Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Value and Virtue of the First Wonder Woman Movie
*image credit= Margie Cox (cosplay)*
In case anyone in a position to influence the making of a Wonder Woman movie (or TV series) reads this: If you do not engage the introduction of Wonder Woman in a major motion picture as political and philosophical commentary, then you are doing it wrong.
You would be squandering a significant opportunity for contemporary relevance and profundity innate in this character. Using the “Stranger in a strange land” approach, she provides a perspective of The Other; the outsider looking in, observing various cultures and social mores. WW is an ideal avatar for promoting & exploring women’s issues and civil rights matters. Everything in our world would necessarily be new to her, seen with an almost childlike innocence and detachment.
WW enables us to conduct interesting and insightful self-examination, through commentary on things we take for granted (like how stupid neck ties are, why women have to wear bras and make up), examining common assumptions and habits. Through her eyes, we have a prime mechanism for critiquing Patriarchy, misogyny and white male privilege. Expose hypocrisy, double standards and gender bias. How women get in their own way and empower their own subjugation by knowingly and unconsciously conforming to Patriarch supremacy. With her, we could psychoanalyze mankind and consider the ramification of nature vs nurture. We could challenge preconceptions about history and the monomyth of monoculture. We could inspect News and entertainment media, as well as question the thoughtless proliferation of digital technology. Deconstruct our concepts of civilization and progress. This is her greatest power and strength as a character.
DC president Diane Nelson stated to The Hollywood Reporter that Wonder Woman is "tricky" and "iconic".
Wonder Woman IS a tricky and iconic character to write well, yes. However, she is only tricky because we treat her as such. Not because she is a Woman. But because women characters are so negatively stigmatized. Wonder Woman is only tricky because she IS so iconic. Not just as a superhero, but as a feminist symbol. Most especially as feminist symbol. There is a great deal invested in her, and what she represents… both as a character and as a statement on the viability of Women As Hero. Although I think the issue is being made more complicated that it really is, or needs to be.
As Nelson correctly observed, we DO have to get her right. We must do her right or not at all. Because the success of her movie opens the door to other movies with women heroes or leads. But the failure of her movie shuts that door, interpreted as misguided “proof” that women can’t carry a movie. A proper WW film would dispell that erroneous and malicious myth.
But to interpret this trickiness as WW being too problematic or too risky—as an excuse to NOT produce a Wonder Woman film-- is the fool’s and coward’s choice. That would be our loss, and we lesser for it. Not making this mistake is important for a WW film to get made. A lot of things need to be taken into account creatively. Nelson also rightly noted that there are lots of facets to Wonder Woman, and [I think] the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium?
If you think it cannot be done, then you just are not trying--- suffering an epic fail of imagination.
Posted by Sean Stubblefield at 4:24 PM