Most fans of the superhero universe are always leaning towards the all mighty Superman who is a pillar of righteousness, Batman with his endless efforts to rid the world of evil, and numerous other ripped and powerful men saving the world from the clutches of evil. In a world ruled by men, when the majority of men in the political arena are trying to dismantle and discharge women in society and drag everyone 100 years backwards, Wonder Woman could not have come at a better time to save the day.
Last October, Wonder Woman was named a United Nations honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women. Last December, due to a petition of 45,000 signatures, her role was cut short. The argument was referring to her outfit and overall appearance which was inappropriate (which was an excuse), but mainly, that the empowerment role should be held by a real woman. There is an agreement that this role should be held by a real woman, especially for such important role, but an “honorary” ambassador, unlike a goodwill ambassador, is traditionally created for fictional characters. Fictional characters have the ability to cross borders that real people cannot. Their accessibility and interest to children help spread important goals to younger generations and this was already done before with Winnie the Pooh being an honorary ambassador for friendship in 1998 and Tinkerbell was an honorary ambassador of environmental awareness in 2009.
Historically speaking, Wonder Woman was created with female empowerment in mind during WWII by William Moulton Marston, an American psychologist, lie detector inventor, and women’s rights advocate. Wonder Woman’s American flag outfit was of course a propaganda at that time and demonstrated her emancipation from fashion conformity. She became a beacon for the “We Can Do It” message alongside Rosie the Riveter. Wonder Woman was the first female character to really break through in the newly emerging superhero age and was outselling Superman and Batman, her fellow peers, even until this very day.
During the second wave of feminism in the 1970’s, Gloria Steinem personally chose Wonder Woman as the perfect role model to grace the cover of the first issue Ms. Magazine. Being inspired by Wonder Woman as a child, she knew her message was still be potent. It was not long after the cover that Wonder Woman became the first female lead action adventure series starring the talented and stunning Lynda Carter. 2017 brings Wonder Woman to the big screen for the first time, starring the Israeli actress Gal Gadot, in the first female lead movie of the modern superhero era. Although she was the first and her imagery still remains iconic, 75 years after her creation, Wonder Woman may now officially join the ranks of many empowered female characters she opened the door for originally such as Ripley, Sarah Connor, Xena, Buffy and the list goes on.
If we take a closer look at Wonder Woman 2017, gone is the American flag motif and replaced by a Grecian style battle tunic, representative of her Grecian heritage. On one hand, it seems that all Wonder Woman’s history, progress during the years and her cultural heritage were completely ignored, on the other hand, this is not as bad as it may sound. Looking at the bigger picture, Wonder Woman is no longer “All American” but more “Universal”. By understanding that the character can now have a meaning to millions of people and not only for the American people in particular, the initiative of creating the superhero in this way is incredibly positive. Knowing the origins of Diana, a peacekeeper and protector of all, fits the role. In the comics, Wonder Woman is an ambassadorial role and has been so for decades.
On a more personal note, after watching the film during the weekend, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, Gal Gadot (who plays Wonder Woman), performed beautifully in the film directed by Patty Jenkins. What differentiates Wonder Woman from most other superheroes is that instead of her being bitter and angsty due to past experiences, her personality allows for a range of emotions that makes the film extremely good. There is a wide range of emotions which can switch from humor and romance to determination and grimness.
In addition to all that has been said, Wonder Woman is a refreshing film to watch, especially due to the current political ambiance and the continuous unceasing struggle to achieve equality.