Hey James Cameron, I love being mansplained to about female iconography in pop culture as much as the next gal, but I’d like to take a moment to let you know how this actually works. I have to admit that when I went into my screening of Wonder Woman, I had some serious reservations. Mainly because DC hadn’t produced a film that I enjoyed since the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight series, and DC’s films, in my opinion, had been pretty hit or miss for years before that. And while I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn is hardly a feminist icon that we’d hope for our daughters to emulate. Don’t get me wrong, I totally identified with Harley as a woman who turned psychotic after falling for the wrong man (Ladies, how many of us can relate to that?), but that’s definitely not a depiction of the best women can be. But Patty Jenkin’s directorial vision of Wonder Woman is. This Wonder Woman is a gift to strong women.
Themiscyra, home to an all-woman race of Amazons led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her badass sister Antiope (Robin Wright) haven’t taken women backwards because they’re beautiful. They show, just as Diana (Gal Gadot) does, that women can be strong and caring, hard but compassionate, relentless but forgiving. They’re amazing with a bow, incredible at throwing knives, deft with a sword, but like Shaolin monks, they are a martial culture only if the need arises. Otherwise, they’re all about living in peace. (Wouldn’t a society run by females be awesome?)
Newsflash, James! A beautiful woman isn’t inherently an object. Objectifying is what the viewer does. So if you failed to see the complexity of these female characters and solely chose to focus on what they looks like, then talk about how you’ve failed as a man and are a product of our patriarchal culture. Look at the flaws in the mirror; don’t project them onto the film.
Because, let me tell you something, James. When Diana emerges for the first time from the clothes she’s been asked to wear by a man in order to appear less “distracting” to men and is in her full Wonder Woman costume and glory, I cried. I couldn’t help it. It was overwhelming. Strong women so rarely get screen time and when they do they’re dismissed as Mary Sues. But Wonder Woman is not about male wish fulfillment. She’s female wish fulfillment. Wonder Woman may be a super hero, but she’s all of us.
She’s every woman who has pushed herself past her physical limit, because women can be stronger than anyone gives them credit.
She is every woman who ever donned a pussy hat and resisted.
She is every women who has been warned, given an explanation, and nevertheless persisted.
A movie such as this has been a long time coming. Is it perfect? Of course not. But often times, perfect can be the enemy of the good or even great. Like any movie, this one isn’t for everyone. But James, if you don’t believe in the beauty and power of femininity in all of its forms, the problem is with you. If you have a limited idea of what women can become or achieve, check yourself. But for those of us who believe that women at any age or size can be intelligent, strong, and beautiful and kick ass all while wearing amazing outfits, this is the movie we’d been waiting for our whole lives.