All the Power You Possess: How ‘Wonder Woman’ Reminds Us Who We Are
Like millions of other fans, I happily plunked down $13 to launch “Wonder Woman” into blockbuster status on its opening weekend. In fact, I was so excited that I purchased dress-up kits for my gal pal, Amy, and me. Yes, as 40-somethings, we attended a film resplendent in plastic tiaras and gauntlets. Come at us, bro.
There’s much to admire about this film, and many critics have praised it. However, there are several scenes that stand out, particularly the one people are calling “No Man’s Land.” If you’ve not seen the movie yet, I won’t spoil it for you by describing the moment in detail. Suffice it to say, Diana becomes Wonder Woman in this moment. She’s brave and fierce, a fighter through and through.
Yet, she’s not doing it for glory, but for a cause greater than herself: helping innocents caught in the relentless crush of war. Sword, shield, and lasso of truth, Diana wields them all and wins the day. No big surprise there, right? It’s a superhero movie, after all, so she should be victorious. But that moment was something more than that as well. She figures out what she’s capable of; she understands her power and her purpose in a newer, fuller way.
At the end of the scene, I heard several people (men and women) clapping and cheering in admiration. Now, I can’t speak for the men in the audience, but I think I can safely say that every woman in that theater felt able to strap on a weapon and fight for justice and goodness after watching that scene. I know I did. I wanted to be brave, to stand in the gap, to make a difference.
But here’s the thing: I don’t need weapons (or amazing battle hair) to do that. It’s not some fantasy. As a woman and a multiple sclerosis patient, I do it every day.
I am brave when I refuse to let my disease dictate my life or control my feelings. I don’t cower in the trenches, fearful of risk; I go up and over the wall every day I choose to fight and live life on my terms. I stand in the gap when I speak up about MS and use my voice to tell a different narrative — one where MS is my antagonist but is far from an unconquerable enemy. When I listen to other patients and encourage them, I am arming them for their own fight. All of that makes a difference. All of that matters. All of that is downright, dare I say it, heroic.
I’m of the belief that good art does one of two things: It either teaches you something you didn’t know/changes your perspective, or it reminds you of something valuable you’ve forgotten. “Wonder Woman” did that for me. Watching Gal Gadot battle her way through a sea of bullets reminded me that I have always been strong. And while it’s certainly fun to dress up and pose for photos with a friend, I don’t need a costume to be powerful.
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