The Importance of Female Role Models
Some people are wondering why everyone’s so excited about the new Wonder Woman movie. At Knovva Academy we know about the importance of female superheroes--in fact our own CEO is a strong female leader. Thanks to this movie, kids across the world have a strong female role model to look up to. The movie also challenges negative assumptions that are sometimes made about female leaders. Overall, the Wonder Woman movie is both inspiring and thought provoking.
When considering the strong female model presented in the movie, we shouldn’t forget the group of women warriors who raised Wonder Woman: the Amazons. This group of women chose to organize themselves in a community devoid of men. In the movie, Wonder Woman herself states that according to the teachings of the Amazons, men are only needed for one thing: helping procreate.
Wonder Woman & the Female Warrior Archetype
Since we’re talking about a movie, we might want to take the Amazons with a grain of salt. Surely, there can’t be a group of women warriors that survive as a community with no men….right?
Yet, the Amazons have a much longer history than the movie or even the comic books. The Amazons appear in Ancient Greek and Roman literature as far back as Homer, and ancient historians, such as Herodotus and Plutarch, discuss the Amazons as if they were a real tribe. According to ancient accounts, the Amazons were a tribe of fierce female warriors who were responsible for founding many ancient cities.
Many of the amazing stories about the Amazons, involve one of their queens—Hippolyta. She figures prominently in the myths of Heracles and Theseus, and in some versions, she even marries the renowned hero Theseus. And yep, that’s the same Hippolyta from the Wonder Woman movie! In fact, her story is so well known that Shakespeare’s famous play A Midsummer Night’s Dream is centered around the wedding of Hippolyta and Theseus.
Historians today largely believe that the Amazons are only a myth. But, thinking about how far back this myth goes, and its myriad versions, gives more depth to our experience of the contemporary Wonder Woman movie. Someone seeing the movie today might think that strong female characters are new phenomena. But stories about women warriors go back thousands of years.
Literature: the Gateway to Cultural Understanding
Reading literature and history helps people understand many contemporary issues more deeply. Knowing about the long history of the Amazons, gives us more insight into the story of Wonder Woman and its place in western culture. Now we can ask deeper questions -- like “what is different about the Amazons in this telling than previous versions?” or “why did it take so long for this story of strong women to be retold?”
For the curious students out there, who want to delve into the culture that surrounds them, reading is the way. Knovva Academy is offering a fun (and thought-provoking!) reading group that will cover the Harry Potter series. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to read and discuss all of the cool stuff from the books that didn’t make it into the movie!