Wonder Woman, Ladybirds and Girl Power

I just got back from taking my gorgeous girl to see Wonder Woman. She loved it, as did I – the messages overwhelmingly positive, the women on screen powerful characters with their own strength and agency, refreshing to see. As the action progressed every so often I would hear her say ‘awesome!’ and, on several occasions, ‘girl power!’ When Diana emailed Bruce Wayne, she leaned over to me and said ‘Bruce Wayne is Batman, right?’ I nodded. ‘So she’s emailing Batman.’ I nodded again and she grinned.

When the movie ended we walked out into the sunshine. As we headed home I asked her what she thought of the film. She said she loved it. I asked her why. Her answer was simple. ‘Girl power!’ And I was quietly glad. She went on to tell me that women can do what they want to do, be who they want to be, and I was grateful that she felt that way, knowing that if she’d been born in another place or another time, things would be quite different for her. I mentioned how far we’d come in the past 100 years and she agreed, saying that we can now vote, something she seemed very pleased about. Then she went on to say, ‘But I think women should be paid equally.’ This is something that’s concerned her for a while, since seeing a headline stating it would be 2069 before we saw pay parity – that is, the same pay for the same job (not long to wait now, ladies!). I agreed with her, and said that, even though we’ve come a long way, there was still a way to go before equality.

As we walked and she pulled silly faces and did acrobatics, watched bees buzz and kites dance, we talked about women and what equality means. About equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities. We spoke of how the fim’s director, Patty Jenkins, was a woman, and how that was unusual. And that, even though we’d come a long way, there were still women around the world who were being held back by old rules and old ideas, restricted from working or driving or visiting a doctor without a male in tow. I couldn’t explain why there were those who still thought that way.

Towards the end of the walk she stopped me, reaching up to disentangle a ladybird from my hair. We both smiled, then. A ladybird, to us, is my grandmother, a force of nature and one of the strongest women I’ve known. A volunteer since she was a teenager during the war, she ran her own business, was a magistrate and a school governor, in a time when women didn’t usually do those things. She was also a fabulous singer, performing with big bands in her youth, and never missing an opportunity to entertain – at the end of my husband’s and my wedding, when everyone else was flagging, she was still going, playing piano in an impromptu performance for the guests as they left the venue.

So it seemed fitting, on a morning when my daughter and I had celebrated women, and discussed women and all they can do, to be reminded of her.

Btw, Wonder Woman was awesome – five stars!

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40 thoughts on “Wonder Woman, Ladybirds and Girl Power

  1. It will be your daughter’s and her daughters’ generations that will, I hope, see the birth and acceptance of true equality. When the pendulum stops swinging too far either way and gets a chance to come to rest. Lovely post, Helen. xx

  2. on my list; i think Linda sees these films as a refresher for me… seriously though, it bugs me to hell and back to see any inequality between my son and daughter’s treatment and don’t get me started on arsehole men who think they can call out to my daughter and expect her to respond. Well done to both of you. I really hope it is long before 2069..

    • Hi Geoff, sorry for the delay in replying. Hope all are well in your neck of the woods, after the awfulness over the weekend.
      And yes, the catcall. Has there ever been a time, in the history of the world ever, when catcalls have worked? I don’t know any woman who sees that sort of thing as positive, and I bet as a father it makes your blood boil. Here’s to moving forward with equality, and let’s hope it gets here sooner than 2069! See you this weekend 🙂

  3. Fab post! o glad you both enjoyed Wonder Woman – hoping to see it myself soon (although the sprogs are a little young for it so will probably take The Husband!). It’s great that your daughter’s so aware of the issues surrounding pay, voting, etc – she seems very switched on :). Let’s hope things continue to change in our daughters’ lifetimes 🙂 xxx.

    • Thanks, Fay! Yes, let’s hope things continue to change for the better, for women everywhere. And oh, I hope you enjoy Wonder Woman- I thought it was fab, and I’ll be going to see it again, I think. Also fab, your book! Writing a review this evening 🙂 xx

  4. Great to hear such a positive review from a discerning viewer! I’ll have to go see it now. (We went to Guardians of the Galaxy II, which was – well, amusing. Pretty much as expected; nothing to write home about.)

    • I did hear Guardians was okay, but not great 🙂 Oh, but Wonder Woman was fab! Maybe it was because I was sitting with my daughter, but seeing all those strong kickass women on screen was just so wonderful. I want to see it again…

  5. What a wonderful mother/daughter day…purposeful. Still haven’t managed to tear myself away to Wonder Woman. “Disappointed sigh…” But I mean to see it this week, even if I go it solo–which is also okay with me.

  6. On equal pay, Helen, one of the best business quotes I ever heard came from Noreen Doyle, chair of the British Bankers’ Association: “We’ll be considered equal when equally incompetent women get the same opportunity as incompetent men.”

  7. It’s so much fun watching our daughter’s grow into strong women. 🙂 The cardinal, for me, is my grandmother. When I traveled down to Florida to head to Scotland with my mother, I went out in the morning to look at my father’s garden and heard a bird singing urgently. When I looked up, it was a cardinal sitting in the tree above me.
    Wonder Woman came out while I was gone, but I’m looking forward to going and seeing it. I’m glad to hear it was amazing.

    • Sorry for the slight delay in responding, I hope you’re well 🙂 How lovely that the cardinal is your grandmother, and so beautiful that she came to you when you were about to go on a trip. I do truly think there is something in such signs.
      And I hope you see Wonder Woman. I enjoyed it so much, and I think part of it was watching it with my daughter and seeing all those strong women up there on screen – it was a special moment 🙂

  8. This is such an uplifting and refreshing post! I admire how you used Wonder Woman to have a larger conversation with your daughter — that’s such a great opportunity to help her think and grow. You’re obviously a great mom, and kids like yours give me hope for the future!

    • Thanks so much, Kate – that’s so lovely of you to say. Perhaps that’s one of the great things about this movie – that it’s inspiring conversation between women of all ages 😆 It was an added joy for me, that’s for sure!

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