Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wonder Woman- Good for Girls?

As a feminist I have a love-hate relationship with Wonder Woman.  She is fraught with problems but so amazing, too.  With the new release of Wonder Woman (2017) the world is talking about her more than ever.  As much as I want to love Wonder Woman, here are a few unhelpful things she teaches women:
  1. Outlaw Men.  Wonder Woman's world has outlawed men.  This perpetuates the problem of him vs. her without offering solutions on how to live together as equals.  The sister-power thing has some value for me, but the movie downplays the sisterhood stuff a lot (see the great article in Quartz, The New Wonder Woman Movie is Strangely Uninterested in Sisterhood).  
  2. Women Can't Carry Real Weapons.  Wonder Woman may have always been a closet pacifist, but one who carries a whip a la Cat Woman (ok, just a sexy rope).  Her other weapon is the shackles of patriarchy WRIST GUARDS.  That's right.  Her main weapon is her defensive jewelry.  Thankfully, Gal Gadot gets to carry a sword and shield.  It's about time.  To be fair, Wonder Woman has used a lot of different weapons over the years, but her main thing is definitely the rope and bracelets.
  3. Girls Fight Sexy.  My number one beef with Wonder Woman is the same I have with most female action figures or heroes.  They are all sexy and beautiful beyond belief to the standards of Hollywood.  They don't bleed, they give lots of panty and boob shots and they hardly ever sweat.  When will real women be recognized as super heroes?  And when will they show the sweat?  Check out this great article from the NY Times, Women Who Have the Chops (and the Punches and the Kicks. NYT interviews some great women of action films and shares why they do the films they do. Michelle Rodriguez tells us it's hard to find good roles for women because male writers usually kill them off if they're not attached to somebody. Michelle Yeoh shares that she finds value in playing more complex roles showing women who are smart as well as strong. Charlize Theron reminds us to show our bruises. Good stuff. And can I just say- let's see more Ronda Rousey on screen!
So how do we talk to our girls (and your boys) about this? I haven't seen Wonder Women with my super-girls, yet, but I'll let you know how the conversation goes. At our house girls can do anything. They dance, do flips, build space ships, wield swords, wrestle, climb mountains and so much more. I always remind my girls: be strong, be brave, be beautiful you. Girls growing up everywhere, you are my real superheroes.

What do you think about Wonder Woman? Is she empowering women or perpetuating patriarchal problems?
My Little Wonder Women

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