Two weeks ago when I was in Canada, I was listening to the CBC at noon on the radio doing an interview about the new Wonder Woman movie. A caller said how meaningful the movie was to her, how the character inspired her as a child and made her feel that she too was invincible. You could hear the emotion in her voice, and her excitement as she recounted some scenes from the movie and how it made her feel, and how she would take her 11-year-old daughter to see it.
I smiled and thought back to watching Wonder Woman in my own childhood. I never felt any great affiliation for her. In fact, I liked watching the different super heroes but always felt Wonder Woman never had any real special powers. Her wrist bands, her shield, her invisible jet. I don’t know, she seemed a bit weaker to me. And there was the buxom Lynda Carter on the TV show. I think my father enjoyed the show more than I did.
I met the marketing director for iPic in Redmond a few months ago. We chatted about all kinds of stuff and he gave me some free movie passes as I had never been there before. Yesterday, I used them to go to see Wonder Woman with my boyfriend.
I was definitely ready to be entertained by the action film, and I reclined in my premium seating in the 64-person theater, wrapped up in the soft, coffee-colored blanket. The opening scene introduces you to the world of the Amazons, and their values, and their beliefs, and how Diana’s purpose is to destroy Ares, the God of War.
There was something about seeing these women fight. The special effects making them seem so goddess-like themselves. The strength, and capability. And the sheer brute force they used to wipe out the German soldiers. I found myself strangely wanting to be stronger, to be more athletic. I’ve been having a lot of health problems lately, and I just wanted to feel well again, and to get back to my workouts at the gym, and feel like my strong self once more. I also wished I had pushed myself a lot further when I was younger, too.
As the movie progresses, Diana is in a scene in London during WW1 where she has to find some appropriate clothes to blend in. She tries to throw her leg into an Amazon kick in a long dress. Tears it. She can’t balance in the skinny high heels. A high collar is itchy, and uncomfortable. So she ends up dressing exactly like her male colleague, but in a skirt she can move in. Sometimes it’s physically difficult for women to move in this world while trying to fit into society’s concept of being beautiful. I, for one, can’t wear high heels anymore, my feet long since ruined by life.
I think it was the war scenes which really affected me though. Her sidekick Steve Trevor takes her to the front lines; to No Man’s Land. Diana, new to the world of man, is horrified by the brutality and the flagrant disregard for life. She is emotionally overwhelmed and feels the war must be stopped. Steve explains that the soldiers have been trying for months to make progress against the Germans here, but they hadn’t moved an inch. Diana strips down into her Amazon outfit and leaps out of the trenches to take on the German forces herself.
There was something about watching her run alone, her shield out, her wrist bands deflecting the bullets zinging endlessly at her, the black and white background and the debris and dust and dirt flying around her. The intensity of the music and the sounds of war, the endless barrage of bullets, and her pushing forward, compelled by a desire to stop the God of War, to end the needless suffering, to stop all the killing. She was alone, in color, with her little shield and her wrist bands, pushing, pushing. And succeeding. Sometimes as a mother, as a giver of life, my soul feels horrified by the atrocities in this world. I thought about passionately protesting during the nuclear scare in my youth, about my dad fighting in the Korean War, about my friend’s son in the Navy right now, about all the conflict and the death and destruction of our current world. And here was one woman, powered by the concept of love, Super Hero as she is, on a mission to use her powers to stop it.
The intensity of the scene was like watching the opening of “Saving Private Ryan” all over again. My body was trembling with emotion, I tried to muffle my sobs, tears were streaming down my face. Not only because of this overwhelming feeling of hatred for man’s violence against one another, but for being a woman in a man’s world. Sometimes the work environment makes me feel disadvantaged, or that my personal values are not in line with traditional corporate values of making money, and being the dominant dog. But rather doing what is right, and trying to come from a loving place.
Apparently that scene almost didn’t even make it into the movie. The director Patty Jenkins had to fight for it, because no one understood the importance or the significance.
Not only that scene, but the whole movie meant so much to me. So much about motherhood, and integrity, and being a woman, and wanting love to prevail, and standing up for what you believe in, and triumph, and kicking some serious ass in everything you do while also loving ice cream and babies and dressing up for a gala.
I cried so much during this movie. And I felt so inspired afterwards. To be myself, to keep fighting for what I feel is right, to take care of myself, to push myself harder, to love deeper. Whenever I am asked what my favorite movie is, I’m not sure what to say. I don’t think I had a favorite. I do now. How unlikely that I would identify so deeply with the fictional character of Wonder Woman. But after a tough adolescence, traveling the world, going to college, having a career, getting married, having a child, getting divorced, and owning my own business, I don’t know, I guess I’m at an age now where I feel there is a Super Hero in each of us.
When the movie was over, I quietly got my things together. My boyfriend hugged me and asked if I was ok. Normally I gush when I love a movie. But I didn’t want to explain or say anything. There were absolutely no words I could use to try to communicate the experience I had just had. There was no way he would ever be able to understand. The movie somehow demonstrates a difference between the world of men and the world of women.
Doing research for this blog post, I saw a statistic that there was only 1 female super hero to every 4 male ones, and there were no super heroes of color. I wondered why that was. It made me think of the Greek and Roman gods. They had goddesses too; strong female figures. Or the goddesses of Hinduism. Super heroes, it seems to me, are the modern American religion. And there simply should be more female characters. That seems like a positive thing to me.
I texted my 13-year old daughter. I told her to go see Wonder Woman. I told her I would pay for her ticket. She is going today with three friends. I hope she enjoys it and I look forward to talking to her about when I see her after I get back from my business trip. I can’t wait to see the Super Hero she becomes.