I don’t often get the chance to read Empire magazine, with it’s insights into all the latest films. But I’ve been getting quite excited about this one. As a small boy I loved WonderWoman’s sassy way, how she was pretty and confident and always beat the bad guys. And that twirl … where she spins round and round and the music cries out “Wonder Woman!” and she comes out a fully equipped superhero. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, (it’s the 70s TV show with Lynda Carter), jump into the nostalgia right here. Six year old me used to practice it in my living room. 44 year old me would feel a bit silly and get a bit dizzy. But you never know. I might be tempted when the film comes out…
Wonder Woman is being touted as a new feminist icon. But I wonder. Powerful. Yes. Strong. Yes. But why is her skirt no further down than her hips? Call me old fashioned, but isn’t there a kind of conflict in seeing someone as a feminist icon and then saying they have to embody girl power through looking like a Barbie Doll?
My teenage daughter would tell you it’s about women having the right to choose. To wear make up or not to wear make up. To work as a brain surgeon or a hairdresser. That is inevitably true. Look at the whole ‘high heels at work’ campaign. The right to choose is essential. But our icons and our images really matter. Where’s the female superheroes fully clad? (if it really is a choice). Come on Marvel & DC. Let’s challenge the stereotypes just a little bit more.
Talking of stereotypes, some of you folks out there might find it a bit strange, or nigh on hypocritical, for a male church minister to be musing on feminism. And there’s no way I can defend the shenanigans in the Church of England Synod or generations of mysogyny. I do genuinely think things have changed in (most of) the church though. And besides, it’s people who are abusive to women & haven’t wanted things to change. Not God. I’m married to a woman minister in a church that would look at you as very oddly if you suggest God couldn’t call and gift her to be a preacher because of her sex.
And of course, there’s been some squiffy fake news about the Bible too. There are many woman leaders in the early church. A business woman called Lydia who leads a church, a teacher called Priscilla, a senior leader called Junia. Jesus once settled a disputes between two sisters. Martha thought the woman’s place was in the kitchen but her sister Mary wanted to sit with the men and learn theology. Jesus’ answer. ‘Girls, get outta the kitchen!’ (Or words to that effect).
‘Girls, get outta the kitchen!’ Jesus Christ
Can I argue for Jesus a feminist icon? Yes I can. In a world system where women held no position of power, he broke the mould. Some of his most important financial backers were women. When men criticised a woman’s bad spending habits (plus ca change!) he slammed them down for their hypocrisyi. And he saw into the hearts of women who worshipped God with integrity, and past the ostentatious swagger of rich men. So yes, I’ll go for Jesus as a feminist icon any day of the week.
All this said, I do like the Lycra & and twirly hair thing. Maybe the male superheroes could be a bit more sparkly, in a kinda Strictly way, and honour would be satisfied.