite some variation (particularly with Kanigher, but he seems to have soft-retconned the classic origin back in when he really got to writing), most writers stick to her saving a downed pilot. This is the first man she's ever seen. He's usually half-drowned and horribly injured from the crash. She cares for him and sees him at his most vulnerable. While he's helpless, sometimes delirious, and in the cases when she hides him (Martston, Kanigher's later retcon) completely dependent on her for survival. Even when he's lucid (Kanigher's first story, Conway), he's still defenseless and has no control over what happens to him. She has to rescue and protect him.
She notices early on that he's pretty attractive. Even as a complete wreck, waterlogged and injured he is absolutely gorgeous. That's the basis for the initial attraction, but with some writers there's a little bit more. Pre-Crisis Diana knew English somehow (magic TV or there's Amazons that were shipwrecked English-speakers or Hermes willed it--she also knew Caveman language in the Silver Age). In one of the Golden Age origin retellings (I can't find it right now), Steve's delirious and babbling about the war, how his people are fighting a great evil, and how he swears he sees an angel. In the Silver Age, the first version has him telling her he doesn't see the difference between an Amazon and an angel, and then ridiculously offer to fight off sharks while she gets away. Later he shows up leading a charity outing for underprivileged kids. Both cases, he says something while helpless that demonstrates he's brave and selfless, he admires her, and he's community minded.
She decides she's attracted to him based on him being beautiful. Sometimes she gets to factor in that he says nice things about her and cares for others above his own well-being despite being absolutely helpless. Not exactly a lot to go on but I'm sure you all do a background check and require them to accomplish three quests before you'll approach an attractive stranger in a bar.
Later on we see that he's the sort of guy who tells the villain it doesn't matter what they do to him, they'll never beat Wonder Woman. Other times we see he can be gentle and thoughtful and takes care of her emotionally. He's also brave and honest. He has some very attractive qualities that are present whether he's shooting out the lock on her prison door or he's lying in her arms recovering from a recent blow to the head. He's passively desirable. It's not things he does that interest her, it's inherent qualities that show through at his weakest moments whether they're superficial like his appearance or the truest expression of his courage like laughing in the face of a villain who has him completely in their power.
The updates on Steve Trevor through the years, the new interpretations by Kanigher, Conway, Thomas, and Mishkin for their respective eras, kept that he is a doer and a heroic character but still understood that Diana's attraction was based on his characteristics rather than his accomplishments. It meant more to her that he was the sort of person who would TRY to help her than the sort of person who COULD help her.
Somehow, though, people always ask why she likes him. They want him to have done something to deserve her. Or they consider the character a complete wash, and favor her with Superman or Batman, the only two men on the planet who can be said to have accomplished more than her. They want a super-powered love interest. The long-standing trend among anti-Steve fans who are still in favor of a male love interest is to get her a so-called "Real Man" because they don't get how a woman of her calibre could fall for someone who needed her help. This is one thing to see from fans, but to have writers try and establish this too, to have her go for the one guy who outpowers her or the badass normal, to write her as the female fighter who insists on a man who matches or defeats her betrays a misunderstanding of our culture and Diana as a character.
Wonder Woman was raised in a society of women, with no positive views of men until she met one herself. This is important because it tells us that she has no investment in or even concept of the Cult of Masculinity.
The Cult of Masculinity is a way of describing how society pushes this construct of what men need to be like. It is the thing that makes us value certain traits in men above others, and insist that men are worthless unless they are superhuman overachievers who never show a moment of weakness. It is the collection of traits that men are expected to embody in order to keep their place of superiority over women. It is, among other irritating things, the expectation that men have more important jobs and earn more money than their wives. It is, among other infuriating things, our cultural requirement that even if women are allowed to be heroes men must be bigger heroes.
Wonder Woman has no clue that men are supposed to be stronger, more active, more capable, better fighters, more famous, or make more money than she is. She has no idea what we would consider a worthy mate for her. (In fact, one of the great things in the Bronze Age is that the rest of the JLA doesn't quite understand why she's with him.) She doesn't know that she's supposed to be dating UP somehow, that she's supposed to go for someone who has more power or influence than she does. She doesn't realize that when she saw him drowning, exhausted, and near death she was supposed to conclude he was defective. She never figures out that every time he needs her to save him she's supposed to think less of him.
Diana doesn't see Steve the way we do, the way Black Canary does, the way Batman does, the way our society would see him. We see a man we have no use for because he dates a woman who is better at his job than he is. (Never mind how good he actually is at his job, we're blind to that.) She sees a person who is physically attractive that turns out to also be selfless, kind, brave, light-hearted and supportive. She sees someone who often needs her help, makes sure she gets the appropriate credit for that help, and lets her know how much he appreciates it. She sees a person who is a little thick-headed, sometimes kind of irritating but that will always be at her side and always ready with a smile or a word of encouragement when she needs it.