“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
— Shirley Chisholm
Earlier today I was on the hunt for a good quote about rants. Something to describe those few opinions everyone has, often times unpopular opinions, that you just can’t ignore when they’re brought up.
I thought ranting was the word for this, but I don’t think it is.
And now I don’t think I’m a fan of the act of ranting at all.
It seems that ranting is on the same plain as complaining. Am I complaining when I passionately talk about something that I felt an adverse reaction to? I don’t think so. I’ll have to spend some time in the future searching for a more appropriate term for this.
Each of us has a strong opinion on something that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. It’s the type of opinion that we’re excited about, because it makes us feel unique and smart. Like we’re teaching someone something new and life changing.
One of my favorite strongly held opinions is about the recent Wonder Woman movie.
I, like most of the world, was beyond excited to finally see women being recognized as more than a love interest or sidekick in a very male run genre. Everything leading up to it insinuating that this would be such a positive, feminist, inspiring movie and character for children to idolize all added to my excitement.
This all ended about half an hour into the movie.
I went to see Wonder Woman with a friend, and spent the entire time wishing I didn’t because all I wanted to do was walk out of that theater and ask for a refund.
Obviously, I understood that they couldn’t avoid males in the story line, and I definitely don’t think they should’ve. I just think that if Wonder Woman was a guy, Chris Pine’s character (Steve) wouldn’t have had such an important role in the film. And that grated on my nerves from the moment he showed up in the movie.
Throughout the length of the film, I kept thinking “It’ll get better. She’ll save the day, and that’s what matters. That’s what makes it a story of female empowerment.”
None of that ever happened.
Instead, Wonder Woman was just another female character made to depend on the male from the moment they entered the storyline. I felt that under Steve’s guide, Wonder Woman was idolized and viewed under a very male centric gaze. She was the ‘other’. The alien.
The cherry on top of the cake was the ending.
In the end, Steve (who should’ve had a less important sidekick or love interest role) saved the day in an off-handed way that I’m sure the writers and producers were hoping movie goers wouldn’t notice. The idea that he had to be the one to make the big sacrifice in the name of giving Wonder Woman strength was ridiculous. Like she, this character that they spent the whole film establishing as this stronger than natural woman, could only muster up the power to kick the villain’s ass because Steve gave her the power to do it.
Because, no woman could ever be kick ass without any influence from a man, right?
I don’t buy it. It’s not feminist, and it’s not inspiring to anyone.
Part of my disappointment could’ve been avoided had I done some more research on the Wonder Woman story before I went to see the movie, something I definitely did in excess after.
I knew that there would be some outdated views of what a strong woman looked like — as the story was created and set in the 40s — and I’m all for recognizing and giving praise to all great figures fighting for gender equality. I appreciate Wonder Woman for all she did for women in the 1940s.
But, this isn’t the 1940s.
We don’t need movies depicting feminism as it was almost 80 years ago. We need strong female characters who inhabit and teach what it means to be a strong woman in our current time.
To me, this is not a rant.
It’s the capturing of the feeling of disappointment, and a wish for stronger female characters in the future.
I’m not irrationally angered by Wonder Woman and all she stands for. I’m not complaining or whining. I’m firmly sharing an adverse reaction that I had as a result of an ill-informed advertisement.
I found Shirley Chisholm’s quote in place of the original quote I had been searching for, and I feel that it is much more fitting in what I’m attempting to get across here.
I feel very strongly about my opinion of the Wonder Woman movie. It’s an opinion that I feel is important for others to know, in hopes that the next movie featuring a female superhero will not be such a disappointment.
We don’t need anymore of that.
What we do need more of? Recognition for real women like Shirley Chisholm.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American female politician to hold a seat in the congress. She was also the first Woman AND African American to run for president as a part of one of the two major political parties.
During her run for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, and I’m sure for most of the rest of her career both leading up and following this quest, Shirley was heavily discriminated against. She wasn’t allowed to participate in any primary debates, and was only allowed to make one public speech.
Do you think Shirley achieved all that by “standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining”?
That’s a hard no. She definitely did not. Her following, known as the ‘Chisholm Trail’, supported her till the end, and she lasted through 12 primaries and received 10% of the delegates’ votes.
That doesn’t seem like anything, but in the face of all the hardships she went through during that election, it definitely was a very large something.