Wonder Woman Helps Change The Status Quo For Females Everywhere

Wonder Woman Helps Change The Status Quo For Females Everywhere

You see her as strong and fearless, but you also see her vulnerable and naïve. You see her develop as a human and as a god.
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Warning: If you have not yet seen the film, there are spoilers in the following article, and I urge you to get to your closest cinema immediately to see it for yourself.

Now, I don’t usually write movie reviews, but when I do, it’s because there was something phenomenal about them. I could gush and prattle on and on regarding everything I loved about “Wonder Woman”, but I will spare the internet.

This was such an important film. I don’t know about you, but I grow tired of the overly sexualized and one-dimensional heroines and female leads in movies. In the last few years, characters like Katniss, “X-Men”’s Storm and Jean Grey and Netflix’s “Supergirl” have emerged as strong female characters in the genre.

My favorite heroine to date?

Wonder Woman.

In the year of the historic Women’s March on Washington, a time when many threats are being made to women’s rights and healthcare, the world needs a female superhero and that superhero is Wonder Woman.

The film has far reaching implications for feminism, but I will break them down into three points: the love interest, wardrobe and character.

About her love interest:

Chris Pine plays military spy Steve Trevor, a man who finds himself washed ashore an island of Amazonian Women. Through their journey to man’s world to end the war and defeat the god Mercury, the two fall in love.

Though perhaps a tad cliché, their romance is not central to the plot of the movie, you don’t even see them have sex, which by today’s movie standards is rare--unlike films like “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and others that have strong female leads, but the focus of the story is primarily about their love life.

“Wonder Woman” focuses on Diana Prince, or at least that's how she is referred to in the world of man, who later becomes Wonder Woman.

In his piece for Vox, writer Alex Abad-Santos explains Trevor’s role in relation to the protagonist, “If we go by the traditional superhero movie rubric, Steve Trevor is the Jane Foster to Prince’s Thor, the Pepper Potts to her Iron Man, the Lois Lane to her Superman. But he’s more fully realized than any of those superhero girlfriends get to be”.

You get a sense right away, from the moment Prince discovers Trevor drowning, that something is going to happen between them. From the time that Trevor explains marriage and the implications at that time of sleeping next to someone without having tied the knot to a celebratory dance in the snow leading to their first kiss.

He teaches her about the good, bad and ugly that is the world of man, and I don’t mean mansplaining.

Created from clay and raised on an island of warrior women, Prince knew nothing of mankind. And though her questions befuddle Trevor at times, they develop a playful tête-à-tête.

Because of the character’s naivete, it would have been a mistake for actor Gal Gadot to play her as ditsy or simple minded, but instead, she is portrayed as curious.

Though their romance may be cut short by Trevor’s final selfless act in the film, it was well done. The movie was about Prince finding her own strength, learning her own capabilities as half-human and half-god.

Too often in movies and in real life women are defined by their relation to men and I feel as though “Wonder Woman” avoided that successfully.

Let’s talk wardrobe…

This is the Wonder Woman from the 1970s.

This is the Wonder Woman from the modern era.

Some may miss the 1970’s cape and leotard that screamed “for beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain” – or something- but what Gal Gadot’s character dons in the new movie is armor. What used to be a tiara is now a headdress.

The costume designer for “Batman V. Superman” — where we see Wonder Woman for the first time on screen — Michael Wilkinson, drew inspiration for her wardrobe from Greek and Roman warriors and gladiators.

We didn’t need another slinky, bustier and a close-up shot panning up her body so the world can see how hot she is. Yes, she’s sexy, but her attractiveness comes from her physical and inner strength.

Wonder Woman hails from an island of Amazonian women who spend their days learning how to be strong.

Costume, hair and makeup designer Lindy Hemming explains her vision for the film in an interview with Flickering Myth.

“Amazonian warriors look like strong, powerful women. That's why I decided to create the mohawks and keep everyone's hair in a tight plait. They're meant to be like gladiators in training,” said Hemming.

The movie even pokes fun at a fashion accessory intended to squeeze your ribs and organs together to make women smaller and resemble the small-waisted ideal society has put on a pedestal for so long: the corset.

It can be argued that what Wonder Woman wears is similarly shaped to a bustier or a corset, but the intentions and implications are vastly different.

The focus needed to be on Wonder Woman and the Amazon’s strength, not their sex appeal, and the film did it right.

For over half a century female leads have been lost looking for Kansas, and there have been some pretty spectacular exceptions to that, but the majority have been portrayed as one-dimensional and frankly, pathetic.

“Wonder Women” is helping change that status quo.

When it comes down to it, women are fierce and fearless, but we’re also capable of empathy, nurturing and emotional intelligence. Wonder Woman is superhuman in her belief in the goodness of mankind.

Though she is a god with enough strength to knock out an entire building and emerge from the rubble without so much as a scratch, she is also capable of limitless amounts of love.

She sees human suffering and dives into the frontlines of a battlefield to stop it. And when she is faced with the worst side of humanity she chooses to see the possibility for good.

You see her fall in love and watch loved ones die.

You see her as strong and fearless, but you also see her vulnerable and naïve.

You see her develop as a human and as a god.

Zoe Williams sums up Wonder Woman’s feminist role in film and society in her opinion piece featured in "The Guardian", “Yes, she is sort of naked a lot of the time, but this isn’t objectification so much as a cultural reset: having thighs, actual thighs you can kick things with, not thighs that look like arms, is a feminist act. The whole Prince myth, women safeguarding the world from male violence not with nurture but with better violence, is a feminist act. Casting Robin Wright as Wonder Woman’s aunt, re-imagining the battle-axe as a battler, with an axe, is a feminist act. A female German chemist trying to destroy humans (in the shape of Dr. Poison, a proto-Mengele before Nazism existed) might be the most feminist act of all”.

Prince is the personification of strength. From the way she holds herself to her boldness taking on impossible odds to stand up for the greater good, and those are just her human qualities.

Wonder Woman is a superhero for young men and women to look up to. She’s the hero we all need.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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Intersectionality, Why Inclusion Is Important

Western feminism often ignores the perspective and efforts of women of color.
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Virginia Woolf once said, ”As a woman, I have no country; as a woman my country is the whole world.” What she probably did not recognize as a white, privileged European woman is that where someone comes from, what their culture is, what their faith, what their ethnic background is, are all key factors in defining what they view as significant to them and their experience navigating through life.

The brand of white, Western feminism often looks over and imposes their own agendas and superiority complexes onto women of color, ignoring intersectionality and politics of location. This leads to misconceptions being spread about the female experience in other countries, as well as the attempting to legitimize white superiority through disparagement of women of color.

Western feminism often ignores the perspective and efforts of women of color. Awareness of this ignorance came about during the 1960s and 1970s, during the second wave of feminism. Many pictures and texts characterized the second wave as predominantly middle-class white women while ignoring and “whitewashing” the efforts of women of color. This “whitewashing” occurred due to the fact that women of color, particularly black women, were not prominent figures in white feminist organization and when this was noticed, the argument was made that,” ... women of color ... chiefly Black women—were less relatively deprived vis-a-vis the men in their communities than were white women."

This argument was made without asking Black women, nor devolving beyond white feminist organization during the second wave. These ignored activists were Black women and Latin American women (who called themselves Chicanas) who fought for issues that directly affected their communities such as discrimination based not only on gender but also on race and class, introducing the foundation for intersectionality, which established that an individual can be oppressed by multiple aspects of his/her identity.

Western feminism victimized foreign women and foreign practices in order to elevate themselves. Western feminism arises in the 1800s concurrently with the expansion of colonialism. European colonists often used the status and treatment of women in societies in Africa, China, and Indian to justify the invasion and the belief that Caucasian and Christianity were superior to all other races and faiths.

For instance, in 1829, British colonist outlawed the practice of Sati, the practice of widows burning themselves during their husband’s funeral, in India, claiming it was “barbaric.” The British did not consult Indian women on their sentiments on the practice, nor did they learn the context of the practice. In fact, Sati, which was a ritual not required in Hinduism and limited to upper caste members, became more spread as an act of rebellion.

Western feminism took similar appalled stances on Kenya’s female genital mutilation and China’s foot binding, allowing them to create a self-serving narrative that made foreign women of color into victims of patriarchy and it elevated Western feminists to saviors, coining themselves “mothers of the race.

This is why “politics of location,” the effect of location and/or culture on the experience and values of an individual, is significant to the defining what qualifies as liberation for a woman. Women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East would later coin this inferior opinion of Western women as “feminist orientalism” and argued that the view that the female experience in the West is superior is ignorant.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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