Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder Woman: The Hero We Need

There are a lot of really good reviews about the new Wonder Woman movie. I really feel no need to replicate them. One thing is clear: this (most excellent) movie has generated a lot of enlightening discussion about how women are portrayed in media.

I posted an article on my Facebook wall last week hoping for some discussion. I was not disappointed. Several friends whose opinions I value* weighed in with some thoughtful if not at times profound observations. Rather than writing a review, I am simply going to let this conversation unfold. (If you want the full effect, you will need to click on the links to read or watch the various links.) Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section!

* * * * * * * * * *
Here is the opening article that started the conversation: 

Can we cheer Wonder Woman as a symbol while being disappointed in it as a movie?

Becky Childs Maybe I'm missing something--she fought to *end* war and save innocents; that's not the same as fighting for the sake of war itself or for power. I do agree about wishing we lived in a world where this movie didn't have to seem groundbreaking.
Anthony Weber I thought the article made a good point about her motivation. Is it really that different from the men's ? At least the good guys? They too want to end suffering. They too wish that war would end. And WW was just as ready to use violence to bring about peace as they were. She did it to end the suffering of the villagers right in front of her; they men did it to end all wars. Couldn't one argue these are complimentary things? I felt like the movie was trying to show that women wage war from compassion and love and men from...well, I don't know. Corrupt hearts because they are men? Because men love violence?I think one could argue that both men and women wage war and long for it to end for the same reasons. 

FWIW, I really liked WW's idealism and nobility. It was refreshing. She's right: she is too good for them. But that idealism also contrasted well with Steve's world-weary but honest realism. In the end they felt like compatible views to me, not contrasting ones. Both had something to offer the other.  I'm still mulling this over.... I may need to see the movie again... 
Becky Childs Sure there are some similarities between WW and the male superhero counterparts (though how similar seems like a case by case comparison). She did strike me as having an extra compassion bone ("Oh, your sharp shooter can't shoot? That's cool, he can sing for us.") I guess it felt dismissive of WW by boiling it down to a gender swap, and what's the big deal anyway? With all due respect to the (male) writer, I am going to throw down the woman card and say there is a piece here you can't appreciate fully. Maybe just let us have this one.  Also, good idea about seeing again to be REALLY sure 
Becky Childs Also I felt like Steve had a heroism that was admirable too--WW had super powers to back her boldness, he did not. His bravery was going into battles with no certainty of winning. ALSO, YOU COULD HAVE SHOT THE PLANE FROM THE GROUND. 😭
Karl Meszaros I think there's a massive difference between Steve's view of the war and WW's view. Steve is against the idea of war. He's concerned with the war in theory. He speaks of millions of people dying. But when he sees people suffering right in front of him, he doesn't really care. I think this true of many superheroes. They do what they do because they have a great responsibility to do so. WW does so not from duty or responsibility, but because she legitimately cares about people. It's one of the most admirable traits anyone can have.