Permeating pop culture and renowned as one of the most iconic fictional female characters, Wonder Woman is the immortal Amazonian warrior princess created by DC Comics. The fabled female made her first appearance back in 1941; with an origin stemming from rich Greek mythology, Wonder Woman first appeared 75 years ago as a feminist icon, demonstrating beauty, intelligence and unparalleled strength. Wonder Woman entered the comic book scene equipped with an arsenal of powers, including invulnerability, flight and a dexterity for wielding magical weapons. The arrival of Wonder Woman seemed to expand the appeal of the comic books, providing female fans with a relatable heroine. DC seems to have found their female lead as the Greek goddess joined their pantheon of heroes.
Recently, the heroine celebrated her 75th Anniversary, a testament to the legacy of Wonder Woman. Over the 75 years of her existence, there have been many iterations of Wonder Woman, each representing a particular era. Throughout the various changes her character has seen, Wonder Woman’s ability to stand firmly as a role model to females of all ages remains unwavering. Since her creation, Wonder Woman has graced multiple forms of media, and although originating in comic book form, Wonder Woman has had her own TV show in the 70s, featuring Lynda Carter. However, Wonder Woman’s first solo cinematic appearance was unveiled through a cinematic trailer, and at the time of writing this, it has accumulated over 16 million views on YouTube.
In the debut trailer for Wonder Woman’s solo film audiences are offered a look at actress and model Gal Gadot, adorned in Amazonian armour, portraying the titular character. Gal Gadot aims to gracefully wield Wonder Woman’s shield, sword and glowing golden lasso as she portrays the warrior princess. The trailer showcases a female dominant cast and aims to offer audiences a distinct feminist impression. In recent years there has been a noticeable absence of female superheroes in cinema and the arrival of a Wonder Woman aims to rectify this.
By having a strong female role model there may be an important paradigm shift in the way woman are portrayed in media. Audiences may see delicate damsels replaced by confident female lead characters. The last time a female superhero had her own solo film was Marvel’s Elektra, back in 2005. This is a genre which may be primarily dominated by male lead characters, and for striving to change the status quo, Wonder Woman has already received attention and praise from fans. At the helm of this pivotal project is Patty Jenkins, the female director behind the new Wonder Woman film and pioneer for future generations of women interested in cinema. With Patty Jenkins crafting a tale of feminine empowerment, Wonder Woman aims to be the first major comic book adaptation featuring a female lead in decades.
In a recent study published by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen for the Center for the Study of Woman in Television and Film found the number of female protagonists has risen by 22% in 2015. From the latest Star Wars to an all-female Ghostbusters cast, the release of more female led films in Hollywood may change the way woman are portrayed in media. By creating distinct female lead characters, younger and more impressionable generations may find themselves with ample role models to choose from.
It may take more women like Patty Jenkins, a director with vision, to bring Wonder Woman to international audiences, aiming to bring a paradigm shift in the way Hollywood depicts women. If there’s an increase in the number of female directors and actresses involved in on influential projects like this, Hollywood may be exposed to a more powerful woman seeking to change the society’s perception of a woman in cinema.
How may the portrayal of a female lead in a blockbuster film like Wonder Woman change people’s perspective of a woman in media?