Have you ever wondered how it’s possible to keep going, day after day? How the world can focus all of its strength on beating you down, on breaking you, but you find yourself getting up the next morning, despite it all? That’s motherhood, in a nutshell, any mom will tell you that. You get up each morning because you have to. Because if you don’t, the children who depend on you will go hungry.
So you get up, even when it hurts. For love.
When I went to see Wonder Woman in the theatre with my husband, I was worried. I had heard so many glowing reviews from other women, exclaiming it was transformative for them, or made the sob like babies, and I don’t tend to cry much these days. I was therefore completely prepared to be disappointed in the movie, after all the build up.
I watched the beginning of the movie, aware of the moments that likely elicited emotion in other women – the training scene, where we saw the Amazons being powerful, strong women. The battle scene, where we saw the Amazons destroying these horrible men with grace, and being destroyed themselves, in the process. I didn’t cry then.
No, what triggered the waterfall was the No Man’s Land scene. The moment I realized that what I was seeing was a bunch of men telling a woman what she couldn’t do, and then her doing it anyway. And succeeding.
“It’s No Man’s Land! No man can cross it!”
“I AM NO MAN.”
What I saw in that scene was a woman who knew that the men surrounding her didn’t have the strength to do what it took, so she did it for them. What I saw was a woman “taking one for the team,” taking enemy fire, getting the hard stuff done because men couldn’t do it themselves. Just like we always do, as moms.
And do you know what the bonus was, in how this story was told? The focus was never on Wonder Woman’s body. It was never on how she looked, although she looked incredible throughout.
Seeing this movie put into sharp relief a fact that we kind of already knew, but really did not understand until this glorious movie: women who are superheroes can just be. They can be strong. They can be self-assured. They can be powerful. They can be empathetic. They can be feminine.
And they can do it all without wearing skin tight or highly revealing clothing. They can do all of it without doing or wearing anything overtly sexy. They can do it all while we admire what their bodies are capable of, not their actual bodies. This is a powerful message for our daughters to absorb, obviously, but it’s also a powerful one for us, as moms.
Moms are notorious for having a negative body image. Maybe it’s stretch marks that grew during pregnancy, maybe it’s that little pooch that never went away, maybe it’s the extra 20 pounds (or the last five) you’re sporting. Regardless, I don’t know many moms out there who look in the mirror appreciatively, rather than critically. When we watch Wonder Woman, we have the opportunity to look at women finally through a neutral gaze, rather than the Male Gaze. We are looking at beautiful, powerful women for what they can accomplish, and that’s exactly how we should be looking at ourselves. Your body grew a baby. Your body and your mind and your heart are raising that baby. That is incredible, and who the hell cares about the cellulite you may have developed along the way?
Fellow moms, we are all Wonder Woman. We get up, time and again, for love. Never forget that. Celebrate it.