Wonder Woman

wonderwoman

*contains spoilers*

Wonder Woman was a remarkable film. I’m not saying everything was right with it. But it showed female strength not only visible through special effects. It showed how powerful vulnerability can be and how much determination and belief in the good changes the world.

She wanted to help people, and she did. She followed her calling regardless of what the men around her were saying. In the end, they followed her. I cannot imagine how that would have played out in the real world we live in- they would probably have thrown her out of the room, just like they did in the scene in the London government.

Diana soon understood that she cared for humanity, for all the values we hold dear. She was stronger through her love, her holding on to the good, and through the belief in her abilities. This is not something you often see. In the media we often see women who tear each other down.

A memorable scene was when Diana was still a child and her mother told her she was not the strongest of them and therefore could never use the God-Killer. She was, in fact, the strongest. And her mother telling her she was not, held her back in her training.

We spend far too much time analysing why we are not good enough. Instead, we should be out there fighting for the good, fighting for what we believe in, and gaining strength on the way. If this film had been about a man, these struggles would have never surfaced. A male superhero doesn’t doubt his abilities. He uses some crazy moves and the villain is dead. She wasn’t sure which side to be on, she was uncertain. This made the film so real. We will never be sure what we can do, unless we try.

Another scene I loved was when she forgave the poison maker. She could have killed her. But she understood that it wouldn’t help anyone. They weren’t on opposite sides, they both wanted to survive. The villains we perceive to be the villains might not be. There might be structures we never understand and sometimes what we fight against doesn’t have a face we can see. But forgiveness and compassion always raises us higher than every villain in this world. Forgiveness is a strong power.

The film left me with a will to change something. I, too, believe that we are not doomed. That we can change our perspective on life and that we can love instead of fighting wars. This representation of a strong woman gives young girls something to live up to. A feeling that they are capable of everything they want to reach. A feeling that the good can win.

The Heart of a Woman

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

This is the fourth autobiography she has written and the second I have read (I started with “I know why the caged birds sing”). She tells the story of her son growing up. She moved around the US and then to Egypt with her husband, a South African freedom fighter, later on leaving for Ghana where her son went to university.

This book tells the story of a strong woman who always found her path. People threw many obstacles in her way, yet she always endured. She always found a job, she always found the right thing to say.

There are many impressive moments but this one stuck out to me: Her husband didn’t want her to work. But she needed something to do, she needed to take care of herself. She asked around and got a job as a journalist. When her husband confronted her, he was furious but she kept the job through the clever arguing of a friend.  Maya Angelou was an independent soul. She felt relieved, free, when her son left for college. Although she had a strong connection to him, a deep love, she knew when to let him go.

The book is beautifully crafted and I adore her stories. They are universal. The struggle of a single mum in a society that doesn’t value single women. I read an article that women today can be anything: Divorced, lesbians, childless, … but never single.

You can be anything, but single

Women are asked about their relationships; men about their careers. We cling to the standards and values of the last centuries, we engrave them in our lives. “I was already married at your age” – What is that supposed to mean? Times have changed. Women today don’t want to have relationships anymore just for the sake of them.

The relationship of a woman is seen as the finest thing she can achieve. In reality that doesn’t seem true because

… you can lose your job if you have children, you do not get adequate payment for the time off you need to birth them, your children are not cared for when you want to go to work, and you have to fear for your health and life

… young girls are married off to much older men by their parents

… women suffer from domestic violence and can’t even talk about that in public (men are also subject to violence but not to the same extent)

… lesbians cannot get married or adopt children in many countries

Our worth is not defined by the relationships we are in. A woman without a man is still a woman. And a woman without a woman is also still a woman.