Wonder Woman smashes box-office records and gender stereotypes

Three women — one fictional and two real — made Hollywood sit up and take notice the weekend of June 2.

The first, Diana Prince, is better known to comic fans as her superhero alter ego, Wonder Woman. The two others are Gal Gadot — the Israeli actress who portrays Wonder Woman — and Patty Jenkins, the American director who brought Wonder Woman’s story to the screen.

Man and woman standing and talking (© Alberto E. Rodriguez/CinemaCon/Getty Images)
Director Patty Jenkins with the movie’s male lead, Chris Pine (© Alberto E. Rodriguez/CinemaCon/Getty Images)

Together, the three are proving to be a dynamic trio.

Wonder Woman scored big with moviegoers on its opening weekend in June, beating out numerous male-led and male-directed superhero films — including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America — to earn $100.5 million in North America and $122.5 million internationally.

The movie gave Jenkins the biggest opening weekend of any film directed by a woman.

As Wonder Woman, Gadot battles against the forces of evil in World War I. Directing Gadot, Jenkins told the New York Times, “was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me, because Gal Gadot is so magical and wonderful. They found the best person in the universe.”

In October 2016, the United Nations named Wonder Woman as an honorary U.N. ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Speaking for her alter ego at the event, Gadot — who served two years in the Israeli military — said, “Wonder Woman is a fighter, better than most. But it’s what she fights for that is important. … her vision of a future of peace and acceptance.”

Jewelry inspired by Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has not just left its mark on the box office. It has also sparked a new collection of jewelry by Salvadoran designer Lula Mena.

Copper cuff bracelet (© Elsy Quijada)
Mena’s hand-woven bracelet is made of copper strands reused from energy meters. (© Elsy Quijada)

Mena hires and trains needy Salvadoran women to produce her creations. That’s one reason why Warner Brothers asked her to design a jewelry line that reflects Wonder Woman’s attributes of courage, wonder and power.

The studio also likes Mena’s modern aesthetic — and her firm’s pro-environment, fair-trade practices.

So Mena designed three styles of cuff bracelets, similar to those worn in the movie. She explained that Wonder Woman’s character is reflected in the bracelets’ materials: stones and crystals (“wonder”), recycled tire-tube rubber (“courage”), and copper wires from a utility company (“power”).

It was exciting “and, above all, fun” to work with Warner Brothers, Mena said.

The original bracelets Mena created for the Wonder Woman premiere were autographed by Gal Gadot. Proceeds from selling those bracelets will help train female artisans in El Salvador.

— Lauren Monsen