The Psychology Behind Why We Loved Wonder Woman

So the other day I decided to launch a video blog.  I hope you enjoy it.

WARNING!!!  SPOILERS!!!

If you have not seen Wonder Woman yet, go see it and then watch this blog.

THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THIS MOVIE!!!

Ok, now that that’s out of the way – here you go.

The Psychology Behind Why We Loved Wonder Woman

 

 

– Transcript –

*WARNING – MASSIVE SPOILERS*

Anytime Hollywood tries to make a superhero movie, they fail greatly. All they care about is money. Screw the story, screw the character development, screw my childhood hopes and dreams of ever getting a decent Wonder Woman movie. I have comic books from my childhood. I have a Wonder Woman keychain. I have a Wonder Woman poster. I am wearing Wonder Woman underwear. They had better damn well not fuck up my childhood and ruin this movie.

*three hours later*

HOLY SHIT they did not fuck up my Wonder Woman movie!!!

*Media Psych Marti Logo*

Greetings and salutations! I am Media Psych Marti – thanks for hanging out with me.
Today I wanna talk about:
WONDER WOMAN!!!!

*trailer clip*
Wonder Woman Wonder Woman Wonder Woman!!!
*fight scene*

Yes, this is a big deal. Yes I know there have been other female superhero movies.
*Male to Female Superhero Film Ratio*
Let’s take a look shall we? Here’s a list of all the male superhero movies that they’ve made through the years.
*long long list scrolls*
And now here’s a list of all the female superhero movies.
*eight titles*
Right?!?!?
They’ve had ten superman movies,14 batman movies and eight female superhero movies ever, and this is the first Wonder Woman!
*Wonder Woman Intro*

Obviously I love this movie. I have seen it three times. People are freaking out about it– and rightfully so. It’s breaking box office records. But before I get to Gal Gadot’s stunning depiction of Wonder Woman, let’s go back a few years.
*spinning Wonder Woman*
No, further than that.
*Cathy Lee movie poster*
Further . . .
*comic book cover*
Furth . . . what the fuck? Egads, comic books are weird.
*Wonder Woman Comic book origin cover*
That’s better. 76 years ago.

Wonder Woman debuted in 1941. She was created by . . . ready for this? A psychologist!
Dr. William Moulton Marston was an interesting character in real life. Harvard educated, he taught and wrote essays and– oh yeah, invented the lie detector.
The lasso of truth was envisioned by a man who invented the lie detector.
*movie clip*
Marston was a college professor, a writer, and he also worked for Universal Studios for awhile as Director of Public Services. Marston also had an extended marriage. His legal wife was Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and living with them as a domestic partner was former student Olive Byrne. Marston had children with both women, and they lived happily as a family unit. Marston created his idea for a strong intelligent female superhero based on the two strong intelligent women in his life, Elizabeth and Olive.
*Olive and Elizabeth lived the rest of their lives together decades after Marston passed away.*
In 1940, Olive interviewed Marston for a magazine article about comic books, and he talked about the great educational potential comic books had. The article got him a job as an educational consultant with a company that would later become DC Comics.
A psychologist working at a media company means Dr. William Marston was . . . a Media Psychologist.
Wonder Woman was created by a Media Psychologist.
Yes, this makes me happy.
Yes, I need a moment.
*celebrates*

Actually though, Wonder Woman is not the first comic book female superhero.
And I’m going to add Bulletgirl even though Bulletman gets top billing– one, because she’s on every cover, and two, I find phallic symbols amusing.
There was also a superheroine that debuted a mere months before Wonder Woman called Miss America. No, not THAT Miss America, THIS Miss America. She was published by Quality Comics who was later bought by DC. There’s even a storyline where Wonder Woman pretends to be Miss America because– Shenanigans.
Marvel also published a Miss America comic in few years after Wonder Woman because comic books are not complicated enough to keep straight.

Fun fact – the first Miss America pageant was held in 1921. This means it was held at the same time the movie was set in. Wonder Woman is set in 1918.
This was the very first Miss America.
This was the beauty standard in the general time frame the current Wonder Woman movie was set.
Not this . . .
This.
Now this photo is beautiful. This girl is very pretty. But this is not the beauty standards of today. Anymore than this is.
She’s all Betty-Boopish. These depictions are dated. Because they were the beauty standards back then. And while when you make a period movie, you use styles from that period, you do want your audience to be immersed in the film– you want them to identify with the characters. You want beautiful women to look like a beautiful woman by today’s beauty standards so you connect with her. That’s why the Time Machine movie made in 1960 had future humans looking like this . . . and the Time Machine movie made in 2002 had future humans that looked like this.
Not the guy in the middle – he’s from the past who traveled to the future in a time machine . . . spoilers.

When Wonder Woman trailers appeared, people got all up in arms–
Heh. Up in arms.
They got all upset because Amazonians are warrior women, and would they shave their armpit hair?
Then people got upset because people were getting upset about armpit hair. Or lack thereof.
Is this something that should even warrant a discussion? Sure. Anybody or anything on screen is fair game to be put under a microscope, and aesthetics are a huge part of movie making.
Four words. “Nipples on the batsuit.”
Yes, batsuit is one word, I Googled it.
So first of all, the psychological reason Gal Gadot shaved her goddam armpits for the scene is because of all that stuff I just talked about previously. Characters have to have characteristics for audiences to connect with them and relate to them, and beauty standards today generally call for shaved armpits.
Side-note: I am of the opinion that if you don’t want to shave your armpits, that’s perfectly fine. Do whatever you want to. Do what makes you happy. Go. Be happy.
If you want my opinion, (and you’re getting it, because it’s my video blog) I like to think the Amazons in this movie dressed beautifully and wore their hair beautifully because they wanted to. They did these things for themselves and not anybody else. When I was single, I still shaved my legs and put on makeup and did my hair because it made me feel good. Those women on Theramysica are awesome and they know it.
And they didn’t need to do anything for anybody but themselves.
Which is why they wore pretty outfits, and why Wonder Woman’s outfit looks amazing and feminine.

The director of this Wonder Woman film, Patty Jenkins, said in an interview on CBS This Morning,
*clip from interview*
All Gen Exers and older know Lynda Carter kicks ass.
*clip from interview with Lynda Carter*
But Carter had to fight for the character to have an identity outside of the superhero.
*AGAIN – WARNING – MASSIVE SPOILERS*

Patty Jenkins respected the history of Wonder Woman, and recognizing that Lynda Carter was a huge part of that history, Jenkins contacted Carter. They spoke many times by phone.
Hearing Lynda Carter talk about the importance of focusing on Diana Prince’s character, you can see that influence in this current Wonder Woman film. We got to meet Diana as a little girl – strong, and rebellious, then a teenager, stronger, Finally as an adult.
We got to meet and know and love Diana as DIANA. We wanted her to succeed because we shared qualities with her. That’s a classic tactic to make a character likeable to the audience – it makes them more relatable.
Who among us hasn’t experienced a parent who tries to steer us in the direction they believe is best for us, even if it isn’t where our heart wants to go?
Then their successes become ours.

*movie clip*
When Diana Prince took that beautiful cape off, when she stepped out onto the battlefield – people say they cried. I cried. My husband cried.
She stepped out of her shell and became Wonder Woman.
She had the overall drive of, “I’m doing this for truth and justice, and it’s my purpose as an Amazon and we have to protect the humans!”
Then she wound up being driven by other emotions.

Anger.
When she discovered Lutendorf had killed the entire village she had just freaking saved the day before, she lost her shit. Stuff got broken. It was awesome.
Betrayal.
When she discovered Lutendorf WAS NOT Ares and she found out who was . . .
She was less than pleased. She thought he was one of the good guys. And he lead her on.
Loyalty.
Ares gives her this whole, “Come with me and we’ll rule the world” bullshit, and she’s all – nah, you suck, I’m choosing the humans.
And then they fight.
Spectacularly.
Diana is at first defeated by Ares, but not because he’s stronger. It’s because she believes she isn’t strong enough to beat him. He has her trapped – in a huge hunk of metal, thank you . . . no ropes or chains or bondage images for this film, she’s fully wrapped in a piece of metal that’s squeezing her to death. Diana gave up. She lost hope. She wasn’t angry anymore. She’s run out of betrayal motivation. She’s freaked out that she’s a god.
Then she has a second to reflect on what Steve said to her, and she realized what that meant to her.
And then she watches him die.
Which leads to a fantastic fucking motivator . . .
Rage.
With Ares cheering her on, you fear for a split second she’s going to turn on the human race. And then Ares dumps the ceramic face gal right in front of her. Here ya go! Here’s the reason the man you love is dead. He hands her revenge on a platter.
And she rejects it.
She rejects it for the best motivator of all.

Love.
Not blind love. Not, I’m going to do this thing BECAUSE I love someone and it’s what he would want me to do.
Not even romantic love. Look, Steve begged her to come with him to help him – after she’d killed Ludendorf, remember? And she didn’t go. She stood on the balcony and didn’t even watch him leave. She wasn’t motivated by romantic love – if she was, she would’ve gone with him. She wouldn’t have let him get on that plane. He had a purpose, and she had a purpose, and being together wasn’t that purpose. And being together didn’t make her any stronger.
What made her stronger was the realization that humans were capable of love – and capable of choosing love.
Choosing love of humanity and sacrificing themselves to blow a plane out of the sky.
Choosing love of friendship and putting themselves in peril to complete a mission.
The friendships formed in this movie were believable and there was no question those people cared about each other.
“Charlie! Who will sing for us?” And then he sings to her.
That’s character development, folks.

Speaking of Character Development, We loved Diana as a person, and then we loved her as Wonder Woman. But you know, we also got to know Steve Trevor as a person. He wasn’t just created to be eye candy or a boyfriend to Diana.
Anybody care about what’s-her-name in Doctor Strange?
Anybody remember her name? Go on, I’ll wait.
She was a doctor . . . um . . . she was a doctor . . .
Would you care if she sacrificed herself for a group of people in a 50 mile radius?
Probably not.
She was there to develop Doctor Strange’s character. Steve Trevor was a separate character in his own right. He was equal to Diana and we loved him as much as her.

I was stoked to see Wonder Woman in Batman VS. Superman, but she had no character development. She was pretty, and she kicked ass, but I didn’t have any curiosity for her. I didn’t really care what happened to her one way or the other. Her purpose in the movie was basically .. . and heeeeeeeeeere’s Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman, everybody! Look she’s in a movie!!
Of course, you know, the whole movie kinda felt like that. Hey look, here’s the fight everyone has always debated for years– one entire movie to set up one fight that everybody knew Superman was gonna win– because he’s fucking SUPERMAN.

Audiences want to feel something for these people on screen – not see how cool special effects can be, or how many bad guys the superhero can punch.
Although fight scenes when done right can be pretty cool. That Amazon battle scene RULED.
But I guarantee that scene was better because you cared about the characters in it.

The end message here is, love motivated Diana. Not the love she felt for someone, but the realization that humans are capable of incredible love. And after everything she went through– when she’s pissed off and tired and sad Steve’s dead and she realized her friends were probably going to die and her whole existence was misdirection because she’s actually a god and she’s holding a goddamn tank above her head about to crush the evil ceramic face, she remembered what Steve said to her. She remembered her friends. She recognized that humans are capable of great love. She remembered why she was there. She remembered she was there to defeat Ares. And she finally believed she could. And when she believed she could, she pulled the most bad-ass moves and defeated the doubt within herself– and then defeated the bad guy.

Thank you for watching my brand new video blog, more entertainment and more silliness on the horizon. Hang with me on Twitter, FB, Instgram . . . Media Psych Marti with an “i.”
Bye!

Advertisements

Comment . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s