From The

Balcony

From The

Balcony

From The

Balcony

Wonder Woman: Lasting Impressions

SPOILER ALERT!…though if you haven’t seen this movie yet, we hope this blog gets you to it!  

Wonder Woman (2017)

Not often left speechless, the new Wonder Woman movie had many in our organization at a loss for words.  Torn between deeply emotional reactions and practical application, the desire to articulate meaning has been running rampant. Lively discussions and reeling thoughts have continued to ignite lessons and insights beyond what we imagined. Thus, as we pass the month-aversary of it’s release, and as the movie continues to climb over $700 million in earnings worldwide, we wanted to recap and share some themes that emerged through the different lenses of a few of our staff members…

LENS | 26.  Biracial. Straight. Cisgender. Middle class. Agnostic. Able-bodied woman.  Master’s Degree. Student Affairs Professional.
As a critical consumer, I know that companies need my money more than I need their product.  I also know the importance of seeing a movie during the opening weekend. Studio executives pay attention to opening weekend box office numbers. If a film does not make a killing in the first weekend, chances are we won’t see another movie like it for several decades. This is precisely why I dragged everyone I knew with me to the opening night of Wonder Woman.  [read more…]

LENS | White. Male. College educated.  
My impression of WW was that it had a number of interesting lessons to consider throughout the film. One that stood out to me was being able to be naïve with how you approach your purpose or dreams. WW constantly sticks to her moral code despite constant scoffs and misogynistic culture that surrounds her. As leaders, many times people can get discouraged and give up that internal drive to achieve dreams that others can’t fully grasp. [read more…]

LENS | GenX.  Female.  4th Generation Asian American.  Entrepreneur.  Professor.  Leads team of Millennials.  Master’s Degree.  Extreme Extravert.  SoCal Native.  Married.
Growing up without technology as it is today, but seeing it emerge in my 20s was an experience I didn’t realize would be such a turning point in our society.  Access to anything and everything all day, every day was a bit overwhelming at first.  To be honest, I kept and was proud of keeping my flip phone for much longer than society told me to.  Though I did eventually do what was expected and became a prisoner to my smart device, at times I actually loathe myself for doing so.  It is this daily battle that became particularly fascinating to me after reflecting on Wonder Woman. [read more…]

LENS | 22. Male. Gay. Bilingual (sign language!). Bachelor’s Degree.
Before I went to see Wonder Woman, I was a little worried, to be quite honest. All of my friends had told me how amazing the movie was, how it changed their life. So in my head, as a superhero fanatic, I was scared that Wonder Woman would not live up to the hype surrounding it. However, to my satisfaction, Wonder Woman surpassed all of my expectations. [read more…]

LENS | Millennial. Female. Bachelor’s Degrees. Oregonian. Self-proclaimed film critic.
I was fourteen when Iron Man (2008) premiered and I’ve been a loyal, die-hard Marvel fan ever since. Honestly, I’ve watched the DC superhero movies come in and out of theatres over the last few years without much interest. I feel a certain sense of (entirely unearned) pride when a Marvel movie comes out and performs significantly better than their competitor’s. While Marvel has dominated the field (my humble opinion) in all other respects, DC has earned a place at my cinematic table for giving me the female hero that I’ve been waiting for since childhood. [read more…]

Wonder Woman (2017)

Phew!  That was tiring and energizing all at the same time!  Though we could go on forever about conversations we’ve had about this movie, to conclude, we want to note that:

  • After ONE MONTH in theaters, WW is close to cracking the top grossing 15 Superhero movies EVER (and it hasn’t even opened in Japan yet…)
  • It earned $103.1 million dollars opening weekend, breaking the domestic record for a highest grossing film directed by a woman (the previous champion was Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey at $85.1 million).  
  • Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) is female, a native of Israel and biracial.  She served in the IDF (Israeli military) and won the Miss Israel title in 2004.  She also filmed part of the movie while pregnant with her second child.

Now, some of these facts may not seem like a big deal, or perhaps it’s surprising/disappointing that they are a big deal, but nonetheless, we feel that they deserve to be noted. Through accomplishing Amazonian feats, Wonder Woman has created a buzz that we hope will continue to rock society in the [mostly] positive, forward-moving way that it has thus far. We also hope that the lenses we have shared can be a model for how different perspectives can be discussed and respected by others who may or may not share similar identities. Whether you have seen the movie, like it, love it, or hate it, we appreciate being able to look at it as something larger than just a movie…but something that sparks interest, discussion, passion and action.

*Leadership Lesson*

Different people respond differently to different conflicts. It seems pretty obvious, but the most challenging thing about this truth is learning how to respect each other even if we have opposing beliefs, views, or reactions. An activity like I Represent Conflict can help you and members of your group reflect on how each of you reacts to a variety of conflicts that you may encounter when working together. Discuss the different underlying causes of conflict and strategies that will help your group to overcome them together!  


LENS | 26.  Biracial. Straight. Cisgender. Middle class. Agnostic. Able-bodied woman.  Master’s Degree. Student Affairs Professional.

As a critical consumer, I know that companies need my money more than I need their product.  I also know the importance of seeing a movie during the opening weekend. Studio executives pay attention to opening weekend box office numbers. If a film does not make a killing in the first weekend, chances are we won’t see another movie like it for several decades. This is precisely why I dragged everyone I knew with me to the opening night of Wonder Woman.  

To be fair, I’ve seen women kick ass in action movies, but usually it is one woman in a sea of men.  The rest of the women are running away, crying for help, or desperately clutching their babies. The first battle scene was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The Amazonian warriors (all women) storm the the beach on horseback, ready to protect their sacred island from the WWI German soldiers (all men). This movie depicted incredibly capable, strong women as the rule, not the exception.  Because there was no precedence for this, I could not have prepared myself for what I was about to experience.

As I watched this scene, my heart began to pound and a knot formed deep in my stomach. The Amazonian women slayed (literally) the German soldiers using bow and arrows, shields, swords, and fists.  The scene progressed and the knot moved higher into my chest.  I could not comprehend what I was seeing.  When Wonder Woman’s trainer and aunt, Antiope, flew into the air and shot three arrows at the same time, the tight knot of internalized oppression finally left my body as I gasped for air.  Tears filled my eyes as I caught my breath and tried to make sense of the images before me.  Could this be a reality?  Could this be MY reality?  If this was possible, then what else could be true?  

In the course of five minutes, the beach battle scene dismantled 26 years of carefully-calculated messaging I spent my whole life trying to reject.  I thought I had done a good job of silencing the negative stereotypes and limited depictions of women until Wonder Woman shattered them with one jab of the Sword of Athena.  I had no idea how desperately I needed to see this movie.

This movie was deeply visceral.  It changed my brain chemistry, allowing me to dream dreams I did not know I was allowed to dream.   My horizons are forever expanded and no one can take this movie away from me.  Wonder Woman reminded me that representation matters and I look forward to supporting the next movie starring an unlikely protagonist (cough Black Panther cough).  You can know I will be there on opening night.  Keep an eye out for my invite.


LENS | White. Male. College educated.  

My impression of WW was that it had a number of interesting lessons to consider throughout the film. One that stood out to me was being able to be naïve with how you approach your purpose or dreams. WW constantly sticks to her moral code despite constant scoffs and misogynistic culture that surrounds her. As leaders, many times people can get discouraged and give up that internal drive to achieve dreams that others can’t fully grasp. WW has her dream of what humankind can be and how she can directly impact that in the world. Her naivety is a strength because she can block out the negative critics that tell her it’s not possible and by the end of the movie she achieves her ambitions and is able to make the dream she has come to light.

One of the most interesting aspects of this approach to achieve your dreams is that the Chris Pine character was highly doubtful up front and almost mocks WW to a point. He starts the movie after meeting her and is highly doubtful of her ability to achieve her dream, but by the end of the film, her resolution to achieve her purpose ultimately convinces Chris Pine that it is possible. Sometimes changing the harshest skeptic’s mind is about staying true to what you know even when every single other person tells you otherwise.

While I think the outcome of the film justified WW’s mindset and actions in the film, I also believe that in the process of working to the main goal or purpose one can be mired down from others. Rising above the fray and believing in what you are doing is right is essential for being able to accomplish any dream or purpose despite its the scale or scope.


LENS | GenX.  Female.  4th Generation Asian American.  Entrepreneur.  Professor.  Leads team of Millennials.  Master’s Degree.  Extreme Extravert.  SoCal Native.  Married.

Growing up without technology as it is today, but seeing it emerge in my 20s was an experience I didn’t realize would be such a turning point in our society.  Access to anything and everything all day, every day was a bit overwhelming at first.  To be honest, I kept and was proud of keeping my flip phone for much longer than society told me to.  Though I did eventually do what was expected and became a prisoner to my smart device, at times I actually loathe myself for doing so.  It is a daily battle that became particularly fascinating to me after reflecting on Wonder Woman.

Born in the 70’s, I was able to witness and watch Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman on TV.  As I think about it now, I am amazed that I have memory of this.  I could have barely been 2-3 years old at the time and I can distinctly remember her fighting the bad guys on TV, having a WW costume and my parents shooting a film (yes, on 8mm film) of me making my Mom’s car disappear like Wonder Woman’s invisible plane.  In a battle of nature versus nurture, I have been consistently thinking of the impact of these memories after experiencing Gal Gadot’s WW persona taking on the world.

How much are we influenced by what society tells us every day?

Has society shaped our minds and what we think we can do?

These questions have been plaguing my mind for the past month.  I believe I am a pretty strong, independent woman and though I believe it to be true, don’t often identify with the notion that women have been oppressed.  I tend to not care about what society tells me I’m allowed to pursue or do as a woman and believe everyone should think the same no matter their physical attributes.  But in this notion, I also know that I have that privilege growing up in the time that I did, with the family that I have and the personality I was born with.  Which, begs the question, did Lynda Carter/Wonder Woman also impact my ability to see the world this way?  Did those writers, producers, directors, actors all influence my identity and my self-worth?  As I read the articles about adolescent reactions to WW, I can’t help but think even broader.  What have we been conditioned to believe about ourselves, about our race and gender, about our beliefs and values, about our work and time?  

My answer comes in a quote from the movie when Diana asks Steve about his watch…he proceeds to let her know that it tells him when to wake up, when to go to work, when to eat, etc.  Her response is priceless.  “YOU LET THIS LITTLE THING TELL YOU WHAT TO DO?”

In a society where I’ve been told to catch up with technology; to go faster, not slower; to work more, not less; this movie helped me to see that it is important to not only reflect on the influences in your life, but remember that so much of our mind can be programmed by what others think we should be/do/think. We don’t all have WW’s powers to deflect everything around us, but I praise this movie for reigniting the positive messaging that WW brought to me as a child.  


LENS | 22. Male. Gay. Bilingual (sign language!). Bachelor’s Degree.

Before I went to see Wonder Woman, I was a little worried, to be quite honest. All of my friends had told me how amazing the movie was, how it changed their life. So in my head, as a superhero fanatic, I was scared that Wonder Woman would not live up to the hype surrounding it. However, to my satisfaction, Wonder Woman surpassed all of my expectations.

But the question is, how? How did this Amazon Warrior steal the hearts of moviegoers around the world? The answer is simple: Wonder Woman represents something greater than just being a powerful, female superhero.

For every young woman who was told that she “runs like a girl”, Wonder Woman shows that running like a girl means you run fast and powerfully.

For every young man who was told to “man up”, Wonder Woman says that emotion and vulnerability are a strength.

For every female professional who was told that their male counterpart is more qualified for a promotion, Wonder Woman exclaims to fight back because you are just as accomplished.

These are the ideas that that Wonder Woman represents and the reason why she is a role model to so many.


LENS | Millennial. Female. Bachelor’s Degrees. Oregonian. Self-proclaimed film critic.

I was fourteen when Iron Man (2008) premiered and I’ve been a loyal, die-hard Marvel fan ever since. Honestly, I’ve watched the DC superhero movies come in and out of theatres over the last few years without much interest. I feel a certain sense of (entirely unearned) pride when a Marvel movie comes out and performs significantly better than their competitor. While Marvel has dominated the field (my humble opinion) in all other respects, DC has earned a place at my cinematic table for giving me the female hero that I’ve been waiting for since childhood.

While many might argue that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow fills Marvel’s heroine void, she is still a secondary character in comparison to her male counterparts, almost all of whom have their own self-titled films (see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk). Similar arguments could be made for DC’s Catwoman (2004) or Elektra (2005), but neither of those movies met such monumental viewing success or global following as Wonder Woman has seen in just a few weeks. And in the world of Hollywood, these factors matter.

The fact that Wonder Woman is the first female led superhero film to be directed by a woman matters. The fact that Wonder Woman has out-earned all her recent DC counterparts and took her place among top openings for superhero origin stories including Deadpool (2016), Man Of Steel (2013), and even beating out the original Iron Man (2008) matters. The fact that the film has earned an impressive 92% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes matters.

It’s safe to say that Wonder Woman’s success was wildly underestimated by the film industry and the viewing public alike. But, she has succeeded in setting the bar high for films to come. Women and men alike turned out in droves to watch Princess Diana of Themyscira singlehandedly dominate the battlefields of WWI Germany. Children have been inspired by her intelligence, compassion, and strength, affecting the way that they play and interact with each other. Other filmmakers are taking notice, and it’s anticipated that we will see more female-led feature films even in the next year.

Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, Captain Marvel, is not set to debut until 2019. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed that it’s taken so long. The good news: Anna Boden is slated to direct Brie Larson as Carol Danvers and I’m thrilled to know that there will be another woman at the helm of a movie about a woman. When talking about representation in Hollywood, it’s important to recognize that we still have a long way to go, but Wonder Woman gives me faith and hope that we’re headed in the right direction.