Margaret Smith: The wonder of Wonder Woman

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2017

By Margaret Smith
For the Salisbury Post

Wonder Woman (or, as my uncle likes to call her, Wonderful Woman). A fitting name for an iconic character. She is a part of the Justice League; she is one of the three prime faces of the DC brand. She is an amazing hero in her own right, and she finally — finally! — is getting her time to shine this weekend (at a theater near you). Not only is this the first superhero film directed by a woman, it is also the first feature film to star Wonder Woman.

This legendary heroine was created by William Moulton Marston as an antidote for comic books’ “blood-curdling masculinity.” She was introduced to the world in 1941, mere years after Superman and Batman — the only two superheroes who outdate her. From the beginning, she was a different type of hero. Rather than falling into the traditional trap of brute force and physical strength being the makings of a superhero, Wonder Woman embodied the more “feminine” traits of peace and tenderness.

Of course, Wonder Woman has changed with the times. Different comic book incarnations (and different authors) would often present varieties of the character. Sometimes, Wonder Woman reflected the values she was created to have; other times, she was more of the Amazonian warrior of her background. In many ways, this only makes the character stronger. Wonder Woman is not one thing; she is not simply peaceful, or a warrior, or a woman. She is all of that and more, and she is a hero worthy of a feature film (at long last).

For my part, I quite literally grew up with Wonder Woman: my favorite show as a child was Justice League. As a four year old, I would mimic Wonder Woman’s movements in the theme song of that show, leaning off the couch and blocking bullets with my imaginary gauntlets. Throughout the trials and tribulations of my life, Wonder Woman served as a role model for me. Her strength and her courage made me believe that I, too, could be strong and courageous. She showed me that hope can get us through anything, and that one could be kind and be a fighter and that those two adjectives do not have to oppose each other.

Thursday night, I stood in line at Tinseltown to see the premiere of Wonder Woman. The movie deserves and believes in its iconic character, and it is a superb film in its own right. Almost better than the production itself, however, was the amount of young girls who were in line with me for the premiere, who were dressed up in crowns and gauntlets and costumes. (Make no mistake, my friend and I were costumed as well.) Wonder Woman is a hero to both genders, surely, but the gleam in the eyes of those little girls (and girls of all ages) as they see themselves as the hero is something wondrous indeed.