Hard days. Sad days. My heart aches for London, and for people all around the world who are suffering, just as people have suffered in so many ways for centuries. What is the solution? Well, it resides right alongside the pain : kindness, compassion, love and care for each other.
I watched the Wonder Women movie today. I almost never go to the movies, but had heard so many positive things about this one, I felt I ought to see it. I emerged with many thoughts.
Firstly, the cinematography was magnificent! Special effects woven through with genuine sentiment made my heart rise and my throat swell more than once. Secondly, I like very much what director Patty Jenkins has said about the importance of sincerity and beauty in storytelling, and I could see the effort that was made to bring morality to this movie, although I personally found those moments rather garbled. I also found that, for a feminist movie, there was an awful lot of emphasis on what women looked like : the heroine was staggeringly beautiful; the comic relief was short, stout, and overdressed; the villain was facially deformed.
But what stayed with me most was less the movie itself than the thought that this is what so many people recently have celebrated their small daughters watching, admiring, emulating. This violence, this determination to solve problems by bashing them through stone walls. And at the same time there is a general horror that girls should adore princesses who care for woodland creatures, and who try to see the good in everyone, and who inspire other people to acts of nobility and courage. I utterly fail to understand why those princesses are poor role models - except if it is contemptible to fall in love, and to need help from someone else at times rather than doing everything relentlessly for yourself.
There seems in certain quarters to be a backlash against love. Look how it was twisted in Frozen, so that a generation of girls might now grow up believing they can not trust themselves, for their love of their own power is dangerous and the prince they adore could be corrupt.
But the truth is, love is what saves us all. It's what gives us strength against the negative voices in our society and our own heads. It makes tragedies bearable. It keeps us going when we're achingly exhausted, pushing us over mountains in winter to take our children to safety, allowing us to read bedtime stories when we have the flu. Love ... compassion, empathy for others on a national scale ... is also why the politics of the actress playing Wonder Woman matter, even if only as an invitation to further discussion on the subject.
I grew up reading Wonder Woman comics and watching the tv series. I vaguely recall that I even had a Wonder Woman doll. I'm not saying we shouldn't enjoy female warrior characters. I'm only disappointed that we use "feminism" as an opportunity merely to match men in violence, rather than aiming for something higher, deeper, more interesting, more complex, and ineffably more true to the wondrous spirit of women heroines everywhere.
I enjoyed this critical discussion of the movie, it shows me perspectives I don't have clearly myself as I'm not a woman of colour.