Wonder Woman: The (Mostly) Feminist Superhero We’ve Been Waiting For

The other day my colleagues and I made our way to a screening of Wonder Woman. In a time where movie-goers want better representation of women in film, I was excited to finally see a badass woman superhero on the screen. I grew up watching the Wonder Woman TV series and, although I was excited for this version, I was wary because we all know how badly women superheroes can be portrayed in movies (see Catwoman and Elektra).
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As a woman and a person of color, I grew up hoping to see a little bit of myself in the characters I watched on TV and in movies, but my only role models were Trini, the yellow ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Rita, the villain of the same TV show – because they were both Asian females. But they were nothing like me, and my only other alternatives were the usual Asian sidekick, nerdy math student, or ninja.
I also didn’t care much for Disney princesses as a child. I thought Snow White was not a good listener, terrible at following directions, and didn’t get the whole stranger danger memo that EVERYONE learns when they’re kids. Instead, I drifted toward the villains or the male lead characters because they were strong, independent, and could hold their own without needing someone to swoop in and save them.

Snow White, AKA the worst role model for kids

I just wanted to see a strong woman whom I could relate to. I’ve talked about it before, but on-screen representation matters. Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman,said at the film’s premiere, “I hope Wonder Woman will show girls and boys all the many possibilities of what women can be and what women can do. Women are strong, smart, and loving, and can be in powerful positions the same way as men. It’s so important to have strong female figures, and I hope Wonder Woman will show people that women are equal to men.” If I had watched strong leading characters who were also women, maybe it would’ve helped me be more confident and assertive growing up.
So that brings me to Wonder Woman, the movie. Wonder Woman has gotten a lot of praise, along with the usual bout of misogyny-filled responses (remember the men who were upset at the women-only screenings of the film?).
While it did have some flaws and isn’t the perfect feminist movie, it’s a good start.

*SPOILER ALERT* (Highlight below to read the paragraph)

For one, I could’ve done away with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) being the inspiration for Diana (AKA Wonder Woman) to fight back and save the world after he shows Diana that people are good by sacrificing himself to save others from being killed by a deadly gas. I didn’t mind the love story, because who doesn’t like a little romance, but I’m tired of seeing men, even if they’re not literally saving women, still saving women. Diana was on the brink of being destroyed, but then she thought of Steve, and all of a sudden decided to start fighting back from Aries (the God of War). It was unnecessary.
The one thing that I really like about this film that I don’t often see in films, was that in a movie filled with men, Diana was just as, if not more, smart and capable as Steve and the other men in the film. Too often, you see women leading characters being the smart ones only because they’re surrounded by a bunch of buffoons, which was not the case in this movie. I thought the film did a good job at showcasing equality. Diana and Steve work together, respect each other, and fight side by side. It was nice to see a woman being taken seriously by her male counterparts and I hope to see this more in films.  

*end of spoilers*

And because I’m not the only who was ready for a feminist superhero, here are my favorite reactions to the film.