Ever since I watched reruns of Super Friends after school as a child, Wonder Woman has been my favorite super hero. I later watched reruns of the TV series only to love the character even more. She was strong, smart, and changed clothes by turning around—a skill I wish I had when changing for gym. I never understood the invisible plane in Super Friends that did not make her invisible while she was in it, but that did not overshadow my love of Wonder Woman. I have Wonder Woman clothing, books, and graphic novels. As I write this, I am looking at a caricature with myself drawn as Wonder Woman. I am a super fan and I have wanted a Wonder Woman movie for years. Every time a new superhero movie came out, I yearned for a Wonder Woman movie and denounced anyone that said that a woman could not carry a superhero film. So, when the movie was finally announced, I was excited . . . and a little scared. I really like how many women are portrayed in comic books. I often do not like how those same women are portrayed once Hollywood gets its hands on them. Hollywood took the strong anti-villain that is Cat Woman and turned her into a leather-wearing sex kitten (that had nothing to do with the comics, but I digress) seeking to save the world from an evil cosmetic company (because what else would a woman fight against?). I also saw the Baroness of GI Joe become completely weak after the evil chip was taken out of her brain. Evil woman kicks butt and takes names, non-evil woman must be rescued by Duke. So, I took a deep breath, crossed my fingers and went to see the movie about the strongest character in DC universe (and yes, I am including Superman).
What I saw was a wonderful film that did my hero justice. It was not only a great action flick, but a great film about womanhood, feminist men, and learning how to live into your power. As someone whose writing and research focuses on girls, I could not help but think about why every girl should see this movie. So, here are ten things (and there are so many more) things that I want every girl (and woman) to learn that I saw shown in this movie.
1. You may be surprised by your power, but you don’t have to be afraid of it.
As an origin story, much of this movie is about Diana’s self-discovery. She is often seen exploring new things and being surprised by the power she has to climb a wall, block hits, or foster electricity with her bracelet. When Aires throws lightning at her, she harnesses it. She did not know before that moment that she could do that, so she is surprised and really excited to discover her new power. But she never shies away from that power; she walks boldly into it.
2. Clothes can be cute, but it’s more important that it be functional.
Wonder Woman is sometimes seen as over sexualized because of her skimpy outfit, but that outfit is the outfit of a warrior. It allows her to fight. Her bracelets are not accessories; they are weapons. So, when Diana goes shopping because she is told that she needs to cover up, she tries on wonderful clothes that she is unable to fight in and later has to discard those clothes. She has to wear what aids her purpose. And her purpose is not to look pretty; that’s a by-product.
3. Power comes from the Divine within you.
Throughout the telling and retelling of this story, two origin narratives are presented in the movie. In one telling, she is made out of clay and brought to life by the breath of Zeus. In another, she is the child of Zeus and Hippolyta. In both tellings, she comes to life because of the divine and carries a divine image. This divine image makes her special – it is the divine within her that gives her the strength to defeat her foe and love humans that do unlovable things.
4. Love is fierce.
Diana sets out on a journey to kill Aires. She is convinced that ending him will end the world’s problems. She fights on behalf of humans, but Aires tries to convince her that humans are not worth fighting for. He does not believe that humans deserve to be saved or fought for. Diana responds, “It’s not about what you deserve, it’s about what you believe, and I believe in love.” She fights out of love. Love powers her.
- 5. To be your best self, find a community of women.
Women don’t support each other—it’s a common tale told. Thankfully, this has not been my experience. I have often found myself within groups of strong women who support each other, celebrate each other, and encourage each other. Those groups are out there. I wish every girl finds one and embraces the many different ways there are to be a strong woman.
6. Partner up with men that honor your strength.
When Steve and Diana first see danger, Steve goes to shield Diana. Once he realizes that her bracelets stop bullets, she becomes his shield. Again and again, he recognizes that she has strengths that he does not have and he leaves her be. It does not make him any less of man (whatever that means). It makes him a smart warrior. Again and again, he recognizes that she has strengths that he does not have and he figures out how they can all benefit from it. He does not ask her to shrink; he welcomes and applauds her power. This movie is not just about women supporting women and working together. It is also about healthy relationships between women and men. Whether a relationship is romantic or platonic, it is important that relationships with men be healthy. That starts when men support, celebrate, and encourage the women in their lives.
7. You don’t have to choose between Princess and Warrior.
Diana is a princess. Diana is a warrior. She is always both. We also see the Queen kicking some serious tail as well. Too often girls are placed into cookie cutter roles: girly girl, sporty tomboy, precocious over achiever, fashionista, etc. Who says she has to choose? If a girl is allowed to explore who she is without roles being placed upon her, she may find that she is more than one thing, or all of the above.
8. Be true to the call within.
Diana’s mother wants to protect her like every mother does. But her version of keeping Diana safe also keeps her away from her destiny. We need to do what we are called to do—what we are created to do. I believe that everyone has a call—a purpose—for their life. We may choose to live into that or not. I say, be like Diana, live into your call. It may be dangerous, but your life won’t be complete without it.
9. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
As they were going to the front, Diana sees the struggle of a town. It was not their destination. She was told that it was not her fight, but she saw pain, knew she had the power to stop it, so she fought. If we have the power to change something for the better, we should change it.
10. Every outfit looks good with a kick-ass sword.
Hey, accessories make the outfit. So, why not accessories with the most powerful weapon in your arsenal? Diana shows up to a party to find Aires and end him so the war can end. When I see her in a gorgeous gown, I thought, well, guess we had to get the glamour shot. Then the camera pans to the sword on her back and I cheer. It’s called the god killer, but Diana later learns that the power is not in the sword – it’s in her. And as corny as this sounds, I want every girl to know that within her, is power. That power looks different for every one: for some it is quick wit, for another it is a quite intellect, for another it is a caring nature, for another it’s physical prowess. Whatever it is, know that your power is your best accessory.