Ok, so let me first say, I have a bit of a strange relationship with superhero movies. Whenever I am browsing through any movie catalogue, I never go for them, however, when I do watch one, I terribly enjoy them. It is like for some reason I forget I like them. This might sound a bit disconnected to the title, but I felt I needed to clarify it before I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago I went with my co-workers – as a sort of bonding session – to see Wonder Woman.
As I devoured a large bucket of popcorn, I was in trance with this beautiful, strong, yet sort of naïve woman that appeared before me. She was fearless, and I just wanted to kick some ass next to her. I left the movie theatre feeling like a 5-year-old who had just seen a super hero movie for the first time. I was crossing my wrists as I said “Pow, Pow, Pow!”, and pretended I could kick and was as graceful as the goddess that is Diana – played by ex-Miss Israel model and ex Israeli Army forces officer, Gal Godot (what a combo!)
Funnily enough today I found this tweet from the Director of the movie:
My reaction to the movie couldn’t have been any more in line with these kindergarten kids.
Let me highlight that again: “Consider this your friendly reminder that if this movie completely changed the way these girls and boys thought about themselves and the world in a week, imagine what the next generation will achieve if we give them more movies like Wonder woman.”
What a simple, yet elusive truth. Mass media has the power of affecting the way we look at the world, and making certain attitudes the norm. There are dozens of theories about mass media impact, and these were not my favourite classes at uni, however we have to recognise that naturalising strong female role models in our pop culture is probably the best solution towards creating a more egalitarian world, both for women and men, and any minorities that struggle with different levels of social oppression.
Now, having said this, I do need to clarify that it’s not just about putting a beautiful woman and give her superpowers. That is not what makes Wonder Woman a kick ass role model. What makes her such a symbol is that if you strip down her superpowers, wristbands, sword and laso, she is still an emotionally intelligent woman, who wishes for a better world, and who is sensible. How man boys are raised being told that they have to be strong, and thus, how many of us women, end up putting a tough exterior, because looking tough almost seems to be the way to show that we have control over our own lives and destinies? Yet, part of being a woman, and I would actually like to say a human being, is that we can be in touch with our emotions, cry if we have to, yet be stronger than Wonder woman! (ha! I automatically wrote Superman… the macho stereotype in me, but felt it was inadequate).
And to be able to tell the story of a woman, what a difference a female director or screenwriters can do, because you may have the best actress in the world, however, if the people doing the storytelling can’t see through her eyes, how can that woman ever shine? Could this be perhaps the difference in success between Catwoman and Wonder Woman?
I look forward to a world where little girls can choose to be a princess or a warrior, to know that they have the option; and that they can love, but that their whole life shouldn’t be about waiting for the saving kiss from a prince. I look forward to more movies and shows that are told by women, because we do have a different way of looking at the world from men, and if we are able to show it, then we can all learn from each other.