Wonder Woman: Inspiration and Pain and Moving Forward

Wonder Woman. So many reactions to this movie.  And for me, the movie itself has not only inspired the Feels, but the reactions to the movie have as well, good and bad.

Wonder Woman

 

Most reactions that I see are inspiring and wonderful, such as this list of reactions from students in a Kindergarten class, or this awesome video of a woman inspired to play like Wonder Woman and kicking imaginary butt.  The garden hose bit gives me endless joy.

I see all of the people uplifted and inspired by this movie and it makes my heart sing.

There have also been negative reactions too.  Some, as one would expect, from men who just don’t get it (or feel somehow threatened in their worldview).  But also criticisms from women who felt the movie misstepped with hurtful exclusions or stereotyping, or was too narrow in its feminism.

I posted before about how I wished we could have more “Yes, And” rather than “Yes, But.”
I see “Yes, and” in the reactions to the Wonder Woman movie like the Bazaar piece, and I find that as inspiring as the movie itself.  Because how we talk about issues even in a Wonder Woman movie has implications and impacts that go way beyond this one movie.

Yes this movie has been a powerful, empowering and incredible experience for many, AND we need more movies like this created by women and raising up women AND that also represent intersectionalities AND that also do other things.  Yes, we need to continue marching forward and in broader ways, together, and YAY that this Wonder Woman movie is a great positive step in that direction!

At the same time, I saw pleas from women to just let them have the joy and inspiration of Wonder Woman for even a few days without pointing out all the reasons why it is wrong or exclusionary, or why their joy is at the expense of someone else’s pain.

I saw a Jewish woman celebrating that she at last saw herself represented in a hero onscreen in one Tweet, then shortly after reacting in sadness and pain at all the posts giving reasons she was wrong to celebrate the movie.  Such interactions hurt my heart to witness.

There is so much hurt and darkness in the world today.  There is so much we must fight against together to keep this world, and our country, moving forward rather than backward.  And we are stronger together.

YES, we must be willing to acknowledge when we fall short without being defensive or taking it to mean we are “bad.”

Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie for every woman, or girl, or human being, and hopefully the writers and directors will hear that, and rather than saying “why should we even try, then” they will instead introduce Nubia and other characters and story elements to address that.  And hopefully the studios will see both the positive reactions to Wonder Woman and its revenue and be inspired to produce more movies by and featuring women that also embrace other non-dominant paradigms.

AND we need to also acknowledge the joys and the needs of others, and be willing to celebrate their happiness even if it is not our own — assuming their happiness is not from knowingly hurting others, of course.  Because we want them to want and fight for the same for us, not resent us for tearing down their happiness.

And we each need our own moments of happiness to keep us sane and recharge us so that we are able to fight for others.

I see the joy, and it inspires me.  And I see the pain, and I want to help address it.  And I see territorial conflicts across intersectional lines undermining the very goals that people across those lines actually share.  And I hope we can continue to move toward a model of communication and working together where the latter does not have to hurt the former.

This goes beyond just Wonder Woman of course.  The Left can be a bit overzealous at times in its self-policing, treating allies who made a mistake not as fallible humans with feelings and the ability to change, but as targets to score points against and destroy in the process.

There but for the grace of a single botched-attempt-at-humor Tweet goes I.

Doing otherwise can be hard.  Our society promotes a strong sense of competition, and to admit we are wrong can feel like granting victory points to others and somehow losing ground.  To point out that someone else is wrong can feel like we have somehow gained something.

And all feelings are valid.  If someone is hurt or angered by something, their hurt or anger is real, and absolutely we all have our right to express that hurt or anger.  We each have the right to seek equal access to power, and equal and accurate representation.  We have the right to address attacks against us.

To know how to improve, we must be able to examine where something failed, understand how and who it failed.

I just hope we can continue to move past the era of Twitter crucifixions and infighting, of the body attacking itself, and into the era of honest and constructive communication, of celebrating others’ successes and raising each other up, while at the same time we can share our own needs, our own hurts, our own dreams in a way that does not diminish our neighbor’s joy or health.

There is no perfect answer, I know, I recognize I’m ranting in generalizations a bit here.  And given my many privileges I am not one who should seek to offer real “answers” here regardless as I am certainly blind to many things.

I just cling to the “Yes, And.”

Yes, Wonder Woman is an awesome movie.  And I hope it is just the first of many inspiring representational experiences to come.  Not for myself, but for all those who are long overdue for a Wonder Woman that represents them.  And for the superhero waiting inside each of us to come out and play.

Now, where’s that garden hose?

tl;dr: I love the joy and inspiration this movie provided, and I hope we can all celebrate that together, and be inspired to bring such joy and affirmation to those who did not feel represented by this movie.


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