“Wonder Woman” and The Feminine Hero: A Movie Worth Watching
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I recently watched the new movie, Wonder Woman, and to my surprise, it was an explosion of truth. I’m not sure what the comics say about her, what the intent of the author was, or what the intent of the director was, but the film spoke so many levels of truth, and the one I want to focus on is that of femininity.
Wonder Woman represented beautifully what the feminine genius is. I’d like to share with you a few reasons why I found this movie so awesome, and I’ll do so using three quotes from a couple of Greats in the Church.
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1. Women See with the Heart
“Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them” – Pope St. John Paul II
What struck me about Diana (Wonder Woman) was how her heart cried out for mankind. Her whole mission was to get to the heart of the War, where the battle was at its worst. When she gets there, she arrives at a village where she meets a woman who says they have been enslaved. Upon entering the village she sees tortured animals, a child crying for his mother, wounded soldiers lying on the sidelines.
Her heart instantly breaks for these people, and she’s quick to jump into action. But Steve, her male counterpart, stops her and says there’s no time to save everyone. Throughout this scene, Steve is constantly telling her she can’t save everyone, almost implying they’re in an impossible situation – there’s no getting past No Man’s Land. There’s another part where Diana is shocked at the violence the men are so drawn to, how they’re determined to fight to the end out of hatred for one another. She expresses her concern to Steve and how they have to do something about this, but he tells her, “Maybe some people are just bad,” again implying that they’re in an impossible situation. But every time, Diana refuses to give up. When Steve says, “we can’t save them all,” she replies “that’s what I’m gonna do,” and she runs into battle. When Steve says it’s a hopeless cause trying to save these men from their evil actions, she refuses to let that be the end. She refuses to give up on mankind because she knows they are being corrupted (by Aries). She knows that deep down they are still good. She was able to see their intrinsic worth when everyone else only wanted to see the evil they had done. St. JP II teaches that women have an innate sensitivity to see the goodness of the human person, and you can see that so clearly in Diana’s example. She shows the true beauty and gift of the heart of the woman.
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2. Women See Beyond Utility
“In all these areas, a greater presence of women in society will prove most valuable, for it will help manifest the contradictions present when society is organized solely according to the criteria of efficiency and productivity…” – Pope St. John Paul II
What St. John Paul II is saying here is that when men are put in charge, things are organized by efficiency and productivity, but when women come into play, we see something else. He says women “bring the richness of [their] sensitivity, [their] intuitiveness, [their] generosity, and fidelity.” They see beyond productivity and efficiency. With the corruption of mankind, Steve saw little reason to save people because they appear to no longer offer anything good. But Diana saw more than that, she saw more than their evil actions; she saw goodness beyond productivity and efficiency. And what I mostly wanted to point out about this was a specific moment when one of the men on her team wants to give up because of how afraid he was in the last battle, how he appeared to not be as strong or useful, and how because of that he almost seemed to hold them back, thus making him less efficient and productive for the betterment of the team.
Diana’s response was, “But, Charlie, who would sing for us?” I just love that! She saw worth that most people wouldn’t see, wouldn’t deem worthy and necessary. She saw his specific gifts, the goodness of his heart and recognized that even in his weakness, he still had value and a role to play. That’s so beautiful and something so unique to women. We don’t just see the strict skills needed for a certain task, we don’t just see if someone checks everything off a check list. We see the beauty of their heart, their unique gifts, their particular strengths… at least we have a uniquely stronger capacity to do that.
3. Women Inspire Men
“To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness – the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” – Venerable Fulton Sheen
Finally, one of my absolute favorite parts was when Diana ran into No Man’s Land. Just as she was ready to run in, Steve explained that it’s called No Man’s Land because no man makes it past the enemy lines. Once you enter the battlefield you’re pretty much shot dead. However, this does not discourage her in the least bit.
As predicted she was shot at right away, but Diana had no fear, no hesitation, she just went forward with all she had. Much to their surprise she was kept safe. She was strong and brave and able to hold her own ground. In that moment the rest of her team, which was made up of men, looked at each other and were not just encouraged but were called on by her heroic actions, and then jumped into battle right behind her. It was Diana’s bravery and devotion to “truth, justice, and goodness,” that called her team on to be better men, stronger men, to be men of greater courage. Diana’s strength didn’t demean her men, but rather it spurred them on, it held them accountable and even empowered them to be greater, to be the men they were called to be.
I loved Wonder Woman because she was a feminine hero. She was a hero without having to become manly. She was still beautiful, still wore clothes that fit and complemented her body type. She didn’t try to look or act like a man. She didn’t hide the sensitivity of her heart. One of my other favorite parts was literally one moment that could easily be overlooked; in fact, it was probably mostly for comic relief. When she arrived to the city and got all dressed up to look more professional, as they’re walking to the offices, she gets distracted and says, “A baby!!!” and almost instinctively goes straight for the baby, but of course Steve said there was no time for that. And though he was right, I just love that DC didn’t take that feminine side out of her, because what woman can resist a cutie patootie baby? I just love that they didn’t compromise her femininity in order to make her a hero. Even when they explain the creation story of the Amazon Women! They say Zeus created them because the world needed peace and love, and the Amazon Women would provide that, which is such the feminine heart! But that wasn’t their only job. They were also created to protect! Which, yes, typically is a masculine feature, but there is also a certain fierceness in the heart of a woman that will stop at nothing to protect her children, be it biological or spiritual.
I love Wonder Woman because she’s a hero who embraces her femininity. And that didn’t mean being anti-men! Which I feel like is so crucial because in feminism today there’s like two extremes. First, in order for women to have equal pay and equal treatment, they feel they have to act like a man. They have to be tough and ruthless, and they even have to dress like a guy, the whole power suit and shoulder pads thing (not to say there’s anything wrong with a woman in pants, but I’m just saying that was started so women could better fit in with men). And second, in order to affirm the strength and gift of womanhood, they feel they have to put down men, degrade them and make them feel almost useless, like they’re in the way of women (which is ironic because that’s the exact attitude we fight against for women). So it’s like we either totally imitate men to exert fairness or we declare they’re basically useless, and we can do it all without them to illustrate our true strength. But the truth is, as St. JP II said, “Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the “human” as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way…Man and woman share equal responsibility from the start.” In other words, man needs woman just as much as woman needs man, and Diana totally recognizes that! She recognizes their importance and how much she needs them to win this battle. She never once resists the idea of having to work with men on her team.
Finally, my absolute favorite line was when Aries was trying to convince Diana of the uselessness of mankind because of how horrible they are, how evil and full of hate they are. He tries to convince her that it’s better they destroy them because they don’t deserve gods like them, they don’t deserve to be saved and cared for. And Diana’s response (which is actually inspired by Steve, hence the complementarity) goes, “They’re everything you say and so much more. It’s not about what they deserve. It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.” Boom baby! No matter what, for the sake of love, a love we’re all called to, a love that is full of truth, beauty, and goodness, a love that is full of mercy, hope, and life, in the name of Love, mankind is worth defending, saving, and redeeming. Boom. Freaking. Baby. Wonder Woman is an unexpected, beautiful example of the feminine genius because even in her strength and heroism, she brings a heart that is tender, compassionate, fierce, and unrelentingly loving and ready to fight for the goodness of mankind’s heart.
Overall, this is an awesome movie for our times and you should go see it! #femininefreakinggenius
All Glory to God through Mary!
This post originally appeared on Mariel’s blog: http://lovefollowsknowledge.tumblr.com/