I’m hopeful that by now all of you have seen DC’s first major female led superhero feature film at least once. Even if you’re not a comic movie fan, Wonder Woman deserves every dollar and every second of your spare time. Patty Jenkins’s directorial masterpiece and Gal Gadot’s lasso of serous feminist truth is the most inspiring thing you’ll see on any screen this year. Hell, it’s the most inspiring thing I might have ever seen. I wept. I laughed. I walked out of the theater energized over this unhinged, unbridled celebration of the female sex.
The first 30 minutes of Wonder Woman introduces us to the powerful, perfect Amazons of Themyscira, a place where the landscape is only have as stunning as the strong creatures who inhabit it. Women in Themyscira do not need men. Women in Themyscira live together in all colors, shapes, sizes, and ages, blissfully unaware that there is a standard of beauty placed upon women by society and men where mankind lives.
The fiercest warrior in Themyscira just happens to be a woman who is proud of her age, what she’s seen, and doesn’t once try to hide the lines that time and battle has beautifully carved into the corners of her eyes. Antiope (the enchanting Robin Wright), is a fearless general, a mentor, and a loving aunt. These women train and fight and prepare one another not in competition, but to encourage each other and better themselves to provide protection and solace as a unit against outside threats to their peaceful oasis.
And as these women fight and die for one another, to keep their community safe, one woman, Diana Prince, decides to leave to save a world of humans who don’t believe in her or one another. Diana Prince has hope for a culture who is hopeless, and has belief in a people who don’t believe a word she says. In a time on this planet where we are becoming the destruction of our own race, where we wake up each day and tear one another down behind the safe haven of a screen, and where we refuse to believe who someone says they are just because it might not match up with what we’re accustomed to, we need Wonder Woman more than ever.
As Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor accurately stated while he and Wonder Woman sailed across the sea straight into the destruction of humankind: no man is capable of stopping this Great War. But behind every man there is usually a women who is actually the man who can. She is the man who can decide what she does with her own body. She is the man who deserves an equal pay. She is also the man who should be able to determine whether or not she is, in fact, a man or a woman.
Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the rest of the Wonder Women show us what it means to take ownership of ourselves as the heroes we really are. We don’t have to sit down and shut up when a man thinks that if we try to fight, we will lose. We have the strength to stand up for ourselves and to protect those we love without asking permission. We also don’t possess these soft curves and sinewy muscles simply to serve up a salacious sight for the male gaze.
When Wonder Woman lands her first superhero leap of the film, her taut, fiercely powerful thighs jiggle slightly, and it’s absolutely glorious. Do you know how many times I’ve changed out of shorts before leaving my house in the dead heat of summer because I didn’t want people to see my thighs jiggle as I walked down the street? Or how paranoid I get to put on a bikini during seasons when those same thighs touch one another, slightly chafing as I walk? Those aren’t instincts, they’re insecurities learned from decades of photo shop and edits that scalp every interpreted imperfection for the benefit of a man’s ideal sexual fantasy.
Well not anymore, because strength isn’t defined by a thigh gap or a size zero waistline. Sexiness isn’t all perky breasts, high heels, and fish net stockings. Power doesn’t come from speaking little and staying still.
Sexy lies in the confidence of those tiny crows feet in the corner of eyes that have seen the pain in the world and tried to heal it. Strength is when your thighs jiggle because you’re using them to lift someone up instead of kicking them when you’re down. Power is when you persist even when you’re told something is impossible.
We are all Wonder Woman, and we are the men who can.