Finally, finally, I went to see Wonder Woman. Yes, I was slow off the mark for the little girl who once stood on the shed roof and declared herself to be Superwoman, then jumped off.
Superwoman wasn’t a thing, but I’d just watched Superman and I wanted to be a hero, too. A female hero. Yet still I missed Wonder Woman’s record-breaking opening weekend when it became the biggest female-directed debut yet, taking $223 million at the global box office.
Wonder Woman beat Iron Man, it trounced Thor and now, three weeks later, it’s topped $600 million, grossing more than any other female-directed nonanimated movie and fast closing in on Kung Fu Panda 2’s record takings.
I’d waited 39 years for this, so why then did I wait another three weeks to see it, cheering from outside the cinema? Because I was scared. What if it wasn’t good enough?
By good enough I mean as good as the very best superhero films, because Wonder Woman came clouded by that “little women” baggage, the same burden that weighed down 2016’s Ghostbusters, the remake with the female cast that I was so excited about.
Somehow, before it even came out, Ghostbusters managed to become the most down-voted film on review websites and YouTube yet. Blokes online tanked it on principle. Doubtless some women did, too.
This is what happens when audacious women stick their shoulders above the parapet, when they reach (too) high or far, for so many people are waiting for them to fail, expecting to nod sagely, going “Bless them, they tried, cute.”
Or saying much worse.
The thing is, if women demand to be let inside the men’s club then what they bring with them sure as hell better not be mediocre or, heaven forbid, actively bad, because then all of similarly striving womankind are judged as having failed collectively.
Yet a thousand bad “men’s” films are shrugged off every year. It’s the same in business, in politics, or anywhere where women are a minority but insist on being heard. They had better be wonder women.
Thankfully, Wonder Woman was brilliant and Ghostbusters was a riot. Women are good enough, so can we ease the pressure now? Can we let women be just okay, too?