PBS’ Independent Lens has produced a fantastic documentary directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan titled WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. As a woman working and playing in American pop and geek culture, I was excited to get a sneak peak.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an informative, intelligent, and analytical piece about how powerful women in the media has reflected social anxieties about feminism throughout the decades. Wonder Woman is the most obvious representation, beginning with her first appearance in December of 1941. The film touches on several other powerful females portrayed in the media throughout the decades as well, including Charlie’s Angels, Buffy, Lara Croft, Sarah Connor, and my personal favorites Capt. Katherine Janeway and Lt. Nyota Uhura. Discussions with female artists and professionals, television heroines, such as Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), and women’s activists, such as Gloria Steinem and Kathleen Hanna, lend an inside look at how women exist in a largely male dominated world.
This documentary was particularly poignant for me right now as I have recently become the most independent I ever have been in my life. I’ve always been fairly self-sufficient, but somehow landing my dream job and moving into an apartment alone has shed new light on my capabilities. I’ve been slightly irritated to discover that various people around me find it odd that a woman like me is competent enough to accomplish what I have in the last few months and in my life as a whole. Watching this documentary was empowering and I found myself enthralled by the personal stories. From TV’s Wonder Woman herself to a little girl talking about her admiration for the character, but declaring her mother as her true hero, this documentary has it all. A must-see for any comic book fan or pop culture enthusiast, not just the feminist ones.
Find out more at WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines airs on PBS on Monday, April 15th.