The scenes of young Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984 moved me to tears. It wasn’t the special effects, the scenery, or the script. It was the fierce spirit of a girl, uncrushed by external society, played perfectly by Lily Aspell.
I’m not the only one who felt that way while watching young Diana. Even Gal Gadot said she got emotional watching those scenes.
When I probed deeper into why these emotions came up for me, I knew it was because I saw myself in young Diana Prince. Although I didn’t grow up in that fictional world, and I certainly never took part in a grand contest of strength and smarts, I remember being a brave, smart, and strong girl. I recall having freedom of expression and the unlimited joy of being alive.
Girlhood can be an extremely magical and powerful time, especially if, like me, you were surrounded by strong women. I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Society places a lot of expectations on women–namely that they leave their wild strengths behind to fit into roles deemed “acceptable.” After a certain age, the world changes from the free-for-all and becomes more like a jail. For me, it was at 9 years old, one year older than Diana Prince in these scenes. Watching the movie was like watching any girl’s strength before the turning point where it all went sour.
The veil is pulled back, and the modern world is revealed. That’s when I found “dirty magazines” near a little league park. Nasty comments from some boys and men started around this time, and only increased as I got older. I also noticed their hard stares at me. Dirty gestures and jokes, with girls and women at the brunt of them, were common in grade school too.
To make it worse, the girls who used to be my wild, laughing friends became indoctrinated in society’s expectations. I clung to my wildness as much as I could, refusing to give in to what I knew was a lie. I’d never fit in, I’d never be valued by the world as much as I valued myself when I was a wild girl.
When the girls told me how I didn’t fit in, I agreed with them and told them it was a good thing rather than being someone I wasn’t. But the majority of them went along with the socialized trend.
I can’t blame those young girls for siding with the oppressors. Those girls were rewarded greatly for their actions, but they also suffered with the pain of conformity. I never submitted. I didn’t like the leering energy, and I found the jokes offensive, even at that age.
Most of all, I didn’t want to be smaller. I just wanted to be myself.
I’ve seen how society preys upon girls in my friends’ children as well. At one age, the girls and I played, laughed, and had fun. And then, one day, they became shy and concerned about their body image.
I survived those trying years by hiding myself from the world. I mastered energetic protection so I wouldn’t be noticed. I stayed in the middle of the pack, not so pleasing to the eye as to receive the majority of the leers and unwanted attention, and not so displeasing that I was made fun of more than was manageable.
In high school, I rebelled against the system, but it still took a lot of work to recover my fierce, wild spirit. I had shut off parts of myself for many years, and I didn’t know how to recover them. I didn’t know how to express myself, make boundaries, or even dance. It took being around other wild people and the reading many books for me to recall the strong girl I once was and to let my light shine again.
To this day, I still have to recall my unbound spirit often, especially after hearing or reading misogynistic jokes (reddit/jokes anyone?). Whenever I watch media with men dismissing women, or with women in acting subservient to men, or with women basing their self-worth on the attention of men, I hold strong to my bright spirit, so as not to let those roles and words affect me subconsciously.
This is why I work with goddesses. They remind me of my strength, my cleverness, and my abilities–all of which society would have me doubt.
Goddesses embolden me to find those unlimited parts of myself and express them.
They remind me who I am when I am too weak to hold back society’s nasty, boundary-running behaviors.
Goddesses uplift me when I’m confused about what my role is in society.
I now know what my role is for certain. My role is the adult wild woman who revels in her power and spirit. My role is the uplifter of others, of all genders, and encourager for them to find and celebrate their untamed spirits. I am the smart woman in my male-dominated field, who stands her ground and makes herself be heard no matter how many men try to speak over her. I am the way-shower of the intuitive spiritual path and the one who tells others their witchcraft is valid, no matter how strange it may seem to others.
It’s no wonder that I gravitated toward the archetype of the witch, as many others have before me. The witch embodies the wild strength of one’s youth, but at all ages. It’s the strength of having a spirit intact, healed, and uncompromised by so many unattainable expectations.
I realize I may not be ‘perfect’ in all of my roles because I only have so many abilities, and I’m learning (sometimes the hard way) how to wield many of them. I also have a limited amount of energy and attention at times. I do try my best whenever I can.
So yes, goddesses empower me. In a world where women are far from equal to men, I must work with goddesses all the more to make up for society’s detriment.
Although I’ve heard from some people that a “true pagan/witchcraft spiritual practice” should be split between the gods and goddesses, and that duality is the key, I’m just not a 50/50 kind of person. Mine is more like 90/10 because that’s what I need.
I do call upon a couple of gods sometimes–all of them ancestral and supportive. Through them, and through male allies, I know how enlightened male energy feels…
I just don’t feel the need for any more masculine energy in my practice. 10% is enough. The goddesses and godx I call upon have androgynous, “masculine,” and “feminine traits,” and that’s enough for me.
I recommend watching WW1984, if for the beginning scenes alone. In some ways, I feel this movie is an echo of the Witches vs. The Patriarchy movement because it’s so empowering.
Whether you watch Wonder Woman 1984 or not, I hope this article has been illuminating about why archetypes of powerful women and girls are necessary and healing for many people. I also hope there are more movies like this in the future.