I went and saw the “Wonder Woman” movie starring Gal Gadot this week with one of my besties and wanted to share a few points on it. After all, this feminist likes to write and, well, I sat and watched the shero for 2 hours and 21 minutes, so I had time to form some opinions. Namely that “Wonder Woman” is a feminist gem, and here’s why.
Women Get Their Spotlight Too
From “Justice League” to “Thor: Ragnarok,” there has been a lot of testosterone on the big screen already in 2017. These are primarily male casts playing manly superheroes. Yes, Wonder Woman is in “Justice League, ” but she’s not the lead role. So when the trailers for Wonder Woman’s self-titled movie began to release on YouTube and TV, I was intrigued.
I wanted to see her take the reins in the lead role of an action movie based on a comic book character. Although I do recognize that “Logan” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” both of which are also 2017 movies with superheroes, have females in them, their roles are not as big as Gal Gadot’s presence in “Wonder Woman.” Heck, the movie’s title is her name; the spotlight can’t get much bigger than that.
So, let’s dig into the plot of the film a bit, shall we?
Diana Prince and Steve Trevor
The movie (no spoilers here, don’t worry) goes right back to when Diana Prince (the secret identity of Wonder Woman) saves Steve Trevor. I like that she rescues him, rather than it being the other way around like so many superhero movies and many of the other flicks and books that have the male playing the hero. There’s none of this in “Wonder Woman” as she doesn’t need a man to save her. Instead, she saves his life after his plane nosedives into the water with him in it. A damsel in distress? Nope.
Then, after examining the conversations and interactions between Diana and Steve in the film, I note that he makes advances at her while she does not return them. Indeed, women have a mind of their own and don’t just go for any guy. Hooray for intelligent women!
Steve does not have control here the way that a man would if the movie reinforced gender stereotypes. Of course, there’s the flip-side where women would rule, but I don’t want to encourage that either. Instead, this feminist see it as a two-way street in any relationship, including a romantic duo. And Steve certainly doesn’t put down Diana the way that Superman often has with Lois Lane (another subject for a future post, perhaps). I’m all for equality, whether it be gender or another attribute.
Oblivious to the Patriarchal System
In this movie, you will see Diana burst into meetings full of men and ignore people around her when they say she cannot do something. Indeed, she comes from another land and knows nothing of the patriarchal happenings of this new-to-her society. These movie moments create many laughs among the viewing audience, but if you look deeper, you’ll see that the movie is questioning why there are still places where only men can go.
Diana doesn’t realize the different expectations society has for her as a woman than for men, and when she is told about this way of being by Steve and others, she doesn’t care. She sticks to her mission to find a certain bad guy (no spoilers, remember?).
Furthermore, her superhero abilities do not waver as her emotions go up and down throughout the movie. Indeed, her powers remain strong. Her loving spirit, including wanting to help injured people during the war or her wanting to hold a baby she sees, add to her character rather than making her seem less.
Wonder Woman Takes on a Battlefield
When she crosses a battlefield with her shield and sword, Diana is battling against what appears to be a never-ending onslaught of bullets. This scene is a pivotal one in the movie, and she’s not about to stop halfway through it. Her determined spirit is obvious.
This scene is a powerful metaphor for a woman’s journey to be all that she can be in a patriarchal society. After all, all of the army shooting bullets in the scene are men. Diana is going, pushing through, in spite of obstacles, and for that I commend her. I think a woman who continues on her path this way, overcoming obstacles with true grit and spirit, is admirable.
About Wonder Woman’s Outfits
That’s right, costume matters. Just ask my friend and Canadian costume designer Resa, and she’ll tell you. The costume designer for 2017’s “Wonder Woman” was Lindy Hemming. Hemming styled the Gal Gadot as a fashion-savvy superhero who was sporty and strong, as well as elegant.
The ensembles reflect the particular movie scene, whether it is a warrior outfit or one for the palace. As Hemming says of the outfit worn by General Antiope (Diana’s aunt), “It made it look like she had hunted and caught animals and made her armor, rather than her being delicate…”
Yes! As feminists, we don’t want to be put into a category of what we must or must not wear as women. Stereotypical costumes? No. Sure, there are pretty outfits in the film, including Diana’s long blue gown, but there is always a strength to her look – in this case, she had the sword down the back of the dress. In other scenes, Diana wears menswear or pencil skirts and shirts that do not show too much skin.
As for her legendary suit, it is revealed in the movie after she sheds a long black coat. I admit this is where I still have an issue. Why does the female superhero wear so much less than male superheroes who reveal almost no skin at all? Seriously, they’re almost completely covered from head to toe! Batman, The Flash, Spiderman… But, on the other hand, I could argue that Gal Gadot has an athletic body and women deserve to be confident in their fitness.
‘Wonder Woman’ Supports Female Empowerment
So, as you can tell from my words above, I think that overall “Wonder Woman” is a feminist film that is worth seeing. It does not encourage gender stereotypes – with the exception of the one costume issue – and I like that the film reveals different levels of the character Diana Prince.
Top photo credit: BagoGames, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.