As someone who knew nothing of the Wonder Woman backstory, I was unsure as to what to expect from this DC Comics blockbuster. My expectations were blown out of the water! Surprisingly good acting, strong character development and an entertaining storyline easily held my attention. What really stands out, however, is the message that the film conveys.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman shows us a new type of feminism. Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, is powerful and a fierce fighter. She is also graceful, kind and tenderhearted. She embraces her feminine beauty, using it to her advantage and reveling in the joy of being admired by the opposite sex. Her power lies in her integrity and commitment to protecting what is precious in life: love, kindness, innocence. She draws strength from her romantic relationship with Steve Trevor. It’s clear she does not feel his love or protection suppresses her ability to assert herself. She was more than capable on her own but was made better by his partnership and love.
Modern feminists tell us that in order to be respected and treated “equally,” women must turn their backs on femininity and seek equity, or sameness, with our male counterparts. Feminists cut their hair, reject make-up and all things feminine, and seem to cultivate an aura of toughness. I have seen women berate men for holding a door open, for offering to pick-up the check on a date, and generally treat men as second-class citizens. Some women, such as New York Times writer Maureen Dowd, even go so far as to question whether men are necessary. There seems to be a belief that in order for women to be powerful and strong, men must become less strong — that women must tear men down in order to get ahead.
Wonder Woman shows us that strength does not require cutting off that which makes women so special: our naturally tender hearts. In fact, Wonder Woman is motivated by her compassion and thus moved to action by the plight of those who cannot fight for themselves. Even when she realizes what and who she truly is, she maintains her tender heart, showing mercy to those who don’t deserve it.
She is not without spunk, though. Raised on an island ruled by women, Diana does not understand 20th century society’s view on women. Her initial reaction to life in early 20th century London is comical. Director Patty Jenkins hits all the right notes, highlighting the silly cultural practices that kept women out of public discourse and politics. Few will be able to resist laughing at Diana’s questions about corsets and her characterization of Etta’s job. Etta, of course, is Wonder Woman’s close friend and sidekick.
Prior to the the women’s suffrage movements in England and the USA, there was much about society that was unfair and I am glad that things changed. However, to keep propagating the myth of pervasive misogyny is preposterous! The only thing holding us back is ourselves. Victimhood is no recipe for success.
The legend of Wonder Woman offers an alternative narrative to that put forth by progressive liberal activists. The Left tells us that we should take to the streets in ridiculous pink hats, relinquish our femininity, and show hostility toward men simply because they are men. Wonder Woman shows us that this is not the way to achieve greatness. We do not need to be like men to be powerful forces for good in the world. We can be beautiful, feminine, and strong.
Rather than striving to be like men, we should appreciate the ways the sexes complement one another. In this movie, Steve Trevor complements Diana, making her stronger, braver, and wiser. We would be wise to appreciate the ways our male counterparts complement us. Men and women possess unique and complementary gifts that, when used together, have the power to create a rich culture and enact positive change.
DC Comics and Patty Jenkins hit it out of the park with Wonder Woman. She challenges us to be courageous and compassionate, giving voice to the voiceless and leading with love. She is a true heroine, breathing life into a new generation of feminism — Feminism 2.o, if you will. If Wonder Woman embodies the new face of feminism, sign me up! What woman wouldn’t want to be seen as strong, independent, courageous, compassionate, and beautiful?
Editor’s note: SCENES originally published this article on June 5, 2017.