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EDITORIAL: Wonder Women
"Wonder Woman" is an extraordinary movie.
Yes, it's the first movie about a female superhero. And it was directed by a woman. And it's far exceeded anticipated ticket sales ($103 million opening weekend), and it's drawn raves from critics and audience members alike.
But it's more than that.
"Wonder Woman" shows women as fierce warriors. And that has many women in tears, crying at battle sequences.
For decades, women have been trying to live up to the "superwoman" myth. They have careers, they have families, they have homes. They come home from a long day of work to start the second shift: child care, cooking, laundry, cleaning.
But at the movies, nearly all the superheroes were men. Sure, Black Widow is a key member of The Avengers, and Batgirl showed up in one of the early "Batman" movies, and some of the X-Men are actually X-Women.
But when it came time to focus on one character for a whole movie, it was always the guys. "Captain America." "Iron Man." "Batman v Superman."
In "Guardians of the Galaxy," there's more buzz about a CGI dancing tree than Gamora, aka Zoe Saldana, with lots of makeup.
But "Wonder Woman" changes that. One of the first scenes in the movie shows women training for battle. Not women with super powers, not aliens, not women who have been threatened. Ordinary women training their bodies to do extraordinary tasks, again and again, because soon, they will put those skills to use, and while some will die, they will win.
And that's when many women started to feel the tears coming.
By the time Diana Prince makes it to No Man's Land, women were wiping their eyes again, watching as Diana listens to all the men telling her she can't climb out of the trench and save a town, and then tearing up as she does it anyway, deflecting bullets with bracelets, leaning into machine-gun fire with her shield while the men realize what's going on and follow her to do what they said couldn't be done and save that town.
Director Patty Jenkins had to fight to include that scene in the movie.
"I think to some of the people I was working with it was confusing. 'Who's she fighting?' (But) it's not about that, it's about her," Jenkins said.
Women get it. And not just women in the movies, women in real life face extraordinary challenges and meet them.
Ruzhou "Jenny" Tang recently got an associate degree from HACC while also working full time at her parents' restaurant, Number One Szechaun in Red Lion. Tang emigrated from China when she was 10, and she credits her teachers with making sure she learned to speak English fluently. Now, at 20, she plans to attend Penn State Harrisburg to get a bachelor's degree while still working with and interpreting for her parents.
Ann Barshinger's husband, Richard, died in 2001, leaving her in charge of the foundation the two had set up to use their family's wealth to help others. Last week, VisionCorps renamed its York building to honor the Barshingers and their commitment to the York and Lancaster communities.
Ariana Grande's May 22 concert in Manchester, England, became a crime scene when a man set off a bomb, killing 22 people. Grande struck back against the hate, pulling together a concert Sunday with many other music stars that raised $13 million for Manchester and the victims of the bombing.
"Wonder Woman" has perfect timing. The movie is letting women in its audience see that they, too, can be superheroes, they can rise above expectations, they don't have to listen when people say no.
"Wonder Woman" is showing women everywhere that they can be superheroes. Not Wonder Woman, Wonder Women.