I watched the new Wonder Woman movie a few weekends ago and fell completely in love. Not just with Chris Pine (our love story began long ago), but with Wonder Woman herself and what she means as a heroine. Gal Gadot plays a character who is filled with optimism, strength, and kindness, without ever seeming cheesy or “too perfect.” In fact, some of Diana’s flaws are her best characteristics, and only serve to make us love and relate to her more. I love her so much that I’ve found myself scrolling through my submissions desperately seeking the next Diana Prince. So, with *some* spoilers, I will try to put into words why I want a book heroine like Wonder Woman.
(P.S. If you have a character like this, have your people call my people.)
(P.P.S Yes, I know the amazing Leigh Bardugo is publishing a Wonder Woman YA novel. Wonder Woman: Warbringer!!!!!! I have obviously already preordered it and routinely stalk her social media for updates. You should do the same, because preordering and social media stalking are cool.)
(P.P.P.S. Also, please consider this list of other mega-awesome novels that can help cure your Wonder Woman hangover. But now, let’s get back to the post.)
1. She is a fierce warrior. Let’s start with the obvious—Diana Prince kicks butt. She can spin through the air while shooting arrows and dodging spears and looking totally cool. She can beat up bad guys (and bad gods). She is also fluent in a whole bunch of languages and is totally book smart. When it comes to superpowers of the body and brain, Wonder Woman has it going on. Show me a book heroine with awesome abilities, whether those are physical skills or mental skills.
2. She is a fierce optimist. In contrast to Diana’s general badass-ery, she’s a kind and gentle person. She not only looks for the best in others, but she expects it. She has an innate sense of justice that acts as her guiding compass, even when she learns the world isn’t the perfect place she thought it was. Sometimes she may seem naive (which makes for some great moments, like the first time she sees Chris Pine’s…errr…watch), but I loved that Diana isn’t a cynical, jaded heroine. I enjoy anti-hero characters and characters who struggle with right and wrong, but it was so refreshing to find a truly GOOD character who didn’t feel trite or one dimensional.
3. She is a fierce feminist. Growing up on an island where women are the leaders and the teachers and the scholars and the fighters means Diana is the epitome of girl power. She doesn’t hesitate for a second when it comes to standing up to the patriarchy, whether that’s in the war room, on the battle field, or in her own love life. Some people—men and women—are afraid of the “f” word, but Diana flawlessly and gracefully demonstrates the true meaning of feminism: equality between the sexes. Period. Give me a heroine like that any day, every day.
4. She is a fierce fighter for what is right. Did anyone else tear up when Diana visits the front lines? (Or ugly sob in a theater full of people like I did?) I completely understood her desire to help each victim of that awful war…and her helplessness when she realized she couldn’t. We face this kind of tension every day, when we can’t physically or financially support each cause that needs our attention. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. I want to see a character who doesn’t accept the horrors around them, but instead keeps fighting the big and small battles, even when those battles are hard or seemingly hopeless. That’s the type of character who can inspire the rest of us.
5. She is a fierce believer in herself. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how successful you are or how awesome you are at life…there are times we just don’t believe in ourselves. Diana was told since she was a child that she couldn’t be a warrior, couldn’t wield the “God Killer” sword, couldn’t leave her island home and save the world of men. But guess what? She did all those things and then some. Give me a character who has moments of doubt, but who has an unshakeable belief in their own abilities to conquer the world. Because we can all do it. We just need to be brave enough to believe.
So while I impatiently wait for Leigh Bardugo’s Warbringer, I will also impatiently wait to meet the next book heroine who reminds me of Diana.
(And I’ll also probably watch the movie a bunch and go brush up on my comics. Seriously, what I am doing still working on this blog?)
In the meantime, readers, be like Diana.