So as you all may remember, Joanna first blogged about Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superwomen on February 9th. Since that time, they have raised the money and premiered the documentary at the SXSW film festival! Those who donated will receive their gifts sometime this summer. Why the wait? I don’t know. But it’s slowly killing me.
Anyway these lovely ladies have also been in contact with my mother, who is writing an article about the film and the filmmakers for her newspaper. What follows is my very first ever byline for her paper about Wonder Women and positive female role models:
When flipping through the television channels, magazine ads, or books in the children’s and young adult section you may find that there is a void. There is a large, gaping hole looming out of the pink ghetto of sex-segregated toy stores that was once filled by an empowering role model. Wonder Woman. The name conjures an image of stars, action, adventure, and a tall amazon who stands tall against her foes. During the 70s Wonder Woman was played by Lynda Carter on a popular television show of the same name. But what has happened between then and now? Wonder Women!: The Untold Story of American Superwomen is a documentary by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Kelcy Edwards traces the evolution of Wonder Woman from her debut in comics during the 1940s to today. Additionally, the film explores how cultural perspectives of women roles have changed overtime through comics and other aspects of popular culture by interviewing real-life superheroes like Gloria Steinem and those involved with the Wonder Woman legacy.
In the ‘pink ghetto’, the ‘girls’ section of toy stores, we typically find baby dolls, Barbies of various professions, Disney Princesses, and dress-up clothes. Sure, its nice to know that little girls can be a mommy or a vet when they grow up- but how do these things help them cope with difficult situations? In the ‘boys’ sections of toy stores are lined with action figures of positive role models. The girls are left with Disney pop-stars and Barbie.
“Girls actually need superheroes much more than boys when you come right down to it, because 90% of violence in the world is against females. Certainly women need protectors even more, and what is revolutionary of course is to have a female protector not a male protector.” – Gloria Steinem, from Wonder Women!
So how does Barbie protect us? Barbie, Disney, and baby dolls may inspire young girls to value friendships and dream about their potential future roles, but they do not protect us. Girls need a positive role model who shows them that they are and can be strong.
“I thought it was my job to show women that, this guy’s knocking you around well, you know, knock him back.” -Lynda Carter, from Wonder Women!
If I had the access to records and data, I would like to do a study that correlates watching Wonder Woman and how likely women are to fight back in domestic abuse cases.
Reflecting upon Wonder Women! and the overwhelming lack of strong role models in pop culture has made me grateful for the strong role models and experiences of my childhood. I was lucky enough to have a mother who idolizes Wonder Woman to teach me how to stand up for myself and Girl Scouts for helping me understand who I am and explore my interests. You cannot pick who your mother is, but you can join Girl Scouts. Through this organization girls become strong together and are encouraged to become leaders. Whether its Girl Scouts, Wonder Woman, or your mother having a strong positive female role model is essential for all girls and women if we ever want to fill that void in the pink ghetto.