Why The Wonder Woman Movie Is So Important Right Now
Wonder Woman is the #1 movie in the world. It is surpassing industry box office expectations. I, personally, have seen the film six times since it opened last Thursday. Is it just because we finally have a good female superhero film? No. That’s just icing on the cake. Wait???!! What??!! Let me explain.
Diana was born a hero. Not because of how, but because of who she is. As a child she snuck away from her tutor to watch the Amazons fight. When her mother, Queen Hippolyta forbid her from training, Diana snuck into the shadows to train with the greatest General in the history of the Amazons, her Aunt Antiope. She knew she was destined for great things. She refused to be stifled from what she knew she was meant to do. The more her mother fought to protect her from the world, the harder Diana fought to protect herself, and ultimately those who could not fight for themselves.
On her journey into the war with Steve Trevor, a man she rescued from the ocean with her bare hands, Steve becomes her guide into the world of man. He literally takes her hands, instructing her what is right and wrong, according to his sense of morality in the world he comes from. Diana learns and grows from constantly being told not to do things she instinctively does. She has no sense of fear because she was not raised to believe she was “less” than or unequal to others. She does not submit to the gender expectations of the time, because she was not raised with the concept of gender difference.
By the time she truly reveals herself in the War as Wonder Woman, she does so as a final push against being told she can do nothing to stop the horrors she sees. Steve says, “It’s not what we’re here to do.” She responds, “But it’s what I’m going to do.” Wonder Woman is not about deflecting bullets, punching, kicking and hitting people with a sword. Sure, that’s part of the excitement of the film, and allows us all to project our inner hero onto the screen. The real power of Wonder Woman comes from watching Diana stay true to herself in spite of all the attempts by well-meaning family members, friends, and a partner/love interest to protect her from the big bad world. No matter how many times she is told to stand back, not fight, or hide, she remains steadfast in her strength of who she is. THAT is what makes her a hero. That is why we cheer. Because we feel like we have a voice and the power to make a difference. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. She’s exactly who we need right now. And I, for one, am so happy to have her.
Micky Small is a graduate student in Digital Media and Performance at Arizona State University by day, and building a production company with original female superheroes by night. Follow her @femmepwrdprod
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