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As you might have guessed from everyone in your Instagram feed power-posing next to Gal Gadot posters en route out of the theater, Wonder Woman won the weekend box office, earning an estimated $103.1 million in North America. It’s the highest-ever opening haul for a woman-directed film, a triumph for director Patty Jenkins, and some cold, hard proof of the the power of the woman moviegoer—a reported 52-percent of the film’s audience were women. As MakeLoveNotPorn’s Cindy Gallop tweeted today, “There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously.”
 
Hysteria has broken loose over the film; hot takes are lighting up Twitter. But Wonder Woman’s success may matter most for the same earnest, emotional reason why little girls dressed up in Wonder Woman headpieces are warming the Internet’s snarky heart: we really needed to see a superheroine right about now.
 
As obvious as it may seem, representation matters. As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once wrote, “you can’t be what you can’t see,” and, frankly, even in 2017, women (woefully) still don’t see enough of themselves in many of the traditional, high-profile spaces that signify power: not in the U.S. presidency (see: election, 2016, despite 3.5 million more Americans voting for the woman candidate), nor in the corner office (only 4-percent of Fortune 500 company CEOs are women ), nor in sports broadcasts (despite the ever-growing, Title IX-fueled popularity of women’s sports, they are covered less on TV now than 20 years ago; we get heroines like Simone Biles in primetime once every four years) or, of course, on movie marquees. It took some 75 years for Wonder Woman to become a feature film, even as countless often terrible superhero movies were green lit every summer since forever.
 
That Wonder Woman was so successful, that it “made it”—and that so many women made it so— is proof positive: we want and we need to see ourselves kicking ass like we know we can. And, of course, men and boys need to see it just as much. It’s the reason why kids (both girls and boys) skipped school and drove through the night to see the U.S. women’s soccer team’s ticker tape parade through New York after winning the World Cup; why women (in particular, it seemed) broke down in tears the day after the last Election Day, and why people geeked out over Charlize Theron in Mad Max. All of our strides considered, sometimes we’re still starved to be seen, and it’s still cause for celebration when we actually are.
 
Sure, Wonder Woman isn’t perfect—though it might be worth noting how that’s a disclaimer required mostly for woman candidates and woman stars, while male flaws are just part of the package. One think piece weighs whether Wonder Woman fancies itself more feminist than it really is; another article notes that Gadot’s leathery bodice remains highly impractical and over-sexy for the grueling, sweaty work of saving the world. But, really, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Thanks to Wonder Woman’s success, Hollywood is going to make a slew of other woman-led movies; some will be good, some will stink. But before long, they won’t need to be a special occasion anymore. That’s winning.

Words by  for Vogue Magazine

Art by Liam Sharp.

 

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