This isn’t a traditional post of mine, but its also not a full blown movie review either. I hope it finds you well whatever your expectations may be. (warning, this may delve more into politics and social issues than both of us would prefer… It’s on my heart so I am letting it out… a tad).
@PattyJenks tweeted a list of responses from kindergarten girls that had seen the film. While some are cute, I noticed a trend in many of the responses from the children, the press and reviewers around the world.
Female empowerment. Many are praising the films recognition that a woman can do great things. And quite frankly, this isn’t an issue that anyone should be on the other side of. Simply put, they can do great things, they have and they will.
What I wish people would focus on is the real accomplishment of the film. The lead actress, Gal Gadot, brought a level of genuine emotion, sincerity, and empathy that super hero fans aren’t used to. Not only did the plot build up why the Amazons were empathetic to the plight of mankind, but her specific story provides a greater level of compassion towards them.
Then, when needed, she flips the switch and pulls off epic ferocity, at least on par with, anything we have seen to date. The supporting cast (Chris Pine, et al), visuals, storyline, writing, directing, score, audio… you name it, nothing detracted from how amazing this movie was set out to be. And the world has responded. It nearly doubled the opening weekend sales of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Dead Men Tell no Tales. (which preceded it the week before). (103 million, vs 62 million respectively – boxofficemojo).
Simply put, this was an amazing movie in every categorical possibility. This is, of course, in my opinion. (but various sales figures help back that up from an argumentative standpoint as well).
What I find interesting in it, is our seemingly inherent ability to divide ourselves over every possible issue we face… even those found in entertainment. Some may say this is just the god Ares (god of war) having his way with us (see I watched it!). If you aren’t aware some places have shown “women’s only screenings“.
Those screenings were henceforth protested by men wondering what happened to equality. There was a ban in Lebanon seemingly over the star actress’ heritage. And, as mentioned above, when asking a great many people what they thought of the film, an overwhelming number of woman felt it sparked positive movement for women (which isn’t meant to be listed as a negative attribute, but does mean that they graded the film more on political issues than the wonderful content that filled it).
When I walked out of the theater, I knew this was my new favorite movie. I had no clue that it was directed by a woman. I had no idea the actress was from Israel. I didn’t know about any political or social issues that it might be tied into. It was classic good versus evil and good won. It was a beautifully scripted and decorated picture, played over 2 entertaining hours that is worthy of praise. The current IMDB score is 8.2/10 and I find that low of a score insulting to the art that resulted from this movie.
But I would call myself a Martin Luther King-ian. I want equality. Patty is getting her accolades. That she is getting more for being a woman, IMHO, seems to be regression in that movement. Isn’t the idea for her to excel on her merit alone? I wanted Obama to be a good president… not a black president. I want Wonder Woman to be a highly successful movie, not a great movie… for a woman (which is what comes out when we laud and praise based on that fact).
What would you rather hear:
“Great job!, you put on the best performance” or…
“for a woman, that was really good”.
We all fit into our niches no matter how badly society wants to group us up just so they can tear us apart. How would you feel being graded not only on your accomplishments, but on every other distinguishing factor that makes you unique? I want black boys and girls playing with white boys and girls. I want that without having to sacrifice personality, heritage, traits, beliefs, or any other factor.
One of the many issues with trying to fix problems with the past is we tend to over-correct and that causes, in some ways, worse problems than we started with. There is a computer game coming out soon where the goal is to kill white southern Biblical based occultists. While that fits my demographic (except for the cult part 😉 ), its not offensive to me. I get it. I understand entertainment, fantasy, and what the developers of that game are going for.
What does frustrate me, are the people on the other side of the fence stating, “now its your time!”. What they are referencing are the Christians who are questioning the game’s motives. And the people answering are the same people who were against games that targeted terrorists (and so all the enemies in the game looked like middle easterners). Or the protesters that didn’t like another game set in Africa (where most of the enemies were black).
Instead of being consistent and also boycotting yet another game that seems to stereotype, or instead of learning their lesson and backing off… they are now openly cheering on a game that sticks it to their opponent. Once again, man kind doing what we do best. Fighting each other. They can’t judge the game based on its entertainment value, they have to dig deep until they find something to argue about. And once they do… the gloves come off. We can call names, insult, and even send death threats online over how our views differ.
Incidentally, the game isn’t even out yet… which really helps the biases to shine over the controversy.
I was just thinking about the song “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston (428 million views on Youtube). And how many men have successfully sang this song. Arguably some have. Arguably, the best man’s performance of this song pales in comparison to the plethora of females that have had various success. Would I like to be the one who sings it OK… for a man? no. Would I like to be the first man to sing it great? no. Would I like to be known for any achievement based on physical criteria granted to me at birth? no.
That is called an asterisk and I hate asterisks. One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is John 3:16. It says, “for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son…”. There is no asterisk there. He did that for the world. Everyone. All of us. Each one side by side and equally loved as the next.
Hatred is the opposite of that. Hate divides. Hate excludes. Hate categorizes. The first child, the best black, the only woman, the fastest foreigner… all asterisks.
Without trying to take anything away from those who have achieved in this world… wouldn’t it be much more rewarding to just be the best? Period. Let me ask it another way. Why does it feel rewarding if you have to compartmentalize yourself down into groups in order to weed out the pack you are competing against? In other words, if we are all swimming in different pools, it doesn’t mean much if you are just the best in your pool.
I loved the movie, Wonder Woman, because it was one of the best I’ve seen. I was impressed by the action sequences performed by Gal because she is one of the most talented I’ve witnessed. I’m not trying to say to women… that you shouldn’t enjoy that victory. I’m encouraging you… that the victory is greater than you are celebrating for. Don’t diminish the achievement into a subcategory which lessens the phenomenal accomplishment. Get rid of the asterisk and accept the true, raw, unaltered stats.
God didn’t create asterisks. He created unique and “wonderfully made” individuals that He loves equally. Our competition, our bias, and even our hate… that didn’t come from Him. That is where we have to overcome. That is where we have to step up. Don’t be the first girl to ignore sexism. Don’t be the first man to step above racism. Instead, be a hero. Be all that God made you and love the world the same way He does. Show compassion to all. Love all. Help all. Pray for all. As soon as you stop looking at the whole and start seeing parts… well then you become just like everyone else.
With Jesus’ death imminent, He prayed to God. “let them all be one as you and I are one”. He asked for unity. He spent enough time with mankind to know that this is what we needed most. It was there where we were weakest. We just can’t stop sizing each other up and putting each other into lists long enough to appreciate the wonderful gift we each are.
At the risk of getting into more political and social issues than I enjoy, I can’t think of a more perfect ending than Morgan Freeman’s response to baited questions about racism. His response would make MLK Jr. proud. When we stop looking at each other outwardly, and start looking into our hearts… perhaps then we can heal. (incidentally, 300k views on Morgan’s video. 428 million on Whitney’s.) Its almost as if people don’t want to solve our bigger problems. Do you?
Then I would encourage you to be like Wonder Woman and look past feminism completely. Be like Morgan and look past racism completely. Be like Jesus and look past classes completely. Stop talking about it. Stop looking at it. Start living like you wish everyone else would live towards you.
Am I trying to take away a female icon, role model, or success story? No. Dress as her all you like. Look up to her as young girls. My attempt is to only ask the questions that haunt all of us… who will we become if we can’t exist in a middle ground of understanding and acceptance? If this amazing movie can be made without spelling out that women were involved, why can’t the rest of life be lived out the same way… and across all issues. Why can’t we just enjoy what we like? Why do we insist on creating asterisks?