Boys, let’s be selfish for a moment. You’ve probably read a lot of great commentary about Wonder Woman from a feminist perspective. Let’s talk about it from the male perspective, about what she means for us.
Action movies serve up a plethora of fantastic male heroes: They might be tounge-in-cheek, like Keanu Reeves as John Wick. Or serious but self-aware, like Daniel Craig as James Bond. Or just plain serious, unrelenting, and indefatigable à la Denzel Washington in Man on Fire. These men are superheroes, in on way or another.
They are physically strong, attractive, and capable. They are emotionally tortured by what they’ve seen and done. They are smart. They are fighters. They are who we imagine ourselves to be, should we ever find ourselves in a position where we must save the world from great evil.
What of Wonder Woman? What Consider her aggression, her anger, her fire, ferocity, and fury in the face of threats to those she loves. Revel in her will to win.
These are the qualities we associate with our Bonds, Wicks, and Creasy’s, wherein they are warriors for good and, in their best moments, inspiring. Yet for heterosexual males, bar the odd surprise-semi when Daniel Craig gets out of the ocean, they’re not blood-pumping.
The worst elements of male chauvinism present weak females as the ideal: Men fight, women stay home, keep themselves clean and pretty, and submit to the dominant male upon his return from the battlefield. In their less inspiring moments, our male superheroes act out this ideal with some token female co-star. These females are often physically stunning, and framed by the camera as the most tantalising of treats.
Yet they cannot hold a candle to Wonder Woman. Wonder Women oozes sexuality. Not because of her physical appearance, as great as those legs may be, but because she fights. She roars. She charges into battle and defeats her foes with unrelenting, unashamed application of physical force. And she quotes Greek literature.
Some men might find the weak, protected female form attractive. Their desires dominate our media landscape. You and I know they’re missing out. Give me a woman that stands with me on the battlefield. One that fights alongside me, bleeds with me, stands tall beside me in the face of danger, screams with me into the jaws of impending doom.
She’s the one you want to kiss passionately after a great victory. She’s the one you trust to be your companion through life, because she has literally saved your life, as you have hers. She’s strong, attractive, capable, emotionally tortured, smart, a fighter – Just like you, because in this story, you are the hero too. You are a team. An ass-kicking, sexy, battle-winning team.
Boys, in our own selfish interests, we should be cheering on Wonder Woman. We should be cheering womens-only screenings, we should be whooping in the cinema, and we should be encouraging artists to create more films like it. We should be thrilled to indulge in fantasies where both ourselves and our partners are superheroes.
Of course, we must also stop thinking with our dicks, being selfish, and acknowledge all the other reasons why Wonder Woman is important. Other writers have argued those reasons much better than I ever could. This was just between us men. Wonder Woman is not just a victory for women in film, it’s a victory for all of us as people.