With the highly anticipated release of the Wonder Woman DVD on September 19th, the wonder woman rage is back. With this new release, the talk about how actress Gal Gadot served for two years in the Israeli army as well as how after September, Patty Jenkins is set to become the highest-paid female director in history have all resurfaced again. Most notable though, is the rhetoric around how feminist people think the movie is. With just one Google search, you can find the overwhelming majority of people believe it is a movie about the power and strength of women, and how timely this movie is in our current societal and cultural state. With our investigative skills, we decided to see whether or not the SJU campus agrees with 90% of the internet. We went around campus and asked people if they saw the Wonder Woman movie, what kind of movie they think it is, and if they think it is feminist or not? Check out their responses below:
What did the SJU Campus Think?
We discovered that on the SJU campus, there are mixed responses to the film. People such as Lauren, Tyler, and Paige are on the same side as the majority of people, they believe that the movie is feminist. Tyler, whom had not even seen the movie, knew that a woman superhero movie would be a feminist film. The talk was around how it was great to see a women idealized in Wonder Woman. Only recently have we received movies with female superheroes and when we did see them, it was with other superheroes that were male, most notably the X-Men and Avengers movies. As Paige talks about in her interview, Wonder Woman is important for young girls out there, to see a strong female who can save the world. The movie depicts a woman who can hold her own in battle and save the world. In her interview, Zoe pointed out the feminist nature of Diana coming from an all female land called Themyscira, where women of all body sizes and skin tones were valued, equalized, and shown as skilled women who did not need men to live. Women were the warriors and Amazons that the Gods created to save the world. There is a very large majority of people who walk out of the movie feeling motivated and empowered from the strong sense of feminism depicted in the movie.
Is it really a Feminist move?
The movie however loses credit of being a feminist film about 30 minutes in when Chris Pines character, Steve, appears. As Zoe and Alim point out, it’s the love interest that kills this movie from ever being considered feminist. *spoilers ahead* Towards the end of the film, the night before they try to kill Ares, Wonder Woman and Steve dance together and she magically falls in love with Steve, cliché I know. They end up making love that night and the movie takes a sudden turn.
Both her attraction to Steve and her sudden head over heels love for him seems rushed and forced. It seemed that Wonder Woman decided to save humanity and see the good in all humans because she loves Steve. It was as if Wonder Woman couldn’t see the good in people without Steve, or without her love for Steve. In one of the final scenes, she is struggling to break free from a trap Aries puts her in. As she is struggling, she looks up and sees Steve die. Only then does she seem to have the strength to break free from her trap and after Aries says that humans like Steve are weak and ugly, she somehow finds the strength that she didn’t have before to fight Aries and destroy him. During the last battle scene, Aries yells, “they (humanity) do not deserve your protection.” To that, Wonder Woman responds by saying “its not about deserve, its about what you believe, and I believe in Love.”
Wonder Woman doesn’t save humanity because she sees the good in it, she saves it because she believed in the power of her and Steve’s love. Before Steve heroically died, he asked her to save the world everyday. In the lasts scene of the movie she says:
“I used to want to save the world, to end war, and bring piece to mankind, then I glimpsed at the darkness that lives within their light and learned that inside everyone of them there will always be both, a choice each must make for themselves, a choice a hero cant make, and now I know that only love can truly save the world, and that is why I stay, I fight, and give for the world I know can be. This is my mission now, forever.” -Wonder Woman
It is disheartening that this powerful woman believes that she must save humanity because of the love of a man. No male superhero decides to be a superhero because of a woman. In the 2002 Spider-Man film, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) starts saving the world and fighting evil after his Uncle turned Dad gets carjacked and killed. After that life-changing event, Peter begins to use his powers to fight injustice. Again in the 2003 movie, Man of Steel, Superman is presented with a fighting suit and was told that he was sent to Earth to guide and help people, not because of his love for a woman. These are just two examples of many, for how male superhero films don’t base their actions on women or the love of a woman, they do it for the good of humanity and to help save the world.
So, have I changed your view of Wonder Woman?
The concept of Wonder Woman is feministic in nature. As the SJU Students pointed out, a powerful woman that has superpowers is iconic, she can be just as strong, capable, and important as any other superhero. But it is also important to give female superheroes important story lines too, not just ones that revolve around the typically woman falls in love with man idea. This movie just shows young girls that even the most powerful woman in the world needs a man’s love to be powerful, which intrinsically is not a feminist idea. We need to be making superhero movies that don’t just have a lead female superhero but also have a feminist story line, unfortunately, Wonder Woman is not that movie.