by Olivia Morrison
Like a lot of girls, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of superhero movies. They were always long and unrealistic, making it arduous for me to sit through. I was never interested in watching a bunch of heroes save the day, get the glory and win over the token “damsel in distress.” Maybe that’s because I never felt represented in the same way as boys have been. That is until I saw Wonder Woman, the first superhero movie in which I found myself fully invested in from start to finish.
Batman, Spider-Man,Thor and Iron Man are just a sampling of the long list of superheroes that have recently been made into movies. For the most part, superhero film industries have targeted boys, effectively leaving girls out of the opportunity to feel empowering entertainment. Now, thanks to female director Patty Jenkins, women and girls finally have a superhero they can connect with and be proud of.
Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) has a fierce on-screen presence. Having been raised on an island of female warriors, she does not adhere to the various patriarchal pressures that she runs into throughout the film. She is unapologetically assertive and acts on her own moral compass, which is driven by her love and respect for life.
Unlike the stereotypes that many female comic characters have been deduced to, Wonder Woman is no sex object. Yes, she’s beautiful and she fights in a tight-fitting costume, but it doesn’t come across in the same hypersexualized way that we see in other superhero characters such as Catwoman and Harley Quinn. And yes, she develops a love interest with the leading male role, Spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), but this relationship is certainly not driving the story.
After the historic Women’s March in January, the relevance of this film in today’s society is paramount. The ascendance of a powerful female leader in the entertainment industry is a necessary step toward equality, and Wonder Woman isn’t the only movie that has realized this. Just within the past year and a half we have seen powerful female leads in movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One, but such representation cannot stop there. We need to see more powerful female superheroes like Wonder Woman because, let’s face it, we still haven’t seen enough women portrayed in this way for it to be the norm.
Wonder Woman is an empowering movie, but simply having some representation of powerful women in mainstream entertainment doesn’t mean that we as a society have overcome sexism. When I was in the movie theater watching this film, much of the audience laughed every time Diana did something typical of a male superhero. And this is a problem because when I hear “Wonder Woman,” I think superhero, but when other people hear those words, I’m not so sure they all think the same thing.