Wonder Woman is not a film about female ‘empowerment’. In fact, it is more a checklist of all the cliches in which women are actually, disempowered.
And so the film, leaves you feeling a bit confused and maybe even deflated. How can we possibly be so towering a threat that Hollywood would strive so energetically, so rigorously, for our belittlement? At the same time, you might be conflicted about what the fightback should look like.
There is a very long tradition of men telling women to shut up.
Women have been told for centuries that their voices don’t belong. Additionally, that their opinions are unwelcome, and that their acts of public persuasion are childish.
That doesn’t mean they listen, of course (good thing too!)
But women who speak or otherwise display their power, intelligence or confidence in public do not have it easy. Let’s look as recent as in 2017, femininity is often seen as incompatible with real power. If a woman is in a position of power, her power is often viewed as artificially or illicitly gained.
Some think that those are forces of assumed seduction and cannot be successfully resisted.
There are ironies to the first Wonder Woman film appearing, at long last, in 2017.
This, was the first year in which the United States could have been represented by the first woman to achieve the presidential ballot. Or, let’s not stray far from the #metoo movement either.
There is a moment in the film everyone was talking about. Wonder Woman finds herself unable to stand back while civilians are suffering. She climbs up into no man’s land in the middle of a battle and charges forward. You might agree with me that the metaphor is striking — a woman standing alone in a field while a battalion of men trying to push her back.
And she refuses to give up.
Before she storms onto the battlefield, Steve tells Diana that there’s nothing to be done, that she can’t help every person affected by the war. But she doesn’t listen, she didn’t grow up in a world that told her she couldn’t do things because she was a woman. She simply does what she thinks is right.
As early as 1984 I remember wanting to be her – so badly. I have vivid memories of stretching my arms out and imagining to be her. As I dive deep and explore this Wonder world – I realize, it may have been one I lost sight of (temporarily) along my way.
Join me in celebrating this win at Speaker Slam Toronto 2018.
Wonder Woman is an archetype.
She is a mindset.
I don’t want to play a damsel in distress that needs to be saved. And, I don’t like it when women in the movies are shown as the victims,” Gadot said in one of her first Wonder Woman interviews. “I always thought that if I could send out a message, I want to show the strong side of a woman and how she can handle tough situations.”
I’m confident that you – my readers, my strong circle of deserving women can relate. I believe it is time that we explore our own inner Wonder Woman and where she fits in our lives this very day.