Wonder Woman & The Rise of Empowerment

Anyone else ready for empowerment to be the new normal? I saw Wonder Woman this weekend, and it ignited a chain-reaction of thoughts I’m continuing to process. My hope is this movie and all it stands for will increase the surge of empowering stories already emerging, and encourage an inner-strength in women worldwide.

Like the Marianne Williamson quote says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”

One of my favorite moments in the movie was when Diana (Wonder Woman) is in the clothing store with Etta, Steve Trevor’s secretary. The Amazon princess asks Etta if the corset she sees is armor. Etta says something like, “It’s fashion. Women wear ‘em to hide their bellies.”

Confident, naïve, gorgeous Diana asks, “Why would you want to hide them?”

Etta mutters, “Only a woman with no belly would ask a question like that.”

I’m still cracking up at this simple scene, still thinking through all the film says about the patriarchy and what we consider normal for women. I’m still unpacking the moments that made me laugh and made me cry. Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright and the rest of this phenomenal cast created characters who remain with me. I loved Sameer and the Chief, loved Etta and Hippolyta. I love how Steve Trevor pushed his ego aside and honored Diana.

There’s a place in my heart that still sits quiet for the sacrifice, wrapped in a sad joy that is the film’s final message: only love can bring peace.

But to visit the island of the Amazons? To be a woman so empowered, so confident, so fierce? Diana grew up among strength, without the oppressive history that has shaped our present.

And that’s what sticks with me the most: the renewed sense of empowerment.

Diana owns her power completely. She fights for what she knows is right with determined relentlessness. She exists outside the patriarchy, blasting through limiting beliefs every time someone tells her she can’t do something. But she isn’t angry, she isn’t vengeful or spiteful. In the words of director Patty Jenkins, she does what she has to do. There’s an inner calm that drives her focus.

But, again, the final message: only love can end war. And to truly love, you have to love yourself. There again we need the inner strength the Amazons embody.

With Wonder Woman’s massive success, I hope we’ll see more directors like Patty Jenkins and characters like Diana. May this archetype of feminine empowerment infiltrate the stories we tell, and may we all—women and men—rise into unabashed strength and humble confidence.


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