“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.”—Warren Bennis. Welcome to the first Sum, where I’ll give my take on the meaning of the sum of the week’s parts. I want your voice too. Leave comments here or @GloriaFeldt.
The Sum: This week it’s all #WonderWoman. And #WonderWomen. #WW for short. We’re all around. And, wow are we needed. Here are 3 ways we can flex those superpowers:
1. Spend Our Money and Time Intentionally
Calling all #WW, here’s why it’s important to get behind the new #WonderWoman movie by going to see it this weekend: Supporting success at the box office by buying tickets, especially in its first weekend, will increase the probability we’ll see more female superheroes women and girls can relate to in pop culture. And the more #WW we see, the more of us will become #WW.
Side note: Gal Gadot might have the movie role but I’m just reminding you that you’ve never seen me and Wonder Woman in the same room…
2. Learn and Teach why #WW has been such an icon.
She and I are the same age. Our trajectory has paralleled the waves of women moving forward and getting pushed back into stereotypes in our culture—born powerful and – well, watch this video “Can Wonder Woman Cra-ac-ack Gender Stereotypes” by artist Linda Stein to see what I mean. I often use this video in my courses to illustrate how a superheroine created to be the antithesis of violent male heroes became a sex object for the male gaze and how we can take the real #WW–AKA ourselves, our power–back.
Paradoxes abound. It’s hard to change a culture while you are living in it. Psychologist William Moulton Marston who created #WW as a counter to the burgeoning male superheroes of the time failed to credit either his wife Elizabeth Marston’s contributions or those of Olive Byrne their resident “other woman.” (Yes I know this arrangement was kinky and that Byrne was Margaret Sanger’s niece—didn’t I say paradoxes abound and changing culture is hard?)
But back to the good news: Current #WW star Gal Gadot, a onetime Israel Defense Forces soldier turned model turned actress, describes her character. “Wonder Woman can be very charming and warm and have so much compassion and love for the world. She can be soft and naive. At the same time, she just happens to be this demigoddess who can beat the shit out of you and can be a super badass and smart and confident. Ultimately, she’s very relatable.”
That’s why accomplished women of all generations have yearned for #WW, for the new movie as Jacki Zehner so eloquently writes, but more importantly for its meaning, its metaphor, its relatable role model. And why so many girls love #WW costumes.
3. Appreciate the #WonderWomen all around, past and present.
This week, it was Happy Birthday to Sojourner Truth! Here actress Nkechi powerfully gives Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman? speech.” Here’s Kerry Washington performing it too. As Sojourner Truth —a #WW whose story of slavery to leading abolitionist and women’s rights advocate helped inspired me to devote my life to advancing women–said: “If the first woman God ever made could turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it right back side up again.”
We’ve got a lot of right-side-upping to do. If for example you care about the environment (given the brouhaha over the U.S. leaving the Paris Climate Agreement), supporting gender equality is the best solution. Countries with more women in their parliaments are more likely to set aside protected land areas and support environmental treaties, as well as to work for measures that improve sustainability.
There are also so many current #WonderWomen like Dr. Nancy O’Reilly tackling how we can make leadership positons work for women so that more women bring their #WW talents into leadership in a world crying out for it—an important step to take in light of the new article she cites in Scientific American.
I had a chance to see the Fearless Girl last week when I met up with my fearless woman friend and Take The Lead AZ
Leadership Council member, Liza Garcia. I know, my boots are kind of Wonder Woman-ish, aren’t they?
You are in San Francisco? We have you covered there too—check out what LA Shalini Sardana has planned for Design Week, June 16th, Turn Ambition into Action.
Now, Quick—click your magic #WW bracelets and name 3 points of super #power that you have and can use to achieve your goals in life and work. For you are without doubt a #WonderWoman.
See you next week and until then, #PowerTO You!
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.