Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins are My New Lady Crushes

The seats reclined. Be jealous.

I am a mother who last had time away from her loud lovely children three years ago. As excited as I was about heading to South Bend (See previous post) for nearly four days, I was on a mission to do a few other things:

- have a beer
- eat my meal at a restaurant while it was still hot
- find a Target and walk around by myself
- catch Wonder Woman on the big screen

Check, check, check, and let me grab a drink or five while I spend an entire night telling you all about  it.

I grew up around comics, DC and Marvel alike. I grew up with scantily clad women superheroes drawn in poses that are laughable. I loved these characters, but this film has simply outgrown that vision.

I want to talk about the wonderful world we get to see on screen when you have a female director for a female superhero film.

An island of women. There is no wrong or right way to be: they are women. They love. They fear. They fight. They care and nurture. They long and feel arousal. They mourn. They seek purpose and run towards it.

On this island, women are warriors. They lead and they train. They create clothing that honors the movement of their bodies, allowing for limbs to move and bend with purpose. The clothing is beautiful with purpose, not sexualization.

A man appears and a woman saves him. There's no hesitation or competition, it's just the right thing to do.

We are transported to this island, and to a place where a confident, self-aware, has never had a reason to doubt herself woman first comes in contact with a man and what happens?


Diana did not have to grow up distrusting. We see a man hit on her and she merely puts her hand out to refuse and we hear a firm "No" without fear or repercussion.

A particularly moving scene for me was seeing Diana experience attraction. She was capable of expressing her interest and in this world, she could wordlessly offer consent, be aroused, and act on those feelings. We see a woman uninhibited by the restraints our broken world has placed on women and it is damn beautiful.

We see men respect her and show their loyalty to her because of her fierce drive to do good and carry out her purpose. We see Steve willing to be an equal partner.

This film is not a simple comic book spin on superheroes and myths. It truly explores the "what if" of feminism in a beautiful way. In this instance, we have a female director that doesn't thrust men down to empower women, but instead they are equals. We see the growth of genuine love, not gratuitous sex. We have costume design that makes sense, not sex, showing the strength and power of a woman's body.

We are given a female hero that is feminine and a warrior. Diana says 'no' to power and 'yes' to good (*ahem* Mary). She's comfortable in her own skin. She has opinions and plans. She's a leader with purpose. She fights injustice. She feels. She protects and loves the innocent (and guilty?). She mourns and shows fear. She is a sexual being. She persevered. We were given a female hero that shows us a well-rounded example of feminine genius.

While the film is in no way meant to be theological, we see social justice themes. Sacrificial love abounds.

I want to be Diana. Or Gal Gadot... I'll get back to you on that one.

Early in the film, young Diana wears a determined smile. It's a smile I want to see on the face of my daughters. Maybe me as well.

Pretend this is a photo from the film, used with permission.

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