Mild spoilers for Wonder Woman lie ahead.
I’ve spent a couple of days now thinking about Wonder Woman and why it affected me so much (and why I feel the need to talk to everyone I see about it). And I think I’ve finally figured out just what it was in the film (apart from the badass fight sequences and impressive effects, of course) that made me come out of that cinema in such a giddy and delighted (and slightly teary) state.
It comes down to this: Diana’s transition into the world of humans brings with it a new and refreshing take on feminism, because she has been raised surrounded by some of the fiercest females in existence and men were the stuff of stories, not reality. They have not shaped her outlook on life. The women who raised her have.
So when Diana and Steve return to the human world, she does not fight against men because she’s tired of being treated like a second class citizen. She does it because the ridiculous logic that men are somehow more important than women, and have more right to be heard than women do, has entirely passed her by.
Why should she wear an outfit that is demure and ‘blends in’ when it’s not practical and she can’t fight in it? Why should she wait behind while the men go forward and fight when she’s more than capable of defending herself? And why would she not go into a meeting just because it’s the done thing to have the ladies wait outside?
None of these things make sense – to her or to feminists everywhere – so she just doesn’t go along with the rules set out for her. She has a purpose and she’s going to do what she can to achieve it. It’s that simple.
She has not learned over the course of her life, as too many girls do, to be ashamed of her body or dress in a way that is designed to not ‘distract’ the men around her. As if their actions are somehow her fault. She is who her mother and auntie have raised her to be. And she doesn’t see the point in hiding that.
Wonder Woman is not a perfect film but it’s pretty damn close, largely because it is an unapologetic celebration of how badass women can be and how much we all can achieve when we’re not pushed aside. It is what a great feminist film should be – empowering, fierce and with characters who are as vulnerable and flawed as they are awesome and determined.
Thanks to what Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins have put together, I came out of that cinema standing just a little taller. And women (and men!) need more of that. Much, much more.