My husband took me and our three oldest daughters to the first available screening of the eagerly awaited Wonder Woman last night. Uncertain how this “strong female lead” would be portrayed, we left our younger ones at home while we previewed it.
The film delivered beyond all our highest hopes; therefore, I took the rest of the family to a matinee showing this morning so that they could enjoy and discuss it, too. It is a beautifully told tale of virtue and honor and purpose and passion and sacrifice. Wonder Woman touches on some of the deepest and most powerful truths I’ve seen portrayed on the silver screen in a long, long time and contains, I think, some particularly important lessons for feminists:
- She fully embraces her femininity
While modern day feminists downplay the differences between male and female, Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) displays those distinctions with beauty and grace. Long hair, soft skin, curvaceous figure — she makes no attempt to hide her womanly appearance. In fact, her manner of dress rather accentuates her feminine features.
What’s more, Wonder Woman seems instinctively drawn to babies and is stubbornly intent on protecting innocents — especially children — from harm. In a current cultural climate that equates female empowerment with abortion rights, Diana’s tenderness toward little ones is refreshing (as is the fact the actress herself was pregnant during filming — her bulging belly had to be CGI’d out in the retakes).
- She brings out the best in the men beside her
Modern day feminists act as if they are in competition with men, as if honor and respect are a zero-sum game. Wonder Woman does not belittle or demean men in an attempt to make herself look better. Instead, she draws out the very best in them and inspires those fighting alongside her to be better and braver and nobler than they were before.
Even when, in the wake of personal failure, one team member suggests the others would be better off without him, Diana simply asks, “But then who will sing for us, Charlie?” Rather than deriding him for his weakness, she graciously reassures him that he is still wanted and needed. In doing so, she affirms his dignity, restores his confidence, and strengthens his resolve.
This elevating influence — this ability to encourage, motivate, and energize — has always been one of woman’s greatest strengths. When she wields it effectively, society as a whole benefits. Unfortunately, modern day feminists have traded this ennobling power for a lowest-common-denominator brand of equality that pushes women to adopt man’s basest characteristics, and both sexes have been diminished as a result.
- She accurately appraises her enemy
Modern day feminists have declared war on the opposite sex. They view all men — by virtue of the fact that they are men — as oppressors, rapists, and abusers, and treat them as such. Guilty until proven innocent.
Wonder Woman views men as corruptible, but also redeemable. She knows that the soldiers she fights on the battlefield are not her true enemy. That title belongs to Ares, the god of war. Diana believes that only by defeating this formidable foe can she free mankind from the evil power of his grasp.
- She pursues her purpose with passion
“Stopping the war is our fore-ordinance,” Diana reminds her mother. “As Amazons, it is our destiny.” Wonder Woman does not shy from this destiny, despite the daunting and dangerous task before her. She is fierce but idealistic, powerful yet compassionate. She defends those who cannot defend themselves, although doing so comes at a cost of great personal sacrifice.
Modern day feminism portrays women as a victim class. It thrives on trigger warnings, safe spaces, and self-centeredness. It’s hard to imagine this current generation of snowflakes having enough chutzpah to do anything that requires grit, determination, or self-sacrifice, but maybe Wonder Woman will serve as a strong female role model they so desperately need — one who is genuinely kind, unashamedly feminine, and pays respect to the opposite sex as freely as she receives it.
- She rightly recognizes the role of faith
“It’s not about what you deserve. It’s about what you believe.” Major Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) says it first, and Wonder Woman repeats it later. As a Christian, the truth of this statement especially resonates with me, as does Diana’s final analysis that darkness abides within the heart of every human, and “only love can save the world.”
All three observations are consistent with Biblical truth. Our hearts are dark with sin (Jeremiah 17:9). We deserve death (Romans 6:23), but receive mercy when we put our faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-9) who demonstrated His great love for us by dying in our stead (Romans 5:8), that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). For God is love (1 John 4:8) .