I went to see Wonder Woman in theaters on Saturday. Have you seen it yet? I had my hopes set pretty high because I’m a big fan of superhero movies, and all week I heard a lot of hype about the film on the radio and from friends. As expected, the movie was amazing, the cast was great, and I was left surprised in the end. I was also pleasantly impressed at the sheer number of empowerment themes in the film. Wonder Woman had both great story telling and a great message, particularly for women. As I was stuffing my face with popcorn (is there really a graceful way to eat it? Thank goodness the lights were off!), I was excitedly planning this article for you, talking about the inspiring lessons from the movie!
Before we jump into the girl power stuff, I’ll tell you a bit about the film. Don’t worry– I won’t spoil it!
The movie starts off introducing young Wonder Woman, Diana. Diana lives on a secluded island in the middle of the ocean. It’s inhabitants: Amazonian women, training for a war against a god–Ares– that they hope they never have to battle. Diana’s Queen mother restricts her from training, so she trains in secret. No one knows that the Amazons exist, until one day a plane plummets through the force field that sheaths the island and crashes into the water. Diana, now grown up, dives into the sea and a rescues a man (!) named Steve Trevor from the wreckage. Using her Lasso of Truth, Diana discovers that Steve is a World War I soldier. She realizes that Ares, the god of war, is likely behind the Great War and urges Steve to take her to the front lines to fight against Ares. The duo team up on a whirlwind trip to Europe where adventure and even some hilarity ensues.
Diana is a hardcore heroine in this film and is a role model for young girls and women alike! Here’s why Wonder Woman is an inspiring example of female empowerment.
1. She is fearless.
The first time we’re introduced to Diana, she’s practicing her blocks from afar. Even though she could get into big trouble, she begins training with her aunt in secret. Diana goes after what she wants regardless of what others may think. When she learns about the Great War, there is no question in Diana’s mind: she’s going to go fight. And not only that, she plans on fighting on the front lines. Even though people doubt her abilities, she proves them wrong with ease by demonstrating her fearlessness.
2. She doesn’t allow anyone to define her.
When Diana wants to fight, she is told that she can’t. In London, she is told to dress a certain way. After she finds her way into a military meeting, she is shooed from the room. But Diana does not allow anyone to tell her who she is. Instead, she defies the stereotypes of what it means to be a woman in the early 20th century. She trains for battle. She sticks her nose up at women’s impractical fashion. When people laugh at her for wanting to battle, she doesn’t only tell them off, but she shows them why they can trust in her to fight better than the rest.
3. She sticks to her beliefs.
When Diana first tells Steve about her beliefs about being molded out of clay by her mother and about a Greek god causing World War I, he laughs at her. At the very least, he is incredulous. It was obvious to her that Steve thought that her beliefs were pretty out there, but she did not allow his opinion to change her. Instead, importantly, Diana considered his opinion. Diana recognized that she was quite literally shielded from the rest of the world, and her belief system could easily be wrong. She considered the evidence and made an informed choice and stuck to her values.
4. She asks for help.
If a superhero can ask for help, we call can! An important part of empowerment is recognizing when to reach out to others, and Diana did just that. She was isolated on a private island and had no idea that a huge war, literally the war to end all wars, was taking place. Although she had many strengths, she didn’t know everything. She collaborated with Steve and many others in order to get the job done.
5. She defends the underprivileged.
At the heart of empowerment is empowering others. Diana’s values, though unpopular, reflected that no innocent lives should be harmed in the war. When innocent people died, she empathized with them. Her chosen allies were a man with PTSD, a Middle Eastern Man, and an American Indian man. She pointed out that Steve’s secretary’s job description sounded like slavery. In her heart, Diana was an advocate for those who needed her most.
6. She finds strength in pain.
When it seemed as if things could not get worse, they did. Diana could have given up, but instead she found her true strength. Diana found purpose through her pain. She used her life experiences to shape not only her own life but countless lives of others for the greater good.
So there you have it! What else stood out to you in this movie? Have any other movies or strong female leads inspired you toward empowerment? Let me know in the comments!