Yesterday I went to the cinema to see Wonder Woman. Two weeks after the rest of the world had a chance to see Diana in action, my country finally started showing the film. I was curious as it got great reviews. I am not going to say I hoped it was better than other DC films. Let’s be honest, that is not an accomplishment. Suicide Squad was completely different (in a bad way) than the trailers implied. I did not even go to see Batman vs. Superman (and apparently I missed nothing). The reason why I wanted Wonder Woman to succeed was because it is the first female superhero film in god knows how many years. The last one was Catwoman. Let’s all forget that one exists, shall we?
Women at the box office
Right, so Catwoman was released in 2004. It flopped, obviously, which meant that in the last 13 years, no female-led superhero films were made. Apparently when studios make bad choices regarding female superheroes, it means that all other female superheroes do not get a shot at box-office success. The plot of Catwoman revolved around anti-age products, because obviously that is what women wanted to see. Wrong. It was about time that a female superhero who actually kicks ass took centre stage. Luckily, Wonder Woman accomplishes just that. With a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Wonder Woman made $274,601,730 at the box office world wide. This proves that females can bring in the cash at the box office and still be more than just eye candy for men.
Why is this important?
The sole reason why this is important is empowerment. While I was watching the film, I felt like I could be just as strong as Diana and kick ass when needed to. Hell, I was ready to go out there and save the world. For the first time in a long while, I did not look at a woman on screen and assume that I had to be pretty. Or that men had to do all the hard work so I would not break my nails. While a character as Black Widow is also bad ass, she was pushed aside in favour of the male avengers. It was also a challenge to find any Black Widow merchandise. Same for Rey. While she is not a superhero, she did actually lead the film. But all merchandise was focused on Kylo Ren and the other male characters.
Besides the fact that Wonder Woman empowered women from my age, it is equally if not more important that it empowers little girls. I saw a couple of young girls in the audience. It made me happy because they were shown that they don’t have to be the damsel in distress. In fact, in Wonder Woman, Diana is the one who continuously saves the asses of the male characters. They are infinitely grateful to her for doing so, which shows that men don’t always have to save the day either. This film shows young girls that they can be powerful and it shows young boys that they don’t always have to be the tough guy. It shows that they can be emotional too and work together with women. In other words, it shows what true equality can look like.
What makes Wonder Woman such a powerful film?
In the film, Diana has to deal with plenty of misogyny. This can be blamed on the time-period this film was set in (around 1918). However, instead of submitting herself to the prejudice, she fights it. It probably helps that she was raised on an island with only female warriors. She doesn’t understand why those leaders sit on their asses while soldiers die on the battle field. Diana has an obsession with making the world a better place, but is shocked to witness the horrors of what mankind can do to each other. While this film is set about a hundred years ago, it is still relevant today. Because let’s be honest, we are still fighting for no reason at all. If only we had a Wonder Woman to save the day.
A woman directed this film and that is very obvious. While all female warriors are gorgeous and sexy and fierce, the emphasis is on fierce. It shows that as a woman, you can be all of those things. The film obviously has most of the men drool over Diana, but she is not interested in that shit. She’s here to save the world, thank you very much. When one of the men asks for a picture of her beautiful face, she claps back saying he doesn’t need one, as she is coming to the front. Suck on that. While in the beginning, Steve (Chris Pine) still tries to protect her, she ends up saving him all of the time. If I had a daughter, I would definitely show her this film, just so she could see that she doesn’t have to be whatever the media or men want her to be.
A theatre-chain in Austin, Texas wanted to celebrate the release of Wonder Woman by hosting a special screening for women only. Shortly after the announcement, the facebook page of the theatre was flooded by angry men, demanding a men-only showing.
The theatre handled the situation in the best way imaginable, but these men failed to see one important thing. This indeed had nothing to do with equality. Instead, this had everything to do with celebrating a strong female character who finally has her own feature film. For so long, women had to take a back-seat and watch films featuring mostly white men who saved the day. It’s not often we get to go see a film that actually represents our gender as a superhero. It’s not often that when there actually is a female superhero, she’s a well-rounded character with a great backstory. For the same reason that black people are looking forward to truly being represented in a superhero film in the upcoming Black Panther, women were looking forward to seeing this film. I find it shocking that something as simple as a female-only showing triggers these males in such an extent.
Perhaps it is shocking for these men that there is a film which actually says that men are not necessarily needed for women to survive. Maybe that is perceived as threatening. Men, and specifically white men, have enjoyed almost exclusive representation in film up until now. Just because Wonder Woman is set in 1918 doesn’t mean it isn’t still relevant today. Women still get paid less than men for the same work. In some countries, women are still seen as the lesser gender. And even in the Western world, there are still plenty of men who claim women cannot be superheroes. We keep feeding our children the same ideas every single day. Boys have to be tough and can’t cry. Girls have to be cute and pretty. Hell, the world is still ruled by white men who dictate to women wht they can and can’t do with their bodies. And that is exactly why Wonder Woman is so incredibly important. The issues shown in the film are not solved. Women still face it every single day. So can we please have a film that puts a strong woman in a positive light without men feeling the need to break it down? To demand equality? If this is the way you think, you know nothing about equality.
Girls run the world
It is not all backlash that makes the world go round. I saw the following post on Patty Jenkins’ twitter page. She is the director of the film. When I read this, it warmed my heart:
My producer just sent me this… ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! This makes every hard day worth it. Thank you to whomever wrote it!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/3DzIaMueIh
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) 11 juni 2017
This is what it is all about. Instead of forcing little girls to fit into the stereotype of what girls should be according to men, we have to show them that they can be warriors. It is of vital importance that they learn that they can take care of themselves. They don’t need a man to save them. Instead, they should be able to fight alongside men to make the world a better place.
I am so happy that Wonder Woman has turned out to be such a big success. If only for the sake of women and young girls everywhere. Hopefully Wonder Woman paved the way for other female superheroes to save our planet in their own feature films. Because that is exactly what women and girls deserve.