Lessons Wonder Woman taught us

Wonder Woman’s cinematic release has been much raved about – and with good reason. Excellent acting and directing aside, it’s a breakthrough for female representation in the superhero film genre.

Many young adults today have grown up watching movies featuring a litany of superheroes. Featuring an assortment of personalities – from the jokey Spider-Man to the tortured Batman – they have, undeniably, become an integral part of most childhoods.

But in these blockbusters, there has always been a shortage of of well-developed characters who were neither straight nor white men. The movie industry often fails to make its roster of superheroes, not to mention directors, more inclusive.

The films feature mainly white, physically attractive men on the battlefront. More often than not, other demographics in such films feel like an afterthought.

Set against the backdrop of testosterone-filled superhero movies with minimal female characters, Wonder Woman is a refreshing celebration of the diversity of female identity.

As in real life, Wonder Woman's female characters are multi-faceted. They have their own demons. They set the story in action not just as beautiful, strong-willed heroines like Diana, but as deformed evil scientists like Isabel Maru, or comical yet capable women like the secretary Etta Candy.

Set during an era when women still did not have the same rights as men, these kickass females proved their stories are just as worth telling.

Here are a few lessons we can all learn from Wonder Woman:

When no one believes you, stick to your guns (or sword)

“Be careful in the world of men, Diana, for they do not deserve you,” Wonder Woman’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, warns her as she sets to leave Themyscira. But determined to put an end to Ares, and in turn, violence, she departs with Captain Steve Trevor.

This is merely the beginning. As Diana arrives in London, she is constantly told by others to stay back, don’t do this, you’re wrong.

During a trek across the war trenches, a woman begs Diana to save their village from Germans. To do so, she would have to make it through the battlefield called No Man’s Land.

She ignores her companions, who tell her that it's too dangerous. Wonder Woman decides to power through No Man’s Land alone. She eventually leads the soldiers in liberating the village.

These are turbulent times, when standing up for beliefs can be dangerous. Conviction takes strength of character, and fighting for what is right takes courage.

Don't stay behind the screen

“When you see bad things in the world, you can either do nothing or do something,” says Steve, when Diana asks him why he wants to return to the war.

For the rest of the film, he is driven by this purpose: to end the war. And in the end, he sacrifices his life for this mission.

We witness these “bad things,” and sometimes it’s convenient to leave it at that. The digital age allows us to passively view the world on mobile.

But it also gives us a bigger platform to voice out opinions, to enlighten, to raise awareness – steps that can spur others to action.

Find good in others

After killing General Ludendorff, whom she believes to be the incarnation of Ares, god of war, Diana finds that nothing changes. The real Ares reveals himself and tells her humanity doesn’t deserve saving – they’re rotten to the core.

But Diana’s memories of Steve prove otherwise. She believes that for all their flaws, humans possess an innate goodness as well.

“It’s not about deserving, it’s about what you believe. And I believe in love,” she says simply.

To forgive may be divine – especially in the demigod’s case. But in a world full of intolerance and hate, compassion and empathy are just what humanity needs.

Wonder Woman took the superhero genre a step forward with its earnest, feminist storytelling.

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