By Lady Comet
Author's Note: This is set in the Wonder Woman animated movie continuity. I loved the film, but I HATED what they did to Etta Candy. Since her creation in the 1940's (the same time Wonder Woman herself was created), she had always been a very confident, positive fat-girl character and role model. And in the film, she's a thin, vapid example of social brainwashing. While I understand that it was necessary to show an example of that, so that Diana could see it, I believe it was wrong to make Etta that example.
So, this is my response to that. I hope you enjoy it.
"Shit," Etta cursed. "Shit shit shit shit shit!"
She stood in front of her mirror at home, staring at her bulging waistline. It had been six months since Stevie showed up with That Woman, and things were definitely going downhill. Diana had revealed herself to be an Amazon – whatever that meant – from some foreign country, and was serving as an ambassador from her people to the United States. Steve still worked for the Air Force, but he had been promoted and spent much more time on land now. And she, as always, remained his secretary. That actually didn't bother her; she wanted to be under Stevie in more ways than one. But he was still all ga-ga over Diana, and that didn't seem likely to change.
At least he was sorry. Every morning since Diana started sticking around, Etta would show up to work and a dish of candy would be sitting, inconspicuously and innocently, on her desk. She couldn't help but have some of it. Or all of it, as the case often was.
And that, of course, was the problem before her now. Since the candy started, she had gained at least thirty pounds. She had been avoiding the scale, but based on how her mother used to measure extra weight with her eyes, she guessed that was about right.
Until the candy, she had been perfect. She had shed that hideous body in those camps as a teenager, and ever since then had kept to a strict diet in order to maintain her figure. Always one piece of fruit in the morning, a cup of yogurt for lunch, and a NutriShake before bed. No matter how good real food smelled sometimes. If she had to attend a dinner for work, or for a date, she'd just work our extra long the next day. It had been working perfectly for years now. She was beautiful, wanted, loved. So it didn't matter to her how hungry she was, or whether or not her behavior was healthy. No one disapproved of how she looked anymore.
The disgusting roundness had returned to every part of her body – face, hips, thighs, stomach, arms. No one had said anything about it yet, but she could see the judgment in their eyes, especially in her family's when she visited them. She repulsed herself.
She HAD to lose it, no matter what.
The next day at work, when she saw the newest dish – dark chocolate sponge candy and M&M's – she threw it away, ignoring her desire for it.
She spent at least four hours every day from then on at the gym, arriving right after work and leaving only when she was almost too tired to move. She did sit-ups and crunches and push-ups at home before she left for the office. She ate even less than usual.
Still, after two weeks of this behavior, she had lost only two pounds of what she had gained.
This made her feel even worse, and very hopeless. She went into work the next day with a sour look on her face and a foul mood, feeling drained from it all.
She wasn't paying attention to where she was going, letting her mind mull over her misery as her legs switched to auto-pilot on the way to her desk. Suddenly she bumped into something warm and soft, and cursing, she looked up to scowl at whatever had gotten in her way.
Diana smiled awkwardly down at her. "Good morning, Etta."
"What are you doing here?" she spat, trying to edge her was past her into the office.
To her disdain, the tall woman followed her. "Just visiting, but Steve's not here yet.....You seem quite displeased this morning."
Etta slammed her purse and briefcase down on the desk. "What if I am?" she hissed, reaching under the chair for a pen she had knocked over. "Why do you care, anyway?"
A smile tugged at the corner of Diana's mouth. "I beg your pardon?"
The plump blonde sat down in a huff. "Well, it's not like we're bosom-buddies."
"What does 'bosom buddies' mean?"
She shook her head. "You really were born in a barn, weren't you?"
"No, I was born at home."
"Never mind," Etta sighed. "Anyway, what does it matter to you if I'm upset? You've got everything and I've – well, I've got fat." Her lip trembled, and she bit it into shaky obedience. She was NOT going to cry in front of her!
A look of surprise crossed Diana's face, then she turned and closed the door, crossing the small office to lean on Etta's desk.
"Etta," she said softly, "just because you think I have everything does not mean you have nothing. And why should you be upset about your body? The weight suits you."
Etta snorted, sniffling into her hand.
The Amazon reached forward and lifted the shorter woman's chin so she would meet her eyes. "Really, Etta, you are fine. You just need to stop acting so weak. There is great strength in you, even if you don't know it yet." She let go of her and reached down to take the pen out of her hand. "Look, you can even retrieve your own things."
Etta stared at her, dumbfounded. The idea that she might be able to love her body for what it was, regardless of its size, had not occurred to her. When she had started gaining weight at puberty, her mother had immediately responded with hate and disgust, teaching her that those emotions were the only appropriate response to such a form. All of the people she grew up with – children of her mother's friends – seemed to feel the same way. It was these same people who taught her that as a girl, she should use her weakness and her looks to get what she wanted from men, who were theoretically stronger and bigger. As if that was a woman's place, and beauty was all that mattered. What else was she supposed to think about herself?
And now this woman, who she thought she hated, who fit into society's image of what a woman should physically be – at least on the surface, was telling her that there might be another way of thinking after all.
Diana's voice snapped the blonde back to reality, and she slowly nodded her head, unable to find words. Smiling, Diana handed the pen back to her. A moment later, there was a knock at the door and they both turned to see Steve peering through the window.
"I'll see you later," Diana said, getting up to join him. Etta just nodded again, barely even hearing her. Too much was going on in her mind, and heart.
From then on, Etta Candy tried to stop worrying. She let herself just be – and started eating healthier. Three meals a day with plenty of everything good and no more NutriShakes. She didn't lose any more weight, but she didn't gain that much more either. Maybe Diana has been right; maybe the weight was supposed to be there. It was hard sometimes, but she felt better and better about herself as time went by. More confident and more able, too. And no matter what her family thought, she was starting to realize that was what she really needed.