Wonder Woman: A Feel Piece
(Contains Spoilers. Lots and lots.)
Because she works at the Louvre, doing somethingsomethingsomething with exquisite rare objects while rocking a sharp-ass pencil skirt.
Because she wears a lot of red, yet she is not a harlot.
Because, praise the Lady, they gave Gal Gadot wedges, not stilettos.
Because “How can a woman fight in this?” indeed.
Because one of her weapons is Truth.
Because I got to watch a group of women gathering to teach each other, train each other, sharpen their skills. Communing. Co-operating.
Because HELL YES HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST to celebrating the link between females that is about sisterhood, family, friendship, solidarity (though if you want to read some Sapphic undertones there, by all means, knock yer rocks off).
Because their beauty was a majestic beauty. Not pretty. Not sultry. Not passive. Regal and gleaming and full of grace.
Because Robin. Fucking. Wright.
Because Leia, Katniss, Hermione, Buffy, Ripley, Moana, Rey, Jyn are all wonderful. But they are not enough.
Because most epic stories feature male leads, plain and simple.
Because sometimes —pretty much always, lately— I want my heroes to be heroines. To have grand, Campbellian adventures where they leave their homes and make soul-searching choices and vanquish enemies and have stakes that are really fucking high.
Because Jesus, Buddha, Batman, Beowulf, Odysseus, Frodo, Huck, and Holden are only half the Story, and they only ever were.
Because there was one day in my childhood when our Temple switched our prayer books from ones that used the word “He” to ones that simply used the word “God.” Just like that, all of the pronouns turned gender-neutral. And I remember what an impression it made on me: to know that I, too, could embody the divine.
Because she is a version of Artemis, deity of the moon, the wild, the hunt. A Goddess. A virgin, in the original sense of the word which has nothing to do with sexuality, but simply meant “belonging to no man.” A woman self-possessed.
Because Chris Pine was the nekkidest thing in the whole movie. He was objectified, and we gazed at him, and it was Fun.
Because I need that bathtub. (CP is optional).
Because we don’t know what happens in the room with dude that night, but we know it seemed to go rather well, and that it is gravy, cause she knew how to get hers on her own anyway. Because their connection is genuine and born of mutual respect.
Because you know what? I, too, would freak out, had I never seen a baby or eaten ice cream before. And so would you, so shushamouth.
Because even though she was outspoken and improperly dressed for the time and place she landed in, there was relatively little of the “Who does she think she is?!?!” beard-clutching that I am sick to death of watching a woman have to overcome whenever she shows her aptitude on screen.
Because it is all too rare to see a story about female excellence wherein the people (i.e. men) around her quickly and easily acknowledge said excellence.
Because yes, I also cried when she fought. But the moment that nearly broke me in half with sobs was when Chris Pine yelled “Shield!” and the men gathered together in one bent cluster for her to ricochet off of. Because I have rarely witnessed a group of men voluntarily propel a woman upwards. They helped her rise above them, because they knew she was the best being (human or otherwise) for the job.
Because when they did that, they, too, were strong. The strength that comes with egolessness, with wisdom. With being of service to something greater than oneself.
Because when it ended, I insisted on staying until the very last credit, even though I was forewarned that there were no extra scenes. So thank you, film boards of Quebec and New Zealand. You did a really great thing here.
Because I couldn’t speak for an hour afterwards. I was drained and supercharged at once.
Because I stood on the R train platform, ping-ponging between the column and my husband’s arms. Shaking and still, shaking and still.
Because he knew not to ask me “So, what did you think?” And made space for silence and my own interior conversation.
Because when I was finally ready to talk at our apartment later, sitting on our bed with the cats, he listened while I spewed and blubbered and seared the ceiling with my reactions. And because when I was finally done, he knew to ask, “Is it OK if I share some of my thoughts, too?” And because his perspective was insightful — and succinct.
Because after that, I forced myself to do exercises that are difficult but necessary for me to do, after a year and a half of pain management treatment for ailments that are still not OK enough. Because after seeing it, and her, there was no way I was giving myself a pass.
Because I was so nervous about this movie. The pressure, the expectation, the unfairness of the impossibly high standards it had to live up to.
Because it lived up to them anyway.
Because Patty. Fucking. Jenkins.
Because every man I know who saw this movie loved it, too.
Because fuck you, Marvel.
Because even though she is otherworldly and exotic, she still feels American. And I am starved for a shining image of America/Columbia/Liberty right now, even if it’s only flickering in the dark of a theater.
Because Hillary Clinton. Yeah. I fucking said it.
Because she knows the world doesn’t deserve her, and because she wears her crown with pride.
Because she is what the poet Ted Berrigan called “Feminine marvelous and tough.”
Because she is compassionate and honorable, but takes absolutely no shit.
Because she is brilliant. And because she is so good and so Good.
Because she is Love incarnate. Not the smooshy, frilly, filmy kind. The kind that counts: fierce and clear-eyed and unflagging, even when things get ugly. Especially when things get ugly.
Because watching a female protagonist strive to live up to her fullest potential is the most inspiring thing I can possibly imagine.
Because I can barely remember any of the dudes’ names. But I will always remember Diana.