The Powerful Reason Women Are Crying During 'Wonder Woman'

June 6th 2017

Almie Rose

"Wonder Woman" is a box office hit, but that's not the only reason why women are celebrating the film.

There's a phenomenon surrounding women's reactions to the film, which follows the origins of Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman — they're crying.

Laura Hudson, a journalist, nailed a reason why this is happening.

Other Twitter users chimed in and a discussion formed about the need for female representation in film, like "Wonder Woman."

"Representation is important. The overwhelming dominance of men (and particularly white men) in powerful roles throughout cinema and in media generally is taken for granted, and we don't even realize the absence of other people — and how it affects us in real life to see or not see images that reflect us on-screen," Hudson explained in an email to ATTN:.

Despite glowing reviews, the film has also faced some criticism for its lack of people of color. "Wonder Woman is awesome — but we still need a black superhero," W. Kamau Bell wrote for Wired. "But I kept asking myself The Question. I kind of hated myself for even asking it, because I feel like I always end up asking it: Where are the Black people?"

Amen Oyiboke wrote for Bustle: "Seeing a movie like 'Wonder Woman' hit theaters is undoubtedly awesome. It's empowering and about damn time to see a woman superhero as the main character kicking butt on the big screen. However, as a Black woman in America, I can't help but wonder if this 'Wonder Woman' movie would be as accepted and loved by fans if the character weren't White."

While a lack of including people of color is a major flaw in the film, very few can argue that women haven't had many opportunities to see themselves as superheroes.

"I literally had tears of joy streaming down my face during most of the film and got chills when she came in hot on screen," one woman wrote on Facebook.

A writer for The Los Angeles Times wrote about her feelings in regards to the film — and why these widely-shared feelings matter.

"I did not expect to cry during 'Wonder Woman,'" Meredith Woerner wrote on Monday. "Specifically, I did not expect to tear up during the fight scenes. OK, maybe if Gal Gadot’s Diana, Amazon princess, had given some terrific speech, or if a character I liked had died, but I certainly did not expect to get all misty eyed during the battle scenes. But that’s exactly what happened; when Wonder Woman started fighting, out came the waterworks."

"I felt like I was discovering something I didn't even know I had always wanted," Woerner wrote. She went on to explain:

"A need that I had boxed up and buried deep after three movies of Iron Man punching bad guys in the face, three more movies of Captain America punching bad guys in the face, a movie about Superman and Batman punching each other in the face and then 'Suicide Squad.' Witnessing a woman hold the field, and the camera, for that long blew open an arguably monotonous genre. We didn’t need a computer-generated tree or a sassy raccoon to change the superhero game; what we needed was a woman."

She added that director Patty Jenkins wasn't surprised by her response, either, saying to Woerner: "I’ve heard that a lot."

This is why representation matters.

"Females make up about one in four comic book characters," FiveThirtyEight reported in October 2014.

A major female superhero may seem inconsequential to some, but to others, it's powerful. The Representation Project, behind the documentary "Miss Representation," quotes Marian Wright Edelman who once said, "you can't be what you can't see."

If girls and women can see themselves depicted as powerful women in their own right (as opposed to being the girlfriend or wife of a main character), it makes an impact. "I cried like a baby during 'Wonder Woman,'" writer and editor Chrissa Hardy told ATTN:.

"So often we see female characters keep pace in a male environment by becoming an unfeeling robot," Hardy said. "Diana never hid her emotions, and still saved the world when the men around her couldn't. Emotions are never a weakness, and 'Wonder Woman' was a breathtaking example of that."

Actress Rati Gupta told ATTN: she was surprised by her emotions, but also by how she related to Diana, saying, "I thought I would hoot and holler more than I would cry, but every time Diana raised her shield to block a barrage of bullets or exerted power over someone standing her way, the tears just came streaming down. Because it felt so real - the pain, the bravery, the struggle."It felt like I was watching a woman just like me fight her daily battles in the real world as opposed to a superhuman in a comic book world. — Rati Gupta

As Hudson sums it up, "why should these stories — and the telling of them — be the exclusive province of men? Women are bursting into tears in theaters because they didn't even know how much they wanted and needed this."