In a world where feminism and femininity often seem at odds, Wonder Woman presents an alternative: a woman too secure in her own purpose to bother with such labels at all. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is raised by the Amazons, a tribe of warrior women dedicated to defending the world against Ares, the god of war. When British soldier Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands near the Amazons’ hidden island and brings news of the Great War, Diana returns with him to London, convinced that she must find and kill Ares if the war is ever to end.
Faced with suffering and conflict, Diana exudes generosity and empathy. In one scene, when she and Steve reach the trenches in France, she insists that they stop and help. Steve tells her that they can’t help everyone – that this is not what they came to do. “No,” she replies, “But it is what I am going to do.” And, confident in her ability to help, she does.
And yet, to call Diana a confident woman (or a strong, independent one) feels cheap, not because she is insecure or incapable, but because she is too genuinely secure in her own purpose to question her worth. As any good character does, Diana grows and learns. But her growth is made that much more interesting because it has nothing to do with self-image. It is often enough that we see a character go from self-loathing to purpose-driven. Diana’s character starts where these others end. Diana learns about human nature, good and evil, love and grace; Diana tackles the big questions, without being side-tracked by body image or emotional ineptitude. I loved every second of watching Wonder Woman fight evil with unwavering empathy, love, and conviction (not to mention superpowers). She has become the role model I never thought I’d look up to.
Ellen Sweet is a senior studying English.