When I first saw the trailer for Wonder Woman, I was so excited. Finally, a female superhero movie that was directed by a female too. I was filled with so many expectations.
Like many other moviegoers, I was completely blown away by Wonder Woman. It exceeded all my previous expectations. Everything about it was nothing short of amazing — the acting, the costumes, the action sequences, the directing, the storytelling, etc. It was about time a woman superhero graced the screen with her badassery.
I was very impressed with the feminist vibe of Wonder Woman. It was incredible refreshing to see women portrayed as the hero of the story instead of the damsel in distress. What I loved most about this film is the complete void of the “male gaze”.
The male gaze is defined by how films or literature depicts women through a masculine viewpoint where women are the object of male affection or pleasure. Most films in general utilize the male gaze quite frequently, and mainstream superhero films are no exceptions.
I didn’t realize how much I was peeping through the male gaze lens until I didn’t have to. I had become numb to the male gaze because it was used so commonly. Until I saw Wonder Woman. It was like opening my eyes for the first time to see how much society views women through the lens of the male gaze.
In Wonder Woman, there is no eye candy shots of Diana because she was not there for male pleasure. She is never hypersexualized in the film, which is a common occurrence in many mainstream superhero films. There were no scenes of her utilizing her sexiness to gain victory from men. Diana never needed to flirt her way to victory — she simply knew that her strength and skillset was enough to defeat an enemy and win.
She breaks the male gaze by refusing to submit to the ideology that she is there for the attention of men. I think so many times in male directed superhero films there are depictions of women using their sexuality to lure men in and trying to act like a male superhero would in order to gain credibility or success, but this never happens in Wonder Woman. She is both feminine and strong. Never did she think that in order to save the world she needed to become more masculine. Diana never acted like a man to achieve the success she was both feminine and strong. I think that is empowering.
I believe a huge part of the lack of male gaze comes from the fact that Wonder Woman’s story was told by a woman. Patty Jenkins did an amazing job in bringing this film to life and creating a movie to empower women everywhere. I hope that in the future of film there will be more women bringing their stories to life so that we can get more movies like Wonder Woman.