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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Many pro-female messages in this film, including women are powerful, women care for each other and lift each other up, girls who see strong female role models become more confident and curious, and more. Additional themes include perseverance, courage, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
The authors, professors, actors, Wonder Woman fans and pundits interviewed are unfailingly supportive of each other and of women who need to see themselves represented onscreen. TV's Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, notes that she gets mail from women now in their 20s and 30s who used to watch her on TV and now work as engineers and scientists.
Violence & Scariness
Comic book images are used that show Wonder Woman being bound and tied, fighting and pushing over villains. A few images are culled from horror comics and are more intense, such as a brief shot of a man holding a woman's severed head. Some excerpts of film scenes are violent, as when Thelma and Louise cause a truck to explode or Sigourney Weaver's Aliens characters shoots egg pods with a machine gun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many images of superheroines in very brief revealing costumes; this issue is subverted somewhat by discussion of what these costumes mean and why female superheroes are so frequently costumed this way.
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A few bleeped curses culled from films as when the heroines from Thelma and Louise tell a trucker he'd better say he's sorry or they'll "make you f--king sorry."
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Products & Purchases
Many images of comic book characters and movies.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines is a documentary about female superheroes and female heroism that would make excellent whole-family viewing, particularly for families with daughters. There are some bleeped curses, often in excerpts from films like Thelma and Louise, and some violent images, such as in Aliens when Sigourney Weaver straps on a machine gun and fires it at a clutch of alien eggs. Many women and female superheroes are shown in brief, revealing costumes; the documentary makes a point of discussing why. Those who watch this documentary will learn much about recent American history and the role of women in it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Viewers of this documentary come to understand why Wonder Woman was created and how her image and iconography has changed over time to suit the changing ideas of what womanhood should be. In the spangled, abbreviated costume that somehow offers incredible frontal support, Wonder Woman has become something of a camp icon in pop culture. However, she's anything but to the legions of women and girls who look to Wonder Woman and heroes like her to provide a strong role model that influences lives.
In perhaps the most powerful moments of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, a fourth-grader explains why she idolizes Wonder Woman: "She shows girls can be daring and brave," she says, swishing the cape of her Wonder Woman costume. "Sometimes I get picked on at school but I tell myself, keep going, you're going to be more someday." In another stirring sequence, we see a young working mother get a Wonder Woman tattoo on her shoulder: "I have a daughter. I have two jobs. I study and take care of the house. I have to be a wonder woman to do it," she laughs. Then we see her 4-year-old daughter, already "a little Wonder Woman," who will be "strong" and will "never give up." That, plus the sequence when Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner explains that she gets fan mail from grown-up female viewers who went on to careers in science in math instead of just going to beauty school like their parents wanted, should have sensitive viewers almost in tears/ready to go out and take on the world.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.