-and I need to talk about her.
I'd like to start by putting aside issues that have already been mentioned and talked about elsewhere: Gal Gadot the person being problematic, the influence of the patriarchy, lack of diversity, and the fact that the super serious male character was named Steve (it just DOES NOT sound cool when Steve is dying and Wonder Woman is yelling STTEEVVEEE! I feel like I'm watching a sandwich commercial or something).
What matters for me is that I started crying during the very first fight scene (involving men, not the practice scenes) when strong, fierce women start yelling and flying through the air and protecting themselves.
I didn't understand the obsession with superheros until I watched Jessica Jones on Netflix. Then I saw the female reboot of Ghostbusters, and now Wonder Woman, and I really, really get it.
As a cis woman, I grew up in a society that both subtly and forcefully told me I'm weak and lesser and overly emotional. Like so many others, my consent was violated, I was made to feel small, and I internalized and pushed down traumatic events until they became physical pain. And all around me, I saw women "needing" to be rescued by men; women portrayed as week and helpless. Strong women were always a surprise or funny.
When I see women who can fight back, who can save themselves, protect themselves, I feel better. I feel like I could do the same.
Once, in therapy, I was talking about how anxiety was making it difficult to sleep. My therapist asked me to imagine people standing outside of my house, protecting me. All of them were women: Olivia Benson, Xena, Jessica Jones. I'm glad that I had them to imagine, because when I imagined men standing around the outside of my house, my anxiety grew.
Tonight, I can add Wonder Woman to the list of role model heros who help me feel safe.