Wonder Women

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind….

Wonder. Woman.

I wasn’t expecting to get emotional over a movie based on a comic book character, especially one in which I was going to have to look past the sexy push-up bra and the cascade of dark, glossy locks.

But I did.

Here’s the thing: Unless you belong to a group which is un or under represented–in movies, television, books, politics, life–you probably don’t appreciate the emotions that come with  finally witnessing that representation–ten feet high on a movie screen. But trust me, it’s one of the reasons there’s so much hype surrounding Wonder Woman, especially and notably, from women. It’s not that it’s not a good movie in its own right (it is), it’s that a new generation of girls and boys, sitting in a darkened theatre are seeing, many for the first time, a superhero who looks like their mother, or teacher, or cousin or sister saving the world and kicking ass. Sans push-up bra.

Science-fiction and super-hero movies seem like a laughable place to begin in the fight for equality, but in reality, it makes perfect sense. Kids need a safe space to fantasize. Fairy tales, science fiction, fantasy, those genres give kids that space. For a long time society has assumed that girls only fantasized about playing dolls and princesses in towers waiting to be rescued. No one stopped to think that’s what girls fantasized about because that’s all we’ve ever allowed them. What will those dreams look like, how will they differ, when we give kids the freedom to dream big? Movies like Wonder Woman make it safer for girls–and boys– to dream. It’s where you get to work out complex feelings in the relative comfort of fantasy play. Safe places to grow and spread their wings.

And girls? Girls have had their wings clipped for centuries.

One woman in block heels and a golden armbands won’t change that.

But it’s a step in the right direction.

**********

There’s a nice little sequence in which Diana must exchange her battle garb for more restrictive Edwardian dress so she won’t draw attention to herself. And then there’s this: When asked who she is, Diana starts to answer only to be interrupted by the film’s main male character. Not knowing how to explain the Amazon beside him, he refers to her as his secretary. Because—what else would she be? Women’s places are well-defined and described. There is no way for him to accurately describe Diana, no easy path to comprehension and understanding and so we fall back on the obvious. A secretary. A helper. Coffee fetcher, typist. Gal Friday behind the scenes.

And in the space of that one line, that one instant–Diana Prince becomes EveryWoman.

How many women who read this or who have watched the movie have been asked to fetch coffee, or order lunch, or work below her pay scale or title rank because she’s been assumed to be something less than what she actually is?

It was the moment that changed the movie for me, from an action adventure movie starring a woman to a feminist film, whether it was intentional or not.

**********

My favorite scene however, the one which had tears threatening to spill out from under my 3-D glasses, was when three male characters held a piece of armor on their backs for Diana to spring from. They were, quite literally, giving her a leg up, the support she needed to launch herself into a battle to save them, and a town under siege. Diana has always been sure of her destiny, and in that moment, the men were sure of it as well. And instead of trying to stop her, they instead gave her what she needed to get there.

What woman among us hasn’t thought she would be the one to change the world, a man, a life? Women have always been there, behind the scenes, assisting and fetching, trying to save the world.

Do not assume women are naive enough to realize some battles will not be won without fighting or without sacrifice. And do not assume we are not willing to fight and sacrifice when it is necessary. Give us a shield to climb upon, to propel ourselves up beyond that glass ceiling and into the stratosphere and watch what we can do.

It took me a moment to recover from that one.

**********

Wonder Woman the movie wasn’t perfect, but neither are wonder women, the reality. We are flawed. We have weaknesses, we falter, and sometimes, we fail. We fail to save the ones we love. We fail to change the world. We lose our way, we get lost. All of that? It just made me love the movie even more…because we don’t need to be perfect in order to effect change. We don’t have to be all things, it’s ok to be some. Warrior, lover, savior, failure.

If you doubt the effect that movies like Wonder Woman have, I leave you with this. In the dark of the theatre, my son’s friend leaned over and whispered, “she’s like The Hulk AND Superman in one!”

At 46 I can still dream big. My dream is this: the girls and boys sitting in those theaters won’t doubt the commanding presence of a female super hero–on-screen, in the board room, or at the dinner table.

Let girls dream big and they can save the world. Give them a shield to launch themselves from and they will soar.

 

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35 thoughts on “Wonder Women

  1. nshami14 June 21, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    It was all that and more for me too! Grown-me remembering the Little Me who loved having someone like me, kicking butt and saving the world, with a smooth layer of empathy and altruism underneath the basic warrior. Also enjoyed the way the men played the background. Favorite scene for me was when Steve was telling her he had to go…and she had to go keep fighting, giving her his Dad’s watch, and she couldn’t hear him (or remember what he’d said until later).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dina Honour June 21, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Yes, I think that’s why all the scenes in Thymscira stood out for me as well. Battle training and battle scenes are nothing out of the ordinary. It was, however, extraordinary to see women training with ONLY other women. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. And Robin Wright! Damn!

      Liked by 1 person

      • nshami14 June 22, 2017 / 1:13 am

        Robin Wright does warrior face like no other!

        Like

  2. Mama Cass June 21, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Wonderful review! I can’t wait to see it. Thanks!

    Like

  3. Lynn Roach June 21, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I took my nine-year-old grandson and my nine-month-old granddaughter to see Wonder Womam. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to see it, but he’s watched plenty of superhero movies and I told him he needed to see this one. He was riveted throughout and ended up being impressed.

    My granddaughter won’t remember seeing it, I’m sure, but I wanted to take her–for me to have the memory of taking her and to tell her in the future about her wide blue eyes watching the screen.

    I’m hoping the success of Wonder Woman leads to the making of Nubia, a film about Wonder Woman’s sister, a sequel, and more women directors hired for action films.

    These movies and TV shows matter. I know that Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, Cagney & Lacey, and other 1970s programs where women had dominant roles that showed them outside of their houses and kitchens had a huge impact on me growing up. I know that it’s critically important to have significant roles for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ persons, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities in our films and TV shows instead of the message being that an entertaining ideal world is white, heterosexual, and predominately male.

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 21, 2017 / 10:38 pm

      My near 13 y/o saw it before me, with some of his friends. I was both pleased he wanted to see if w/o any pressure from me and pissed he got to see it before me ;-). I just learned about Nubia the other day–I am glad she is getting recognized because of course, in all of this fawning over Wonder Woman there is still that women of color are still woefully under represented in movies about women who are under represented to begin with.

      Representation does matter–hugely. I think those shows of the 70s and early 80s seemed to give way to a gentler version of television womanhood as we thought we had progressed. Of course we didn’t, not as much as we thought, and I wonder if the generation of women/girls since that time have suffered for it.

      It’s a long slog, progress. Filled with a million baby steps. But every one counts, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. evaksullivan June 21, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Eva K. Sullivan and commented:
    I was surprised I liked Wonder Woman so much! This blogger explains just why it was so appealing.

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 21, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      I was worried I wasn’t going to like it because so many people did–but I loved it! Thanks for the reblog!

      Like

  5. evaksullivan June 21, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    Thank you for your praise of just the right parts of the movie. It was so much fun to see it with little kids in the theatre. Especially their vocal reactions to the scene with Chris Pine coming out of the water with a towel!

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 21, 2017 / 10:40 pm

      The above average joke was cute–and it was referenced later in a cheeky way if I’m remembering correctly. But her lines about needed a man for procreation but not for pleasure? Priceless.

      Like

  6. Expat Panda June 21, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Beautifully written… I really want to watch it now!

    Like

  7. MagLyM June 21, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    So well said. My husband had been so excited to take our daughters to this movie and I really wasn’t sure I would like it. I had a similar reaction you did though. It was well done and made me realize how starved we are for better representation of strong women characters in movies while also showing good men standing right beside them to fight with them, not to protect them. Great post!

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 21, 2017 / 11:26 pm

      First of all, I am SOOOO happy to hear your husband was excited to see it and to take the kids. My husband is super excited to see it again with me (I couldn’t wait for him this time around ;-). ). But yes, we ARE starved for better representation. IT’s starting…Katniss, Rey, Jin, Diana, but again, all sci-fi-fi, fantasy. Strong women, good men behind them. Let’s hope we see more of it in the future…and more outside the realm of sci-fi.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lorem Ipsum June 22, 2017 / 12:12 am

    Oh my gosh! What a beautiful review. Your words moved me deeply. I saw the movie and I agree with you. Definitely, I have to reblog. Thanks, Dina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour June 24, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      Thank you! I was surprised at how deeply the movie touched me–I was expecting to like the action part and the female hero part, but there were some nice touches that made it really stand out to me.

      Like

      • Lorem Ipsum June 26, 2017 / 6:57 am

        I agree. That movie had, as you say, some nice touches that made it stand out.

        Like

  9. Maggie Wilson June 22, 2017 / 12:14 am

    Well, then. With your recommendation, I will add this to the list of movies to watch. Thanks!

    Like

  10. Mama Cass June 22, 2017 / 2:01 am

    I’d like to share your review on my blog, but not sure how.

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 22, 2017 / 3:11 am

      There should be a reblog button at the bottom of the post, or you can link directly back to it from a post of your own. In either case, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Amanda Afield June 23, 2017 / 8:31 am

    I really enjoyed Wonder Woman as well (as did my husband). It’s a good movie in its own right, but like you’ve said, it was really refreshing to see a female hero.

    Like

  12. Tracey Weems June 28, 2017 / 6:42 am

    I just watched this movie with my 21 year old daughter. We both loved it. You captured many of my favorite parts in you blog post. I hope this starts a trend and we see more of women being heroes.

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 29, 2017 / 12:55 am

      Me too! It’s like when you start cooking with spices and you realize how much flavor they add, and all of a sudden you miss all the flavor you COULD have had but didn’t know about. Having female action heroes makes me miss all the strong, kick ass characters we COULD have had but didn’t know about.

      Like

  13. Mike6915 June 29, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    I know friends who would totally use some of that inspiration. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beth B July 1, 2017 / 2:57 am

    Although I love Superheroes and fantasy, I’m often conflicted between my enjoyment of the story and my frustration with how women are portrayed. I was so overjoyed watching Wonder Woman, it blew away my expectations. It is a rare portrayal of a strong, independent, and respected woman; I hope it becomes less and less rare! Not to mention it was a fantastic film with incredible cinematography and bad-ass fight scenes!

    Like

    • Dina Honour July 1, 2017 / 3:29 am

      I KNOW! ;-). I was a little scared to see it to be honest, b/c I’d read some good reviews and my friends were seeing it and raving about it–which for me means that I go in ready to hate it. And from the first scenes of Amazons training for battle (have we EVER seen women training for battle with ONLY other women?), I was hooked. Line and sinker. Can’t wait to see it again to be honest.

      Like

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