I was watching the movie “Saving Private Ryan” with a few people from my floor late last night, and I couldn’t help but notice that throughout the movie, all the male soldier characters, (minus one miniscule character), try hard not to cry. Tom Hanks’ character was under a lot of pressure as the captain of the rescue mission, and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he wandered away from the group to cry over the two deaths his team suffered, the stress of being in charge of such a mission, and all the trials that come with being in the military. Tom Hank’s character, Captain Miller, even went so far as to look over his shoulder a couple of times, to see if anybody was watching him or if anybody could see him crying. After he felt he was composed again, he went back to his team and they moved on with their mission. And when Private Ryan was informed that all three of his brothers were K.I.A. (Killed in Action), he only let one or two tears fall. Most of his response was focused on not the pain and saddness he probably felt after he heard the news, but rather that he couldn’t leave his team, “the only brothers (he had left).” Most people probably felt that his response to his brothers’ deaths showed how strong he was, how “well” he could take the news. I on the other hand felt he was holding back for two reasons: because he was in front of his superiors and fellow soldiers, but also because he was in front of fellow men and he didn’t want to be viewed as weak.
Watching this movie, I couldn’t help but refer back to Tony Porter, and the “Man Box,” and how men are so trapped in it, that they can’t let others see them cry, or see them “weak” and “vulnerable.”
This is the video I plan on doing for show and tell this week. I watched this movie in my Women’s Studies class my junior year of high school. It’s a movie I think every woman should see; therefore, I figured seeing the trailer might motivate some of my classmates to see the movie. It’s based in the 1910s during the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Hilary Swanks plays a political activist, Alice Paul, as she works to grant women the right to vote. It’s an outstanding film that sends a great message. I was left feeling inspired to fight for what’s right and thankful for the women in my past who worked so hard for the rights I have now.
I’m a Wonder Woman fan and have been most of my life. My love of Wonder Woman comes from the live-action television series starring Lynda Carter in that aired in the late 70s. I watched it on afternoon reruns in the mid-80s as a very small child. I’m adding this tid-bit to reinforce the fact that I’m not a huge comic book reader, and I haven’t followed the comic book stories of Wonder Woman. I’ve mostly been exposed to her through television and various cartoon versions of the Justice League (Super Friends in the 80s and Justice League in the early 2000s).
With all this in mind, I’ve been rather eagerly awaiting a live-action Wonder Woman movie since the boom of comic book movies started over the last decade or so. There’s a long list of successful movies with male action heroes based on comic books: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. But the only female heroes we’re seeing are ancillary to male heroes. Black Widow in The Avengers (who didn’t even get her own film). Jean Grey and Storm in X-Men.
This Times article “Why Don’t We Have A Wonder Woman Move?” explores some of the reasons that, perhaps, Hollywood hasn’t felt comfortable launching a female led action movie, despite Wonder Woman’s iconic status.