I almost did it. I selected a theatre and even looked up showtimes. As I began to mentally assemble my outfit and rework my schedule to accommodate viewing the film, I realized that I was all too familiar with this story.
Wonder Woman is yet another page in the consistent white female narrative designed to portray white beauty intertwined with an earthly anglicism. I need not see this film to know that it will portray the white Woman as the catalyst for all things good in a “bad” world.
Contrary to the ideally nurtured in the western world, the bad is seldom blatant. Both the individual and the collective have a fair chance at combatting that which they can see. The true “bad” in the world lies in Wonder Woman-like figures, whose embedded message seeks to uplift through depicting the very exclusivity that dominates the western hemisphere.
Wonder Women debuts in a climate that veils this exclusivity with the implication of “change.” Seemingly every film and television series has adopted the feminist agenda, avidly if not aggressively, feeding this fictive utopia to the masses. The film exists to promote feminism as the cure to all worldly evils, omitting of course that feminism is a worldly evil. Clad in a form-fitting costume with long and silky dark hair, Wonder Woman encompasses the conventional sexiness of a blonde with the rarity of a red head to project feminism as the height of femininity. Wonder Woman is a dark haired, dark- eyed white Woman–the pseudo “every woman” in seeming to encompass lightness and darkness simultaneously. What the casual gaze may fail to see, is that Wonder Woman resembles her target audience, and encompasses all her acquired audience wishes to become. Her dark hair provides a strategic contrast to her fair skin, painting the “Wonder” of wonder woman as encompassing the figurative light to societal conflict or darkness.
The wonder in Wonder Woman is that she embodies the antidote to all the world’s problems. She’s Helen of Troy mixed with Hilary Clinton–a savior to white women but a mortal enemy to the woman of a darker hue.
Western childhood functions similar to this film, painting the white Woman as Wonder Woman in far less attractive variants. From the abundant white female school teachers, to the tooth fairy, Mrs. Claus, every princess from Cinderella to Snow White, the white female body is a consistent figure of humanity to the western gaze. These figures function to embed into the black female psyche what “Superman” and “Batman” seek to implement into the general western psyche–that if you are white, anything is possible.
But as the young girl who reads these stories, attends these schools and watches these figures on television grows up, the fantasy of Wonder Woman vanishes into reality. Instead the harsh world eventually prompts the once naive black body to wonder what was ever wonderful about these pristine figures of their childhood. Although portrayed as the hero in fictive and real scenarios, the white woman is gradually unveiled as an inevitable villain to the black female body.
So, as a black woman, I know this film functions as erasure. I know this film functions to seduce me into a amnesiac state where I falsely separate white female action and intention from white male supremacists. From the white women who chase our black men than scream rape when it goes sour, or objectify our wealthy black men as cash registers, or reduce the quotidian black man to his genitals, to the white women who abrasively target black women at work, back to the very white women who tormented the black female slaves—this movie functions to force the black psyche to accept a white hero, despite centuries of white female villainy.
White heroes, whether male, female, trans, or what have you, are never capable of saving anyone but themselves. For healing is incompatible to the autocrat, who decorates their lives with the blood of the oppressed.
Therefore, the true wonder woman will never occupy a leading role in mainstream film. She probably will never make six figures and is unlikely to rouse a shallow gaze on the street.
The true wonder woman has probably yet to arrive home from her twelve-hour work-day, her twenty-four hour job as a mother, or full- time victim of white supremacy. The true Wonder Woman sleeps at night with a six-figure debt heavy on her conscious from daring to dream outside of the confines of systemic oppression. She walks through a neighborhood of businesses owned by any and everyone but those who look like her. She faces ridicule for her skin tone, her nose, and curvy body and faces countless queries if her beauty or attributes are deemed outside the scope of blackness. The true wonder woman is literally and figuratively raped, never respected, or rewarded. She is frozen in time, pieces of her flesh still floating throughout the Atlantic Ocean, or concealed in an unmarked grave beneath a skyscraper. She is dismembered by a system who uses her limbs to assemble their privilege and writes their laws in her blood.
She is the unspoken gospel of this poached land—the original statue of liberty—the feminine mold to which every race, ethnicity, and creed stealthy covets.
The Wonder Woman film exists to place the “wonder” into the woman concept. As a being excluded from this concept, I replace wonder with “black.” For the black woman does not need wonder, she is wonder. Furthermore, members of the black female collective need not go to the movies to view this fictive wonder woman—they must simply look in the mirror.
Article by CC Saunders