In high school, one of my best friends and I decided somewhat spontaneously to join kickboxing. I'm not exactly sure what inspired this decision, but we tried out the class and immediately both realized we really liked it. It was a class focused in self-defense, and with neither one of us having a martial arts background, we were starting pretty much from the ground up. Yet we both loved being able to push ourselves physically, to learn skills that really felt empowering, and continue to build on them, even when it wasn't easy. It was also completely true that even though the class was mostly guys, we weren't treated any differently because we were girls- there were no 'girl' pushups, you would be paired up with any guy there, and definitely not be let off easy or treated any differently. And it was a really awesome experience, even when we failed and weren't as good as others there, to know that eventually we would be, and we would have earned it. I feel like that experience is something that is important as a girl, to understand your strengths and abilities, and not sell yourself short or always ask for help because you know you can get it.
Having a movie that showcases this sort of strength is really important, in my opinion, and Wonder Woman definitely does that. I've never been much of a superhero person. Don't get me wrong, I like me some Spiderman as much as the next person, but it's just not really a huge deal to me when a new movie comes out. So, when my friends were all super stoked to go see Wonder Woman, I was up for going to go see it, but honestly kind of expected it to be just another superhero movie with somewhat unrealistic plot and lots of cool special effects. However, I was unexpectedly surprised, in the most positive way possible.
Talking about the movie afterwards, my friends and I realized that there really is a large shortage of women superheroes. For a little girl, there aren't movies coming out every year about women with incredible strength and courage, in the same way that there have been for men: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Avengers... Several of us expressed that as we watched the Amazon women training, full of such strength and incredible stamina and courage, that we realized we didn't often feel this same sense of pride and inspiration when watching other movies. Even when there are women characters, and often important ones, they simply aren't portrayed in this same strong way. And I hope that this is the start of change. This shouldn't be something unusual, or even something particularly noteworthy- there should lots of movies where women are portrayed in this way, if for no other reason than that young girls deserve to have a superhero to look up to and identify with, just like young boys do. Demonstrating that they can save themselves, and not fall into the mentality that girls are incapable of these sorts of things, I think is incredibly important.
Obviously, the movie wasn't perfect, but on the whole, I greatly appreciated it. I am excited by the gradual change in women's roles in entertainment, particularly thinking of Hidden Figures which came out not too long ago. I hope women will continue to be be portrayed as intelligent, strong, and independent, instead of simply being hot or supportive. Although obviously there are a plethora of issues with entertainment and representation straight across the board, it is encouraging to at least see a few things beginning to change.
(Now that school is out, go watch Wonder Woman!)