I didn’t roll in until almost 2 a.m. Sunday morning. After fighting a really horrific headache most of the day on Saturday, I finally made good on a promise I made to my girl child: we went to see Wonder Woman. The 10 p.m. showing.
I knew this would be a good movie. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was quite unprepared for how inspiring it turned out to be.
I wrote, some time ago, about how my husband had imparted his love for comic books onto both me and my daughter. The lessons of these stories are profound. I’ve been surprised so many times at just how deep they can be. Wonder Woman, I think, now tops my list as the best comic book story I’ve ever seen brought to life on the big screen. And I’ve seen a lot of them.
The movie stars a female lead, and was directed by a woman. Of course these facts alone appealed to my and my daughter’s feminist leanings.
But can a movie about a woman, directed by a woman, come across without looking like it’s trying to make a statement and yet send a message to not just girls and older women, but the whole world, loud and clear?
The answer is a resounding YESSSS.
The demigod Diana is powerful, yet naive in the beginning. She knows of the outside world only from what she has read. She wants to fix all the problems she sees. Becomes distracted from her original mission and reason for coming into the world of men.
She doesn’t know her own strength. Not until she realizes the power, the force that opens up all of her strength, is love.
She doesn’t act superior, but she rises above what convention says a woman should be, do, or say. She doesn’t suppress who she is to make other people comfortable.
Now, perhaps more than ever, our girls need that type of role model. One of the best parts of the entire movie was that I didn’t see Diana apologize a single time. One of the struggles with being a woman, in any era, is the expectation that our strength must be accompanied by a disclaimer. An apology. So as to not hurt the fragile egos of men.
If there was an *unrealistic* flaw in this superhero film, that would be it. Not the fact that she didnt apologize, the reaction of the men to her strength.
In the real world, women are told to “stay back” in so many spoken and unspoken ways. If most of us went forward the way Diana did, we’d be mocked. Scorned. And would gain a reputation as a difficult woman. A nasty woman.
She was mocked a bit, but not much. She was oblivious to it, because of the way she had been raised. With strength. With honor. And that, that is the lesson, I think.
How we raise up our young women is what will ultimately reveal their strengths and keep them from falling into an apologetic way of living out who they are.
Diana, like all children, had a degree of skill from her upbringing, but was ignorant of how it would actually apply to the real world beyond the safety of her home.
But what ultimately mattered, why she was able to tap into her greatest powers, had everything to do with who she was on the inside.
Another poignant message from the film was the notion of helping others, even when, in our own minds, they don’t deserve it.
It’s not about deserve. It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.
Our society is filled with the attitudes of self-centeredness. About letting people get what they “deserve”. The book I’m reading right now, Hillbilly Elegy, made me reflect on those attitudes today. They’re SO enormously prevalent, all around us.
I’ve been on the receiving end of help many times. Even when, maybe especially when, I didn’t “deserve” it.
Seeing people’s humanity, relating to that, and using whatever superpowers we have been given is our duty to our fellow man. It’s not about deserve. It’s about what you believe. And that is a strong message for not just girls, but all of us.