Who’s Your Wonder Woman?
If you were a superheroine or superhero, what powers would you possess to make the world a better place for women and girls?
If only it were that easy — ask and be granted the powers to transform the world! But it’s not.
When I was growing up, I remember watching the female superheroes of the day — a motley assortment of TV women in the 1970s and 80s. They ranged from the real-life Diahann Carroll, who starred in Julia, to characters like Florida Evans of Good Times and Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show. All different but hard-working, strong African American women in their own ways, available on the small screen week after week. They utilized their superpowers to rally against the evils of poverty, racism, and low expectations — without a cape in sight.
But there were also comic characters, all white women — Wonder Woman with her hilarious costume (I still remember her spinning around in the intro), the Bionic Woman (a favorite, but a little creepy), and later, Charlie’s Angels’ oozing sexuality. All were pop culture’s response to the male-dominated genre of superheroes like Batman and Superman.
During the month of March, you’ll have an opportunity to reminisce about the heroines of the past with the new film Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Kelcey Edwards. It traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The film goes behind the scenes with TV stars Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (the Bionic Woman), comic writers and artists, and real-life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna, and others, who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.
Wonder Women! is part of the Women and Girls Lead initiative, an innovative public media campaign designed to celebrate, educate, and activate women, girls, and their allies across the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century.
In the Washington, D.C., area, Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Community Cinema are presenting free preview screenings:
- Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m. at the D.C. Jewish Community Center (1529 16th St. NW)
- Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m. at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St. NW)
For reservation information, visit www.communitycinema-dc.org or call 202.939.0794. You can also follow the Community Cinema DC Twitter hashtag #wwccdc (@CCinemaDC).
Not in D.C.? Find a screening in your community.
AAUW also has many ways you can exercise your superpowers and be a Wonder Woman in your community:
- Introduce a girl to engineering by entering our battle of the lesson plans contest.
- Propel a young woman to leadership via AAUW’s Elect Her program.
- Be an advocacy rock star, and learn about tools you can use to speak out for women and girls.
- Support AAUW programs through charitable giving.
You can watch more Women and Girls Lead documentaries during the month of March on the #SheDocs Online Film Festival.
My superpower? I would grant women and girls a life free from violence to enable lives of dignity, purpose, and fulfillment.