Growing up in a world of Disney princesses and Barbies, I didn’t get much exposure to the superhero universe. Even as an adult, I don’t find myself becoming excited about these famous, male-dominated films, despite my track record of getting overly excited for movies.
But at the beginning of June, a mold-breaking superhero movie came out that caught my eye: one both directed by and starring a woman. “Wonder Woman” follows the classic DC Comics heroine on her quest to end war by defeating the god of war himself, Ares.
Director Patty Jenkins’ storytelling left me awe-struck, and Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the title character made me feel like I too could take on the world.
While “Wonder Woman” does feature fighting and other good vs. evil elements, its focus is on something much greater: the power of love.
Wonder Woman, or Diana as she’s referred to in the film, is a character whose strength as a superhero is found within her femininity, not despite it. Her natural response is compassion. She is nurturing. She cries. She follows her calling with her entire heart. She chooses love.
While most of us don’t jump off of buildings and fight the god of war, Wonder Woman isn’t all that different from her female audiences—and male audiences too, for that matter.
In fact, I think there are three ways we can all be our own versions of Wonder Woman every day:
1. No more apathy.
As soon as Diana leaves her home island, she is introduced to a world full of corruption and injustice, a world with which we are all too familiar. However, rather than ignoring the injustice she sees around her, Diana charges in and attempts to change it. She doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to fixing situations that aren’t fair. She walks right into no man’s land and stares the perpetrators of injustice in the face.
South African leader Desmond Tutu famously said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” For us, this might mean standing up for a student who is being bullied, volunteering at a local non-profit, or even just taking the time to listen to someone who is hurting. Above all, it means taking action and marching right into no man’s land.
2. Follow your call.
Early in the movie, Diana discovers her mission of killing Ares and ending war. Once she realizes this is her calling in life, she follows it wholeheartedly. While Diana’s calling involves a mythological god, each of us has been called by the one true God to fulfill a purpose. When this call isn’t clear, we must seek it. And when God reveals a path to us, even if it’s just the very next step, we must follow it with the same dedication as Diana.
3. Love despite brokenness.
In the end, “Wonder Woman” promotes love as the ultimate weapon, greater even than Wonder Woman herself. In the climatic battle between Diana and Ares, Ares gives Diana the choice to abandon humans and join his “perfect” world. Diana has seen firsthand the brokenness of humankind and the way they so easily turn on one another. Yet the love and sacrifice she witnesses in her friend and sidekick Steve Trevor spurs her to fight for the good that still exists in humans.
This movie doesn’t take an oversimplified good vs. evil approach. Diana now knows that evil will still exist after she kills Ares, but she decides to fight for love despite this.
We live in a messy world, and until Jesus returns, we will have to continue to choose love instead of hate, kindness instead of anger, and forgiveness instead of revenge. We must choose to fight for good.
We will never be able to save the world—only Jesus can do that. But by taking some pages out of Wonder Woman’s book, we might be able to change it.
Bailey Kaufman, graduated from Tabor College this spring.