Wonder Woman: The Hero We Have Always Wanted
I vowed that I would write a piece about Wonder Woman after viewing it. As the film came to a close, there was not lots of yelling and fast talking. Instead, my whole body lay frozen in my seat, wanting more and more. I walked out of the theater and kept looking at my friend with words on the tip of my tongue, but knowing that he would be unable to understand how much this film meant to my tiny heart for my words would not be adequate. After we had emerged to the outside, I left a few on my thoughts and excitement on the concrete. Yet, as I spoke, I knew that those fragments ideas on my brain should only be fleshed out initially on paper, after I had driven home, perhaps a few days later.
(DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM AND WISH TO GO IN WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE MAGIC THAT WILL PLAY OUT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES)
The Island of Women
I enjoy a beautiful man, stunning partnership of shared affection and resources, but the only place I feel I can start this think piece is by speaking about the glorious island of Themyscira. It is an island of women warriors….I repeat, a whole freaking isolated island of women that were created to fight and defend. They have been taught to be brutal and strong, yet they are kind and affectionate. Their human-ness was not disregarded to make them strong and their kindness did not make them weak. Rather it was love and the desire to empower another that pushed Antiope to secretly train Diana, to prepare her for the fight destined to be in front of her. These women did not hesitate in the face of the battle. Instead, they plunged forward, swords wielded, bows stretched taunt. One of my ultimate favorite aspects of this island was the presence of differing ethnicities of women. They were not all white, American sounding women. Rather, these educated strong women were African American, Israeli, and European. They were fierce and fiery and worked to push each other to be better and stronger.
Forging Her Own Way
When Diana decides that she will go to England and fight for justice and the destruction of evil, she realizes that she must gather all of her weapons and tools for such an undertaking. She grabs the Lasso of Truth and warrior armor, yet she notes that she is missing the “god-killer” sword. This sword, unbeknownst to her, is her destiny. It is intended to be wielded by her hands; it was created and set aside for her. Yet, it was out of her reach when she was ready to use it. She realizes that the only way to retrieve this weapon is by taking a leap across a chasm to then grab onto the tower that this sword is held within. When she leaps and grabs a hold of the tower, the stone she had grasped onto breaks off of the tower, and she begins to fall. She saves herself and realizes that she has to form her own path up the tower. She smiles a knowing smile to herself and begins smashing the stones, forging her own path towards her destiny.
A Little Love and Little Apathy at Legalism
On the ship towards England, Steve Trevor, the man that had crashed upon Themyscira, created a place for Diana to sleep on the ship. There is an exchange that happens as Steve explains why he cannot sleep next to her. Diana essentially rolls her eyes at these rules and tells him that it does not matter to her. Clearly, these societal created limits are ridiculous to the practiticalty of Diana’s world and the work that they are moving towards.
Later on in the film, a romance blossoms between Steve and Diana. She fights and saves the local town (more on that scene later), and they dance outside the local bar. When they go to retire for the night, Diana enters her room and turns around. Steve is ready to leave, but instead they catch each other’s eye. If consent was non-verbal, their eye change could be classified as such. She looked at him not with the look of apathetic consent, but rather a “Yes.I am down for it as well. Come on over if you want, or do not if you do not want to.” Their relationship was stunning, and perhaps a little bit of a feminist’s dream. When she would defy his intentions to keep her safe and throw herself into the fray, he would look at her like the goddess that she is and be content to simply empower her to do what she needed to do. Steve was never weak or dumbed down for her to be uplifted, rather he was the gentle heart character that carried his own fight within himself.
Getting out of Dodge….or rather No-Man’s-Land
The ragtag group of soldiers that Diana has become a part of find themselves in No-Man’s-Land, unable to aid the village that has become surrounded by German soldiers. When Steve tells Diana that they must leave all the villagers behind for the greater good, Diana decides to don the mark of the true warrior and throw herself into the fight. She lunges forward, fighting off the German soldiers, gritting her teeth under the weight of gun fire. She stands in the gap, working to liberate those around her. I think this is the scene that I could watch again and again. It is the most beautiful blend of a woman defying what she is told to do, a woman fighting for those that cannot defend themselves, a man and his ragtag group at her 6’clock supporting her efforts and fighting alongside her, and a woman self-sacrificing for no other reason save for the fact that something had to be done and she was ready to do something about it.
This film has been etched in my soul and has come at the most perfect time in my life. The intersection that I find myself in is one of reclaiming my own voice and power. In the most recent past, I have found my own fire to feel extinguished. Over the past few months, I have glazed over many of the fiery pieces of my personality. The events that have surrounded me have been too hot in their own way, not needing my own fire to contribute. So instead, over time, I covered up my heart. I tried to not be passionate, instead choosing to calm down my own flames because they were shameful and picked apart. As I watched Wonder Woman, a piece of me flicked on. For a moment, I tasted what it was like to be estactic at the progression of women, to be angered when they were pushed down. I felt the fight for the marginalized turning on in me again. This passion is something that I thought that I had lost, but as I sat inside of the velvety theater watching Diana protect, fight, and defend, I realized that I could become that woman again.
As Wonder Woman continues to play in the theater, I hope that more and more people see it. I hope that women see it, take their daughters to it, and show it off to the men in their lives. I cross my fingers and pray that the women that see it find their voice and that the men that see it also foresee the steps that they can take to help empower the women around them. In my dreams, the men that see this film suddenly find themselves seeing the perceived “bossy” women as powerful, and it becomes the beginning of conversations between individuals.
To Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and every other male and female that worked on this film, praying every step that it would create dialogue and change — know that it has forever etched itself on me and has ignited the fire that I formerly believed to be missing.