Wonder Woman was fantastic. I had the pleasure of seeing it with a few lovely women, and at the end of it they were really excited to see a female hero kick butt and take names and were all pumped up. One of them said, “this must be what guys feel like when they watch super hero movies.” And I couldn’t help but lean over and say “watching this got me as excited as any other really well done super hero movie. I’m ready to try deflecting bullets with my wrists and hitting gods with tanks!” There is an assumption floating around out there that guys can’t relate to female characters, and if that’s what has been holding good female heroes from appearing on the screen or in games, then I want to set the record straight.
Wonder Woman cares for humanity, I care for humanity.
Wonder Woman thinks war is stupid and needs to be stopped, I too feel that way.
She hates that generals sit behind desks and talk cavalierly about collateral damage or the loss of soldiers . . . I too hate that.
I also love, and feel frustration, and hate betrayal, and want to see good in people.
Her being a woman does not make this surprising, challenging or confusing.
It’s almost as if a well developed, strong, fully-functional woman is as interesting as a well developed, strong, fully-functional man.
Is this really that surprising though? A lot of men I know loved Wonder Woman. They didn’t feel threatened or worried or concerned about a strong female role model. Most of us were really excited to see DC finally make a decent movie. I was excited to see one of my favourite DC characters given is a solid film (although the 2009 animated Wonder Woman is also very good). I suspect the larger part of men in Canada actually love, support, care for and uplift the women in their lives. Most of us think that our wives, sisters, mothers, aunts etc. are cool people that speak truth and wisdom into our lives and are super heroes in their own rights. But if you’re reading this and aren’t sure if you can see women as equals, let alone badass super heroes, let me offer you some thoughts from a faith perspective.
God said when he made people, he made them in his image, and then made sure to say that male and female are made in his image. It doesn’t say man is made in God’s image or woman, but together they are. As a man, even at my best day (of which there aren’t that many) I can only reflect God 50%. And a woman on her best day (of which there are probably a lot more) still only reflects the image of God 50%. So, its probably safe to say that humanity reflects God best in concert.
All the stuff that Wonder Woman and I have in common is stuff that does this. All the stuff that Wonder Woman and I don’t have in common probably also moves towards this. So, when I don’t understand the deep longing to see the best in people which Wonder Woman has, that probably helps me to be a better person. When her gentleness seems at odds with her strength, that helps me see that there is a value in softness that I often forget. When she believes in love as the changing force in the world, I’m reminded that my longing to fix everything — whether it’s broken or not — needs to be thoughtful and careful of others. She makes me a better man.
And we see this lived out between Diana and Steve. He has lost his faith, and she helps him find it. When she is losing hers, he reinforces it. She gives hope to their PTSD sniper when she encourages him to sing. Her faith in humanity is shaken when Chief explains that it’s Steve’s people that have made him a profiteer with no land, or Sammy says he’s the wrong colour to be an actor. Yet her willingness to sacrifice for others brings the whole band to care for a village of nobodies and even follow Wonder Woman into certain death despite no reward.
Because of things like this (and her overall awesomeness) Wonder Woman is my hero. I’d wear a T-shirt with her logo on or put her pin on my bag, to say I’ve looked up to her as a hero for a long time, and that this movie reinforced that. I’m very happy that women have a solid super hero role model in film, and I hope that it inspires the industry to make more like it. I’m glad daughters all over the world can feel empowered, but I hope it inspires our sons as well.
As much as our daughters need to see inspiring lead women, our sons need it, too. They need to see that women are strong, independent, functional and at times the best people for the job. They need to realize that they can be inspired by people unlike them. If we are to become a people of equality, then as much as women need to know they have the power to succeed, men need to realize that women have that power, too. And when we nurture it together we can become better people.As much as our daughters need to see inspiring lead women like Wonder Woman, our sons need it, too Click To Tweet
As much as girls struggle to feel powerful without seeing women in power, boys will assume women shouldn’t be in power because they don’t see it. To break systemic misogyny, it takes more than just telling the next generation “this is the wrong way to treat women,” it requires showing how women should be treated. To break down the assumption that women are lesser or weak, we have to show the next generation how they are strong, and then find excitement and joy in that.
Wonder Woman shows us — both men and women— that a woman can be strong, passionate, committed to goodness, impetuous, loving, compassionate and powerful in a beautiful and amazing way. It was entertaining, welcoming, exciting and fun. It wasn’t one of those painfully outdated and boring films you’re forced to watch about equality in the workplace or high school, this was delightful. Wonder Woman made equality look like it made sense and misogyny look bizarre, and that is my favourite thing about it. I hope filmmakers take a cue from this and present more women in lead roles. Maybe we can get a future generation to a place where we won’t need the word feminism to talk about gender equality, we’ll just call that normal.