Like so many others, I saw Wonder Woman last week and I loved it. I was fully expecting to like the movie, but even if I didn’t, I was 100% on board with my money going toward a movie starring a female action hero, that was directed by a woman. Which brings me back to my first statement, I was fully expecting to like this movie. After hearing friends talk about it, I had cautiously raised the bar of anticipation. Even so, this movie far exceeded my expectations. What came completely out of the blue though, was how profoundly it affected me. I’m 35 years old, I figured the days of getting pumped up and inspired by a super-hero movie were behind me. But then I sat and watched for two hours as a strong woman lead men and at no point was she referred to as a bitch, or a ball-buster, or was made fun of or told she was manly because of her strength. And amazingly, she was able to do all of this while still retaining her femininity. What?!?!?!?! How is that possible? That must be some Hollywood magic.
Whenever I’m in a group, I usually wind up leading it whether I want to or not. Trust me, there are times that I just want to kick back and go with the flow, but the next thing I know I’ve been nominated to take charge. People who know me, know that if I’m leading the group, shit will get done and it will get done well. I will lead the charge to the finish line and I prefer if you pull your weight, but we all know there will be at least one person per group who just wants to skate by doing nothing. I will drag that person kicking and screaming with me if that’s the only option left to me. This is why people ask me to lead, I pick up the slack of the weaker links.
What sucks, is that those very same people who want me in charge, are also the ones calling me a bitch. I have lost track of how many times I have heard someone whisper to their friend how huge of a bitch I am, and then turn around and ask me to lead them. It blows, but it’s something that I have always accepted as being the way of things. It was my price to pay. For what I don’t know? Having my personality? Who knows? I accepted that it was the way it would always be.
I’m sure what added to the “bitch persona,” is the fact that I am not a petite woman. There is nothing about me that is petite. My shoulders are so broad that I’ve hulked out the seams on more shirts and jackets than I care to admit . . . some of them in fitting rooms. But frankly, if the shirt isn’t actually an extra-large, they shouldn’t label it as an extra-large. That being said, I’m wearing an extra-large shirt right now, and the shoulder seams hit about an inch onto my shoulder. So really an extra-large doesn’t fit either.
My frame does not fit into the criteria of classic femininity. The way that I bulk on muscle, unless I’m excruciatingly careful about how I exercise, makes me look more like a body builder than a curvaceous woman. I can’t wear short sleeve shirts unless the arms are made of a material that can stretch, because my biceps are too big. I easily carried my forty pound dog up and down the stairs several times a day for four months when he tore his ACL. I am tall, I am broad, I am strong, and as if that weren’t enough I have a deep voice. I have been called a dude, butch, manly, one of the guys for so long that it takes me aback when a guy flirts with me. For an emergency, a deadline, hard advice, call Kat. For a good time or a hot date, call someone else.
Entertainment confirms this image. The big and strong girls are the comedic relief, or the ones that help carry the plot so the petite main character can live happily ever after. These are the roles for the non-feminine girls, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean ugly. You can be beautiful, but the second you’re the same size as 50% or more of the men in the room, you are no longer feminine enough to be a heroine or a love interest. The second you move from the girl being lifted in dance choreography to the girl doing the lifting because you don’t have enough guys, is the moment you lose the descriptor, feminine.
So imagine my amazement at watching these kick-ass fight scenes with bulked-out, strong AF women who exuded femininity. The Amazons were strong, fierce and had costumes that accentuated their strength more than their sex-appeal. And better yet, instead of being the ‘manly’ women, or the ones who take care of the other more petite women, they were just women. Even Wonder Woman’s classic uniform still paid tribute to its sexy forbearers, but it again shows her strength more than her curves. Compare the necklines and the waist size of the two women.
If I lost every ounce of fat on my body, I still couldn’t look like Lynda Carter. Gal Godot, that’s doable. I would still have to lose every ounce of fat on my body, but I could achieve that body shape. Broad shoulders, tall, discernible waist but not an hourglass. And most importantly, strong AF, and not apologizing for it or hiding it. Not apologizing for stepping out to take the lead, and not apologizing for breaking the classic mold of femininity. For the first time in my life, I left a movie loving the fact that I am strong and that I can put on muscle. I left a movie wanting to work out and get that muscle definition back. I left feeling that I can be just as feminine as my more petite counter-parts.
I was not expecting to get that kind of body-positive affirmations from a comic book super-hero movie. Consider my mind blown. Especially when I logged onto social media and saw this kind of reaction across the board. Petite women felt empowered. Larger women felt empowered. Average size women felt empowered. By treating a female super-hero like they would have treated a male super-hero, women across the country felt empowered. Feminism is not the desire to be treated better than men. It is the desire to be treated on an equal plane with men. The things we can learn from comic books. Go figure.