Wonder Woman fails as an empowering feminist trope.

At least it does in my opinion.

We were a family of four for most of the weekend and our twins wanted to see the new Wonder Woman flick. I was curious about it more than anything, and Benevolent Dictator went along in the interest of togetherness. He was tired, needed a nap, and slept (literally) through half the film.  Of course he has been known to doze during films he attends solely because his girls desire his proximity. This is no way offends us.

But I digress.

One would assume, given the feminist hype and press surrounding this film, that it’s a patriarchy crushing, glass ceiling shattering romp to make the suffragettes turn to one another in their graves and fist bump. One would be wrong. If there was ever a film which exemplifies the idea of feminists grasping at straws for evidence of an empowered woman, this is it.

Oh yeah..spoiler alert.

Despite the reports of grown women crying with joy during Wonder Woman’s fight scenes, there really is nothing novel here. Wonder woman is hardly a new character after all, and there have been other movies with strong, kick butt, human women in the leading roles. Those films were mostly far fetched drivel which received less commerical hype, but at least they fulfill the empowered woman trope.

How does the stellar fighting ability of the female progeny of Hippolyta, Queen of the [mythical] Amazons and Zeus, King of the [mythical] Greek gods in any way translate into something an average girls can aspire to? A goddess is portrayed as powerful.  Perhaps I am missing something because I left the theater telling my husband, “I didn’t get it”.

Despite The Guardian’s going on about Wonder Woman’s questionable sexual orientation, the central theme of her awakening is the love story between her and Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. The only slight hint of anything resembling what this article implied was Diana Prince’s revelation that her sexual education (acquired through books on her island homeland) revealed that men while men are vital for procreation, they are not necessarily needed for pleasure. This is human sexuality 101, not female empowerment.

It makes you wonder, if this is what the film makers really wanted to convey, why Diana Prince and Steve Trevor spend a night together as a pivotal moment when their love is “sealed”, given that they were not married and procreation was not the intended aim. If she does not believe men are necessary for pleasure, and she does not want a child, what is the point of their union? It just smacked of more grasping at straws in an attempt to give professional SIW the nod they demand from Warner Brothers and DC Comics.

There are the obligatory scenes to reveal what ife was like for women in government and military settings at the dawn of the 20th century. Again, no new ground was tilled here, and it was nothing that you don’t see in any number of movies set in the early half of the 20th century.

The denoument, however, is where the feminist trope really breaks down. As Diana Prince/Wonder Woman comes to terms with the reality of human nature, she has a choice to make about who she wants to be in this complex human world. It isn’t her personal convictions or strength which drive her to make the right decision.

Rather, the audience gets to go back with her through memories of her moments with Steve, the wisdom he imparted to her, and the love he shared with her before heroically sacrificing himself to save the lives of thousands of people and instigate a moment so pivotal it turns the war toward it’s much needed end. In other words, it was the love a good (not to mention well above average) man which saves Diana from the despair that threatened to overtake her as she comes to terms with human corruption.

Like I said before, as celebratory feminist characters go, this one falls far short. They’d have done better to revamp Thelma and Louise with younger actresses.

Lest I am understood, and for those who don’t know, I have a healthy disdain for feminism and no desire to sit through a film which celebrates the notion of women empowered apart from men because girl power. As such, I was rather pleased that this movie is not at all what the left leaning press portrayed it to be.

The film itself was pretty well done. From an artistic standpoint, the visuals were nice and according to my comic book loving daughter, it stayed true to the original character. Gal Gadot is stunning, as any actress playing Wonder Woman would have to be.

The love scene between Diana Prince and Steve Trevor was reminiscent of the way it was done in eras of more propriety.  In other words, even though you know what happened, you weren’t subjected to the assault of having to watch it.

There is one scene where Chris Pine is 80% naked (not a sex scene, but still). Be warned if you’re tempted to take younger children because it’s a super hero film. DC Comics films are usually edgier than Marvel films anyway as a general rule.

If you’re looking for girl power you’ll find plenty of it, but it’s tempered. Diana Prince gushes over babies, relishes the taste of ice cream, and falls madly in love with a handsome hero. While she may not need him for physical protection,  Wonder Woman is not portrayed as a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.

I was reminded of fight scenes where one fighter taunts another with the question: “Is that all you’ve got?”

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10 thoughts on “Wonder Woman fails as an empowering feminist trope.

  1. Oh, so it’s truly classically Wonder Woman? Good to hear, I loved WW when I was a girl. Used to get the comics, even had the underoos. (Do you remember underoos?)

    The Classical (mythical) Amazons clearly understood the trade-off of not having males around. You remember the classical Amazons, who cut one of their breasts off for archery? Who fight fiercely – and yet live somewhere hidden? Who give up their boy babies to surrounding tribes? They have given up men, and it COST THEM.

    If you’re going to give up men, if you’re going to take that role, prepare to pony up and take it as it comes.

    I wouldn’t mind today’s feminists if they’d get back to that. I wouldn’t join, but at least I could take them seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes I remember underoos. Not as familiar with the original WW comics. The portrayal of the character here would only be seen as a role model to a delusional woman, LOL.

    But I agree with you that feminism is hard to take seriously precisely because the logical conclusions of its most radical tenets are denied. And the feminist hoopla over this movie just amplifies that. I will have to read up on the Amazons because there are a couple of bits you mentioned that I was unaware of.

    I suppose it’s human nature though to want all the benefits of so called freedom but none of the drawbacks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked WW because she was very powerful, within interesting and random limits. Like, did you know she lost her awesome super strength if she ever let a man tie her up with that lasso of hers? In other words – live like other women, have the power of other women. She had a woman’s heart but understood sacrifice and commitment to a cause. She didn’t dis moms or married ladies, either. It was a lonely existence, but honorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good review!

    Here’s a piece of trivia for you… Years ago, when my husband and I lived in a small suburb of Sydney, on the main street of our little suburb was a little old Greek man, probably in his late 80s.
    He had a little shoe repair shop, but he was always up for a good chat. I put shoes in with him to mend once, and he did a fantastic job.
    Anyway, this little old man made the original Wonder Woman’s boots! He had all these newspaper clippings and photos stuck around his shop.
    So there you go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Given the take on this character that we both grew up with, and even considering the movie that I saw this weekend, it’s unfortunate that the left-leaning, feminist, LGBTQ…. media went to such lengths to portray it as something more in line with post modern deviances and sensibilities because it was nothing of the sort.

    It was similar to what happened with Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t go and see that one but my SIL did, and she makes a point of NOT following news and current events. On purpose. So she hadn’t heard any of the gay publicity surrounding the film when she went to see it. I didn’t mention it to her until after she’d seen it because I wanted to get her take.

    She was stunned at the gay press the movie got. Even as a strong believer with high moral standards, she was fine with the movie. The two flashes of hints at something were not lost on her, but she said there was nothing there that should have been controversial at that level nor did she think very many children would have even noticed them. They were very subtle and even more fleeting (like a half a second flash of a facial expression).

    All that to say, there is an overt push to pre-market entertainment to certain cnstituencies even it’s dishonest advertising.

    Oh, and I saw several groups of men together to see the movie (with NO females accompanying them) so the attempt to market this as a chick flick also fell flat.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If you had told me 30 years back that the new feminist icon would be a woman running around in a stylized corset, I would have thought you were out of your mind. :^)

    On a similar light note, I’m guessing that Yaron Versano is glad the producers didn’t take the Amazon thing super-seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If you had told me 30 years back that the new feminist icon would be a woman running around in a stylized corset, I would have thought you were out of your mind.

    LOL. Well done, Bike.

    Like

  8. If you had told me 30 years back that the new feminist icon would be a woman running around in a stylized corset, I would have thought you were out of your mind. :^)

    Oh hahahaha, Bike! There is a line in that movie that goes perfectly with your comment 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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