Wonder Woman” and Patty Jenkins, who was born in 1971, are making headlines. Per Los Angeles Times, Patty Jenkins became the “first female director to helm a major superhero film…” (Villarreal, 2017).
Per IMDb, the weekend of June 16-18, 2017, “Wonder Woman” had made $41.3 million, which brought the gross amount earned at $275.1 million. Per Los Angeles Times “Wonder Woman” had grossed $227 million here in the United States, and over $460 million worldwide. At the time of this article being written, per Box Office Mojo, “Wonder Woman” is ranked 84, with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at number one in the United States.Connie Nielsen, who played Queen Hippolyta, was born in 1965. Robin Write portrayed Antiope, was born in 1966. Anne Wolfe who played Artemis was born in 1971. They showed us that women over 40 do show strength, determination, intelligence, confidence and kick major butt.
While logging into my Facebook account, I saw a meme of “Wonder Woman,” Buffy and Xena. With the phrase, “I’ve never seen a woman this badass on screen before.” Well, they are right with “Wonder Woman.” After all, she is from a race of warrior women created by Zeus to remind the humans of their place, which makes them superior to us mere humans, which he also created. Plus, Diana’s father is Zeus, a Greek God. I don’t think Hercules could defeat Diana. Diana and the other Amazons did a “badass” job on screen. They kicked butt and took names. The movie appeals to all ages of women, not just the young girls. It has me wondering, if it were not for “Wonder Woman,” would we even have Buffy or Xena?
“Wonder Woman” has been around for decades. Per Smithsonian Magazine, Diana made her debut in All-Star Comics at the last part of 1941 with a new comic book via Sensation Comics in 1942. Diana had a rough start, with the National Organization for Decent Literature seeing Diana’s outfit as being “not sufficiently dressed.” On top of that, the stories depicted Diana being in chains or tied up. Many people saw that oppression, cruelty or BDSM. Dorothy Roubicek, the first woman editor at DC Comics, was not too happy with Diana being tortured. Lauretta Bender, a psychiatrist, had a different point of view. She did not think the stories were sadistical or even masochistical. Bender also felt that the stories were uncovering what needed uncovering (Lepore). My thought is that the stories showed that chains and the tortures were a metaphor for oppression. Diana is breaking free of such devices, repeatedly, was a way to show America that times were changing and women no longer needed to feel oppressed, that they too can “break the chains.”
With “Wonder Woman” being a big hit (she was a big hit when I was a kid, thanks to Lynda Carter), we, the older generation, should take the time to show the younger generation these other “badass” women. With the age of the internet and streaming devices and websites, the younger generation is already exposed to Buffy and Xena, after all, they see the same memes I am, and the shows can be seen on Hulu. Maybe they should be introduced to shows like “That Girl,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Julia,” “Maude,” “Alice,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Bewitched,” and “One Day at a Time.” We can show the younger generation about strong women that do not have supernatural powers. Daisy Duke of “The Dukes of Hazzard” can show how women can use their “feminine wiles,” kick butt and drive like a bat out of hell, all while wearing heels.
If you want to get into more “badass;” look no further than Ridley Scott’s “Alien” sagas. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley is top notch “badass.” Another “badass” is Star War’s Princess Leia Organa, later in the series as General Leia Organa, played by Carrie Fisher. They kicked ass without super powers. Okay, if Leia wanted to, she could have kicked ass by using the force.
In the 80s, we could look at some cartoons “badass” women. Take “He-man’s,” Teela, a warrior for her kingdom. Let’s not forget the spinoff of “He-Man” called “She-Ra,” protecting her world from evil. There is Penny from “Inspector Gadget.” Plus, there is Lady Jaye/Scarlett from G.I Joe. With televisions shows we can look at “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Cagney & Lacey.” Movies we have Sarah Connor of “The Terminator” movies and television (2008) series. Some of those shows went from the eighties right into the nineties.
The 90s “badass” women were still alive and kicking butt. There is Buffy Summers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie and television series. Dana Scully of the “X-Files.” Khadijah James from “Living Single.” The Charmed Ones from “Charmed.” Let’s not forget the Warrior Princess of “badass” Xena and her friend Gabrielle.
Now, the 2000’s, some of the above shows are still going strong; some have faded away. We have “Harry Potter’s” Hermione Granger. All the women in the “Kill Bill” series. Lara Croft in the “Tomb Raider” movies and video games. Jane Smith and her team in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Alice in the “Resident Evil” series. Any movie that Michelle Yeoh stars in. Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager (Star Trek). Let’s not forget our favorite females on board “Firefly” and “Serenity.” Plus, two more women that no one should ever miss with are Fiona Glenanne and Madeline (mom) Westen of “Burn Notice.”
Now, we have “Wonder Woman,” “Supergirl,” Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. Rey from “Star Wars,” Brienne of Tarth and the Stark women of “Game of Thrones,” and the list goes on. There are many “badass” women out there, of all ages. They are out there; you just need to know where to look. Each one can encourage a woman at any age, not just the young. Not just in movies and television shows, but in literature and our history. Encourage the young to read literature with strong females and biographies of real life “superheroes” like Joan of Arc, Jane Austen, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall, Anne Frank and many others. Let the encouragement and inspiration start at home with the parents reading to their children or acting out scenes during playtime. After all, the first strong woman, a child sees is his/her mother.
Who has inspired you, and why?