Spider-man, Superman, Iron Man, Batman, Captain America, The Hulk, are some popular superheroes that boys can look up to. They have been created by cinematic geniuses. Yes, girls have had Catwoman, Supergirl, the pink and yellow Power Ranger, Batgirl and Storm. But they weren’t at the front lines enough for many girls to know of their existence. Female superheroes frequently tend to take a backseat when it comes to deep storylines and character development. Super-heroines who do make it into films are generally degraded to sex objects or clichés, with mere attempts made to humanize them.
Enter Wonder Woman- seventy-six years since her debut in DC comics, it was about time there was a superhero film centred on a woman and not just her love life. Why is this a significant moment in cinema?
Well “Wonder Woman” is the actual depiction of Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman herself. Gal Gaddot’s character is portrayed as a person who is awkward, emotional, confident and insecure. She has faith and fear, she can love passionately, but also feels sadness and anger. Not only does she have a beautiful face and a hot body that kicks ass, but also sympathises for people who cannot help themselves and yearns justice and peace. All the while, having a love interest in the movie who is shown to need saving at times. This is a pleasant twist from what we are so accustomed to seeing whereby the woman always needs rescuing. However, notably, the love interest is not the focus as it has been for other female superheroes.
Wonder Woman is a story that women are proud of and see reflections of them in. This is how women want men to see them. The way a boy may have a connection to Superman or Batman is the same link girls and women have seen in Diana Prince. This is the first time girls have been given a relatable superhero to aspire to. From female fairy-tale characters to some passenger seat super heroines, these women were shown to need protection and saving or were merely displayed as accessories or trophies for superheroes to accompany or rescue. Whereas, Wonder Woman has its own take on girl power and conveys that girls can achieve anything and lead anyone!
The movie’s release was received very positively especially by some elementary school children. Here’s what their teacher wrote about how the movie has created a new culture in the classroom.
In an interview with Gal Gaddot and Chris Pine, Chris Pine mentioned, “we were surrounded by beautiful women and all of the husbands would show up with the kids to support all of their wives, which I thought was this awesome flip of the script. It seemed really natural.” The ladies of the cast applauded their husbands for owning their family side and taking care of the children while their wives shot intense battle scenes. According to them, this was the kind of vibe on set, very progressive and empowering.
However, the real girl power began before the movie was even made. Patty Jenkins, the brilliant director behind the lens had a budget of 149 million USD but gained 779.6 million USD at the box office for Wonder Woman. And before all this, was given only 8 million USD as her budget for the movie Monster, but earned 60.4 million USD and won Charlize Theron an Oscar, who at the time was considered a pin-up girl as compared to a serious actress.
Moral of the story- the film industry needs more women in positions of power whether it is female directors, actors or producers. They will make sure to have themselves represented the way they want to be viewed. As beyond our family and friends, we look at people portrayed in films, TV shows, magazines and public life in order to find role models and idols we can aspire to. A character like Wonder Woman speaks volumes to little girls. Girls will change the way they see themselves and as a result, society will change the way it views them.