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Clark to Host Sneak Peek of Wonder Woman Documentary

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

 

It’s a bird, it’s a plane--it’s definitely not Superman. This Thursday night, Wonder Woman is taking center stage for a change at Clark University’s advanced screening of the film Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.

The documentary, directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and produced by Kelcey Edwards, will be shown at 7 p.m. in Clark University’s Sackler Hall 120, two weeks before its national debut on PBS on Monday, April 15th. The film screening is free and completely open to the public.

“I loved the idea of looking at something as populist as comics to reveal our cultural obsessions, and in particular, how women’s roles have changed over time.” says Guevara-Flanagan of the film’s main focus.

From her comic book birth in the 1940’s to her portrayals in the films and pop culture of today, Wonder Woman’s historical transformations have reflected the male-dominated society’s wariness of powerful women. Created by Harvard-educated pop psychologist William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman originally cast a radically empowered shadow in the WWII years, but was later demoted to a lackluster fashion boutique owner in the 1960s until her dramatic revival by feminist Gloria Steinem and the women of Ms. Magazine.

“The narratives of our most iconic superheroes, told and re-told over decades, boldly outline our shifting values. I hope the film also conveys the unpredictable ways those icons can shape and even transform us in return.” says Guevara-Flanagan.

Guevara-Flanagan’s film presents the various perspectives of comic authors, historians, avid Wonder Woman fans, and real-world superheroines such as Steinem and musician Kathleen Hanna towards this iconic female figure. This film also features the behind-the-scenes viewpoints of Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner, who portrayed Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman respectively on the 1970’s television series.

“Like most women and men of my generation, I grew up with Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman” television show.” says Guevara-Flanagan. “I had friends who were Wonder Woman for Halloween year after year because there were so few options for girls as fantasy heroes.”

In a society still too focused on beauty and feminine ideals, Wonder Woman herself provides a heroic example of a powerful female whose priorities extend further to include more than just relationships and self-image. As an inspiring role model for girls, Wonder Woman herself has long been ruled by men; this however, has recently changed.

“Fast-forward some thirty years and I was reading a New York Times article that introduced Gail Simone as Wonder Woman’s first female writer EVER,” says Guevara-Flanagan. “Here was this incredible feminist symbol who had always been stuck, like a lot of strong female characters, between being created by men and being primarily consumed by boys.”

Exploring how our highly visual culture places more emphasis on girls’ and women’s looks rather than on their deeds, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroine urges women to claim the action genre —and media in general—as their own, if they want to change how they are represented.

“For some it’s Lara Croft, for others it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we all need those iconic heroes that tell us we have the power to slay our dragons and don’t have to wait around to be rescued,” says Guevara-Flanagan.

After the film’s screening on Thursday night, there will be a community dialogue meant to engage the public in discussion about historical and contemporary anti-racist work. The advanced screening is presented by N-CITE, a Worcester-based media collective with the goal of challenging mainstream media portrayals, ITVS Community Cinema, which supports innovative independent films, and Clark University.

 

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