When I was a little girl, my first hero was Belle (Beauty & the Beast), followed by Icebox (the girl in Little Giants), Elizabeth (the smart, independent twin in the Sweet Valley books), and Nancy Drew. I loved seeing girls that were like me…girls that loved books, had huge dreams, and/or didn’t like being put in a box of what “being a girl” looked like. I lived on a farm after I was adopted and I would stand in the fields singing at the top of my lungs, “I WANT SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS PROVINCIAL LIFE”!. I grew up with 3 brothers and spent a lot of time running around as an Indian, exploring in the woods looking for hidden treasure, swimming in ponds, shooting guns (my family hunts), and reading more books than any kid I know.
As a teenager, my heroes were Eowyn (Lord of the Rings), Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice), Trinity (the Matrix), and still Belle. As a teenager, I would read/watch LOTR and always be consumed with how much I wanted to be like Eowyn – strong, powerful, and not allowing anyone to put me in a box because I was a girl.
As an adult, I added Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) and Heidi Baker (not a fictional character but an amazing, real life woman), and Michelle Rodriguez (actress – Fast and the Furious and Avatar) to my list of heroes.
Now, at 31, my newest hero is, Wonder Woman. I saw the movie last night and was so emotional throughout the entire movie. This movie brought so many emotions to the surface. Women’s issues are super important to me so this movie wrecked me up all over the place. I generally hate the way women are portrayed and objectified in movies. Other versions of Wonder Woman have completely sexualized and objectified her. But not this one! Woot!
Anyways, so, what made Wonder Woman so different from other female superhero movies like Cat Woman or the female superheroes in the X-Men trilogy? Though, let’s be real, nobody took Cat Woman seriously.
- As a woman I feel that I am constantly having to filter through (practically every movie I see) movies being made with the “male gaze” in mind. Constant angles, shots, wardrobe, and even music that sexualizes every woman on the screen. In Wonder Woman that was non-existent. There were no booty/boob shots, no angles that sexualized her body – she had a lot of skin showing but it never felt sexual (because it wasn’t supposed to be). But, had it been directed by a man it probably would have been a completely different movie. Every shot of WW on screen was one that showcased her power, strength, and her abilities. I don’t remember one shot that I felt sexualized her, not one. I never felt my eyes being drawn to her “assets” (as most movies do for women) but I was constantly aware of her muscles, her strength, and her commanding presence on the screen as well as how beautifully acted it was. How believable she was for me.
- WW’s “feminine” traits were praised – not mocked or seen as “being a girl”. WW’s humility, kindness, and mercy were seen as strengths not “feminine weakness”. WW’s mercy was a constant theme throughout the movie. She wanted to believe the best about mankind and her heart wrenched every single time she couldn’t save someone, or saw death. She valued human life and her love and kindness were seen as assets – not hindrances. I feel like I see so many movies where traits like mercy and kindness are seen as weaknesses (especially from women) – but not in Wonder Woman. Those were traits that were viewed as strengths and assets. From the beginning, WW hears from her mother, and others, that humans aren’t deserving of her or her protection. But, WW ignores them and allows her mercy and her love for humankind to motivate her. I loved seeing a woman’s mercy, kindness, and love being displayed as positive and wonderful things – never a weakness.
- Ok, let’s be honest, watching all of the Amazon’s training and fighting was one of the most empowering things we have seen in cinema in a long time. Watching hundreds of women fighting with swords, using their bodies as weapons, and flying through the air was INCREDIBLE. Watching women empower each other, encourage each other, and believe so intensely in each other was one of the greatest things I have seen in a movie in a long time. I was in tears during the first fight scene…watching these women using their bodies in such amazing ways and the camera not once making it sexual was overwhelming for me. Watching women do such amazing things with their bodies and it being completely, and only, about their strength and power was awesome. Seeing this community of women who empowered each other was one of my favorite things to see. They were warriors. They were courageous, brave, fearless. Death did not scare them.
- The No-Man’s Land scene was my favorite part. I cried. Watching WW step up to protect those who “didn’t deserve her protection” was so powerful for me. When she crawled out of the trenches and fearlessly stepped out into a field of open fire I teared up. Watching this amazing woman fight for the oppressed, the weak, the broken, and the sick was beautiful. Watching a group of men (soldiers!) not being stupid about a woman taking the lead and protecting them was awesome. Also, watching the way the men respected WW was pretty awesome. Yes, they made some comments, but you can tell they respected and honored her. Watching WW plow across that field – powerful. I just don’t have another word for it. It was powerful. I loved the way the men supported WW – not the other way around. I just loved it. It was amazing and I hope men watching the film noticed that as well without thinking the men were “wussies” or “pansies”. There was a huge theme that men supporting a strong, powerful woman was more than okay – it was awesome.
I gave this movie 7 stars out of 5. It was more than I could have expected. Hollywood finally gave girls a female superhero that wasn’t sexualized, objectified for her body, a backup character to the main male superhero, or portrayed as weak for being feminine. I loved everything about it. This movie is empowering in every way and is someone I would want my little sister including in her list of heroes.
This is also a great film to take your sons to…a great way to open dialogue about women and our place in society, what true femininity is, and see what they thought about the movie.
Take your daughters, go with your girlfriends and open dialogue afterward. Ask your daughters:
Why do you love WW?
What sets her apart from other female superheroes like Storm, Catwoman, or Supergirl?
What did you feel watching this movie?
Was there anything you noticed about this movie in particular?