The Wonder Woman movie got off to a great start. When I saw the little black girl I felt so represented. My eyes started to tear up because I was in all my emotions. Representation matters.
It wasn’t until the second half of the movie where I realised how the underlying message of the movie is detrimental to the struggle of women but then again the movie is set in the year 1984 and we’ve progressed significantly since then.
Here are a couple of things that unsettled me about the movie.
1. The women’s wishes were tied to men.
Barbra’s wish was for Diana’s beauty and strength. In addition to that, Barbra wished for a superpower of being able to hold the male gaze.
“In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts and in literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the heterosexual male viewer,” – Wikipedia.
We didn’t hear Diana’s exact wish but it was to have Steve back and voila he was back.
2. Women must make sacrifices for the greater good
The whole premise of the movie is that women have to sacrifice their happiness and needs in order to be the heroes. Steve says to Diana, “I can save the day, but you can save the world.” The story about Asteria illustrates my whole case and point. Asteria sacrificed herself for the community’s survival. Where are the men’s sacrifices?
3. There are no consequences for men
Max Lord is the main villain of the movie and yet we never get to see the consequences for his wish. He gets a slap on the wrist, and his simple, “I’m sorry” suffices and he gets to go back to normal. Girls are raised to think of how their consequences affect everyone else but the boys are left to their own devices and a simple, “Boys will be boys.”
Max encountered deteriorating health but that was a side effect of the stone. He made a wish to become the stone but we don’t see explicitly what he gave up in exchange for that wish. Ideally, something would have happened to his son Alistair but hey, children are only a weakness for women.
4. The men’s wishes were centred differently
The men’s wishes were mainly around power, business, finances and family honor. Whereas the women’s wishes were centered around men. This was disturbing because it’s a stereotype that Chimamanda encapsulates when she says, “as women we are expected to aspire to marriage.” Even with the Disney movies, princesses go through the ring of fire just for some dick.
5. Look what the women forfeited for their wishes
Barbra lost her joy, warmth and humanity in exchange for her wish. You’d think that’s what Max Lord would have lost but no. Women are supposed to be the fairer sex, gentle and kind. Their warmth is their superpower. Max Lord was a whole Monkey’s Paw pawn, with bloodshot eyes and insatiable greed but not a word of reprimand about that. Pathetic.
If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s still showing at your nearest Ster Kinekor. If you’re a comic book fan, I’d love to hear your views about this movie and what you thought about it.