Yesterday I saw a headline about Wonder Woman and the importance of representation for young girls (here’s the Huffington Post article). The video and article highlight the importance of female representations of power and success for girls and women. But, in a space highlighting representation – men overshadowing women is also a prominent feature.
The interaction between Gadot and the young fan is beautiful. What I struggle with is how the Flash actor, Ezra Miller, steps in and offers advice. The way Ben Affleck is shown applauding the interaction (while talking to Thor actor). The way the author of the post discusses all as this male support as positive. Yes, male support for female empowerment is important. Yes, male support for female emotional responses to representation is important. But, Miller stepping in and taking over the conversation, talking over Gadot is a problem. Miller’s overall message is great, affirming of emotional responses is amazing – but why not let the young fan have her moment with only Gadot?
While Wonder Woman as a movie is not perfect feminism, it is a great opportunity for representation and discussions of the importance of representation. What I noticed from this Huff Post piece is the importance of how we discuss representations and support each other. The NBA had an interesting campaign to Lean In and support women – but the question remained at what point is leaning in adding your voice to a conversation where you’re already heard.
Intersectional feminist critiques of white feminism often point to the way white women will talk-over other feminists. How could feminists engage in public spaces, while supporting each other, without being talked over? This has elements of rhetorical listening – but when a space to listen is created how can underrepresented voices feel empowered and valued to speak? In focusing on just this article/clip, Gadot and the young fan had a moment of silence that presumably held a lot of meaning to them (or at least to the young fan) – how could a public understanding of rhetorical listening attune the fellow cast members to the importance of that silent space?
To practice this – what could this look like in classroom space? How can we create comfortable silence that helps all learners feel valued for what they brought to the classroom space that day? I can see elements of mindfulness throughout this blog thread – awareness and attention to the present moment as a way to create safe space for other voices to be valued for the approach to communication necessary and meaningful for them.