June 2017 cannot come soon enough! As we eagerly await the forthcoming ‘Wonder Woman’ movie, starring actress Gal Gadot in the title role, bringing the fabled story of Diana Prince to the big screen for the first time, there is a lot of buzz being generated about the film.
Recently, Wonder Woman was named an honorary UN Ambassador for women and girls coinciding with this year being the 75th anniversary of the DC Comics character. It did cause some controversy, however, as there was criticism the role should’ve been given to a real life female hero. UN Staffers created a petition asking the Secretary-General to find a woman who is currently championing women and girls in the world.
It is a fair and necessary criticism to make, because the symbolism of a fictional character should never override the work of real wonder women in the world, a number of which we as passionate about promoting on our platform. And to her credit, Gal Gadot believes in the same mission of being a role model to young women, starting with her own daughter.
In an interview with BBC News about her superhero role, she talks about how playing Wonder Woman goes beyond what the character represents on screen.
“[It] has given me a chance to think about what kind of role models my daughter, and all of this coming generation of girls – and boys – will be exposed to. Wonder Woman is iconic, and she does bring responsibility,” she said.
Although criticism of Wonder Woman being positioned as a UN role model has angered some, it’s also important to remember the power of Hollywood and the social currency it holds with its messages on screen.
“Finally, we are in an interesting era when women can be whoever we really are. We truly are as strong as men – perhaps not physically, but in other ways we are as strong and that’s now okay. We can be ourselves. Wonder Woman’s strength is not masculinized in any way,” she said.
Bringing it back to her desire to be a role model for her daughter, for girls in that generation having the chance to grow up being told their ambitions do not have to follow a specific predisposed gender path is something we are only beginning to see emerge in our culture.
“It’s not about women versus men any longer, and who is better or stronger than who. There’s enough room for all of us – and boys and girls, women and men should remember that,” she said.
If you, like us, are having a hard time waiting until June 2017 and want to introduce Wonder Woman to the young women in your life in the meantime, Downtown Bookworks in New York are doing their part to celebrate the 75th anniversary and keep the conversation going about girl power in the younger generation.
They have released a series of Wonder Woman books that focus on the message of justice and equality. ‘My First Wonder Woman Book’ is for 0-3 year-olds and features an interactive exploration of Wonder Woman’s abilities, with a “tug-able” golden lasso of truth, and a reflective mirror.
‘My First Book of Girl Power’, is also aimed at ages 0-3, and ‘My Big Book of Girl Power’ is for ages 4 and up. Author Julie Merberg says these books can be a great way to introduce the concept of a female superhero to young girls, which could have a powerful impact on how they view women as they grow older.
“The ‘Big Book of Girl Power’ is an important book for young girls, of course, but we’re expecting grown-ups to buy this book for the young boys in their lives as well. As I’m constantly telling my four sons, women are every bit as powerful as men…more so in many ways. And the sooner they learn that, the better,” she said.
The visibility of role models in a young person’s life is powerful and impactful. It can shape who they are and why they become, for better or for worse. We can only hope that with the re-emergence of Wonder Woman into pop culture with the new film and her presence in literature, it will inspire a generation of girls and young women to seek out real life role models, or become one themselves, in a world that needs their brilliance.
If you haven’t seen the second ‘Wonder Woman’ trailer, take a look below: