The Wonder Woman effect

30 August 2017 | Focus | Thomas Peacock

The new Wonder Woman movie, with its images of sword-wielding is reported to be progressive yet crowd pleasing, faithful to the tenets of the genre yet wise to its own absurdities. Like Orange is the New Black, Frozen, and The Princess and the Frog, Wonder Woman features a principal strong female character who demonstrates the spectrum of characters befitting a hero.

Wonder Woman, the Amazonian warrior, is believed to be an ancient Greek Mythical. Interestingly, every Greek hero or champion, from Hercules to Theseus and Achilles had to prove his mettle by fighting a powerful warrior queen such as Hippolyta, Antiope, Thessalia. On the other hand, archaeological findings suggest that women fitting the description that the Greeks gave of the Amazon warrior women existed. Myth or reality, the blockbuster movie has aimed to rekindle in both sexes the many positive elements embodied in the Amazonian spirit, playfully dubbed the “Wonder Woman Effect.” It has five key principal characteristics.

Visibility

Wonder Woman is unapologetic; front and centre. For many young people, most of the prominent female entrepreneurs come from the beauty, fashion, sport or music industry. Similarly, there is a shortage of male infants and junior school teachers, and mid-wives. While there is nothing wrong with any of these careers, it is generally harder to believe that you can achieve your dream if you cannot sufficiently identify with someone who has blazed that trail.

Young, people of both sexes are giving back, showing up in their old neighbourhood and schools; inspiring others. It’s not just about fulfilling required community service hours, but being an embodiment of what can be achieved with hard work and grit in the face of stereotyping.

Camaraderie

Wonder Woman may be a fearless leader, but she doesn’t fight alone. Whether on the island of Themyscira or 1940’s London, she is part of a team. Increasingly millennials are running workshops, forming support groups, and becoming mentors. While it is far from a utopia, we increasingly have to face the fact that we are all in this together. We need role models and advice. We must also be generous in those same capacities if we ever hope to succeed.

Creativity

At several points in the movie Diana’s idea about how to solve a problem goes against the established playbook. Everybody looks at her like she has lost her mind. But, she knows her limits and abilities much better than they do. Get to know your limits. Find creative solutions to problems. In short, sometimes it is appropriate to abandon the playbook and take the road less traveled to be successful.

Curiosity

There were a great many things that Diana didn’t know or understand. When she didn’t know she asked questions. When she didn’t understand she sought counsel. Nothing is gained from pretending to know everything. The reality is that if you pretend you are only convincing yourself. Admitting that you need help, training, or coaching is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of true strength.

Grit

Like all superheroes Diana faced a moment when she could have given up, and nobody would have blamed her. She didn’t. Likewise, you will face moments when a problem seems too big, and the stakes too high, so failure represents the worst-case scenario. There will come a day when your natural talent has taken you as far as it can, and you must claw your way across the finish line. Remember, we can all be amazing if we dig deep, work hard, and maintain self-belief.

I believe that we all have a bit of the Amazon spirit in us. Unfortunately, too often we suppress it to the detriment of self and others around us. Imagine being part of a group that readily display these Amazonian characteristics. Consider what you could achieve. Image the positive impact that you would have.


Simone Pantlitz
Alexander Partners
www.alexanderpartners.org.uk

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