Wonder Woman’s Quest for Justice, Love, and Peace

Meghan Clark has a new article at America:

I am a theologian who knows well the experience of being the only woman at the table. “Wonder Woman” beautifully captures the intensity and frustration of this experience, as well as the feeling of greater responsibility for those not allowed in the room….

In the Gospels, one of Jesus’ most radical choices is his use of women as witnesses. From Mary Magdalene to the Samaritan Woman at the Well, Jesus trusts women to tell his story. In fact, if it were not for female witnesses, preserving an account of the crucifixion and resurrection would have been quite difficult as it was the women who did not flee. Unfortunately, women’s space in the Gospel narratives has not been celebrated for much of Christian history. The most blatant distortion is the maligning of Mary Magdalene as a repentant prostitute, a claim with no grounding in Scripture. Her strength and witness in otherwise male cultural and religious spaces were less threatening if she could be reduced to a female stereotype…

In many ways, it felt as if the hopes and frustrations of an entire gender rested upon Wonder Woman’s shoulders this weekend. It is an impossible standard for any individual movie or woman to live up to. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Diana captures this vulnerability and frustration. She is motivated by a deep desire for justice, love and peace. She wants to kill Ares to rid the world of conflict. Ultimately, she realizes that she cannot achieve that goal. The path laid out for her was not possible, and instead, she finds hope and beauty in humanity despite the darkness that looms beneath. Real strength is ultimately not power over others but power in the service of love and justice. She cannot rid the world of all conflict, but she continues to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.