Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo| Manhasset NY

The True Power of Wonder Woman

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? It does seem like nearly "everybody" has, but if you haven't I'd highly recommend it. I went to see it out of curiosity, as my memories of Wonder Woman come largely from watching Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) on television with my grandmother, but also because my almost 12 year old son and his friends are obsessed with all things superhero!
I have never read the Wonder Woman comic series popular in the 1940s and 50s. From Linda Carter I received some messages about women being powerful, energetic and, yes, sexy. In my humble opinion, I think the show emphasized sex appeal to the deferment of other critical messages, but that's another blog post! But other than that, I moved through my childhood and adulthood, until now, without giving Wonder Woman much thought at all.
Until now..... As I watched the movie I found myself becoming more and more enthralled by the woman who is Wonder Woman. In this film she is not just physically strong, but a woman of power, morals and conviction in her own right. While she ably defends herself and humanity from the forces of hatred, evil and destruction, she is also self-reflective, open to new experiences, and willing to change. Through the movie Wonder Woman, and therefore all of us, learn or are reminded that the conflict between love and war seems never ending. We are faced with the reality that everyday we must chose self sacrifice, altruism and compassion, over and over and over again, lest we become vulnerable ourselves to committing acts of mindless cruelty or destruction.
Wonder Woman is absolutely a charming and, at times, funny movie. It is clearly grabbing the attention of the young by combining action and excitement with a critical, deeper message. This movie clearly puts front and center the age old war between good and evil. The idea is that this conflict is never truly resolved, leaving us in constant internal conflict. It's us versus "them" or me versus you. It's my view of the world or civilization versus yours, my view of religious or moral superiority versus yours, my view of who is worthy and who is the identified "other" versus yours. In this context someone must always be right and someone, therefore, must be wrong. Someone "wins" and someone "losses."
Though I imagine that most of us who watched this movie are not originally from the Amazon, I suspect that these conflicts sound familiar. So, I decided to ask my son his thoughts on one of the first summer blockbusters. In true 12 year-old boy fashion he said something like,"yeah, it was good.....really good." So naturally I prompted further, wanting to hear what was good about it. I may have mentioned that I was going to write a blog for my professional page and REALLY wanted to hear his thoughts! Well, the floodgates opened and here is what he had to say:
"Well, it was really great! Of course it had a lot of action and all that stuff, but it wasn't just that. I think it was really the story of good versus evil. The evil was in different parts of the movie.... like using Greek Mythology with, you know, Ares and also piecing in parts of World War II. It really showed all of the horrible things people do to each other but also how powerful love is."
When he stopped speaking, I asked my son if he thought love and hate would just battle forever. His response, "no not forever. I think it takes a long time, yes, but love and good win in the end."
The creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston, was an ardent believer in women's potential, stating that women were more likely than men to "save the world."
So, please be sure to talk to your children, and to each other, about the true power that lies within each of us....the power to be kind, the power to do the next right thing, and the power to be truly altruistic.