When my roommate asked (OK, begged) me to go see the new Wonder Woman movie, I wasn’t super keen. I’m not really your action movie type of gal, and the whole Marvel/superhero genre has left me a little underwhelmed in recent years.
After convincing me to view the trailer, my roomie fed me a bit of the backstory of Wonder Woman and it piqued my interest. Played by Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman tells the story of young Diana, raised among the Amazonians, a group of powerful female warriors who live on the island of Themyscira. Wonder Woman follows Diana’s journey as she sets out to save mankind from the War God, Aries.
With female director, Patty Jenkins, leading the charge, Wonder Woman is finally given the chance to portray a story that women everywhere can relate to and be proud of. Wonder Woman does what no other female superhero movie has done; it shows how women want men to see them. REAL, STRONG and FIERCE.
I won’t ruin the storyline (or backstory) for you all, because you need to see it for yourself and really relate to it on your own terms. Guys have a never-ending list of superheros to identify with: Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ironman, The Hulk, Aquaman, the Flash so on. Us girls? Aside from some missteps in the 60s (remember Penelope Pitstop from Wacky Races?), we’ve really only got the pink and yellow Power Rangers.
In the few movies where female superheros have appeared, they’ve been moulded to fit clichés, often over sexualised and reliant on their male counterparts to succeed. It’s been 23 years since a female superhero anchored her own movie, and here’s to hoping it doesn’t take another couple of decades for the message to get across.
This is one heroine that I’d love my future kids to aspire to be. In the movie, Wonder Woman is portrayed as strong, fiercely independent and beyond adhering to social norms. She breaks all the stereotypes in showing that you can be both strong and empathetic, and that in fact your empathy and love is your strongest weapon.
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My favourite thing about the entire movie? Wonder Woman isn’t sexualised once. There’s no zoom in on her cleavage, no focus on her bum or remotely sexual panning shot of her toned body. Instead, there are scenes where Wonder Woman shows her immense strength and sheer power. She’s someone that I’m now aspiring to be more like, and I feel every young girl needs to see her for what she is: smart, capable and powerful.
In an interview with We Got This Covered, Gal Gadot discussed how Wonder Woman is like no other superhero. “What I love about her so much that her agenda is love, it’s not about fighting, it’s not about who is stronger than whom; it’s not about women versus men. It’s about love, and acceptance of others. She stands for love, justice and compassion.”
Hollywood has come a long way in recent years in providing strong female role-models, arguably starting with Mulan; the story of a Chinese warrior who took on a male identity to defend her father and bring honour to her family.
Or of Merida, the star of Pixar’s Brave who, “as the first born descendant of Clan DunBroch,” is determined to shoot for her own hand in lieu of an arranged marriage. Or, more recently of Moana – a Polynesian princess that sets sail to discover new lands to secure the future of her society.
Thankfully, gone are the days where little girls had aspired to the traditional portrayal of the Disney Princess; a damsel in distress awaiting a knight in shining armour.
Wonder Woman is a champion to cherish, and a genuine role model for women everywhere. It’s about time other directors also see the value in portraying women as real women.
Have you seen Wonder Woman? Is she a good role model for young women and girls?