To Be an Everyday Wonder Woman

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Published on Sept. 14, 2017, at 10:35 a.m.
by Elizabeth Selmarten.

The latest superhero box office hit, “Wonder Woman,” is something I find to be truly wonderful. Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” film not only makes its mark as a blockbuster with at least $615 million earned worldwide, but it’s also smashing records as it has become the highest-grossing live-action movie ever from a solo female director, according to Forbes’ Scott Mendelson.

While the cash flow is enough to make anyone use the title character’s catchphrase, “Great Hera,” the messages of the movie are the real wonders.

I, like many others, walked out of theater feeling inspired and ready to take on the world. However, I am not in Amazonian shape nor do I possess any cool weapons or armor like Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince.

Patty Jenkins and her star actress, Gal Gadot

But then I realized an important truth – it takes more than having awesome combat skills and defeating bad guys with bullets and braces to make someone a “Wonder Woman.”

Take Etta Candy, for example. Although a mortal secretary, the character “gave viewers a hilariously realistic expectation of their abilities,” as Buzzfeed noted, yet she still showed her own strength in the movie as a fierce woman who gets stuff done.

The examples that both Diana the warrior princess and Etta the kick-butt secretary provided in the movie for me made me think about my own life and experiences. In the world of PR, there are ways for us practitioners to be our own Wonder Woman both in and out of the office, so I present to you lessons I’ve learned from “Wonder Woman,” lessons that prove anyone can be super.

Stand up for what’s right and what you believe in
Wonder Woman isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right even if that means leaving her safe home for the betterment of mankind, facing an onslaught of Nazi machine guns in between the trenches in order to free an occupied village, or dueling a war god. Her advocacy for doing the right thing and her love for humanity is the root of what makes Diana Prince a true “Wonder Woman.”

While PR practitioners typically don’t encounter war gods and the like, we do face many ethical forks in the roads, as well as people blocking our path. Regardless of how small the situation or how difficult it may be, we should take courage and take a stand… perhaps not with a literal shield and sword but with calm words and reasoning, or as Etta says, principles.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Take initiative
Standing up for what’s right goes hand in hand with Wonder Woman’s initiative. In just about every scene, Wonder Woman takes the initiative against all odds whether it be training behind her mother’s back to be a fierce warrior, leaving Paradise Island to seek out and fight the root of war, or even fighting the Nazis in No Man’s Land despite being told to stand back. Best of all, she succeeds every time, convincing those in opposition to unite with her.

Taking initiative positions you for success. In PR, we can take initiative in every aspect of our job whether it being jumping on an opportunity from the get-go or pitching a story early and effectively.

Lasso the truth, always
The Amazons’ Lasso of Truth compels its occupant to tell the truth, a virtue the Amazons themselves hold in high regard. PR practitioners, like the Amazons, should always strive for honesty from both themselves and their clients. Dishonesty and hiding the truth will only make a crisis worse or even create one. The truth always comes out and it’s best if you and your client are lassoing out the truth from the beginning.

It’s OK to standout and venture outside the status quo
Steve Trevor tries to make Wonder Woman less conspicuous by the means of glasses. Almost immediately, they’re smashed along with the facade of blending in. Wonder Woman accomplishes more when she’s being herself out in her own armor than trying to stick to the status quo.

In PR, it’s easy to get accustomed to doing the same tired tactics and strategies over and over again and sticking to the same routine as everyone else. It’s OK to test out new ideas and think outside of the box rather than play it safe. In fact, it’s when we take risks and adventure out of the ordinary that we stumble upon greatness in our profession.

Change their minds, and change the world
Lastly and in ode to my childhood favorite, this lyric from the theme song to the late 1970s “Wonder Woman” television series with Lynda Carter is a motto we practitioners can adopt. In our industry, we strive for our publics to accept our message and then take action.

However, in the words of another comic franchise (Marvel’s “Spiderman”), “With great power, comes great responsibility.” We have the power to “change their minds, and change the world” but we need to make sure we do it ethically and for the good of both our clients and the world.

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