By Caliesha Comley
Georgetown organizations often use documentary and movie screenings to help students visualize components of a group’s mission. They are often great at generating discussion about hot-topic issues and events, not to mention entertaining ways to earn Nexus credit.
Last week, both the Student Women and Gender Society (SWAGS) and the Student Abolitionist Movement (SAM) made use of the silver screen to share their mission with the campus.
SWAGS sponsored a showing of the 2012 documentary “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.” The documentary explored the concept of heroic women as depicted in media from the 1940s to present-day representations. This progression – and sometimes regression – of a woman’s role in society was portrayed by the transformation of classic superheroine, Wonder Woman. The introduction to the film explains, “Wonder Woman provides a rare example of a female heroine who doesn’t require rescue, determines her own missions and possesses uniquely feminine values.”
The movie traced emergence of women in the workplace in the ‘40s, to the ‘50s housewife, to the Second-Wave Feminists, to ‘90s Riot Grrrl and Girl Power movement and into the conception of 21st century women. From Wonder Woman, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Hermione Granger, “The Untold Story of American Superheroines” presented an interesting visual of the strength and power women were granted through pop culture depictions such as comic books, TV shows and movies.
Featured in the documentary were feminist Gloria Steinem, Wonder Woman incarnate Lynda Carter, Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner and a host of scholars, writers and fans. These people weighed in on challenging pop culture gender biases, using of women’s bodies to portray power and the fascinating consequences of only rare depictions of women as strong and world-changing.
Also last week, SAM hosted a movie screening of the 2012 film “Trade of Innocents,” depicting one of the organization’s focal points: child sex trafficking. In the movie, a couple, played by actor Dermot Mulroney and anti-trafficking advocate Mira Sorvino, who are grieving the loss of their own daughter, work with law enforcement to rescue young girls in South East Asia who have been sold into sex slavery.
The movie provides gripping pictures of modern-day slavery and heart-wrenching images of exploitation of young girls. As impactful as the documentary, if not more, is the seamless way in which the scenes illustrate a true-to-life account of the typically unseen events and complexities of the modern sex trade.
Both films, “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” and “Trade of Innocents,” present contemporary and thought-provoking depictions of both the exploitation and the strength of women and girls.