The awesome born sexy yesterday video is putting that trope on the forefront of everyone’s minds, which is great. Critique away!
I just wanted to point out a few of the ways Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and the writers subvert the worst aspects of the trope.
I’ll try to be as vague as possible but SPOILERS:
1. Diana is not embarrassed by nudity of any kind. Yes, her outfit is revealing. BUT one guess as to who gets naked in this film. Hint: it’s not the person the trope usually applies to.
2. Diana is untouched by a man by virtue of the plot – she’s never even seen one before. But the film makes a point of calling out her knowledge of sex. It even heavily implies that Diana takes charge of her own pleasure, be it via self-pleasure or bisexual/pansexual Diana ftw!
3. Steve is her guide to the outside world, but so is Candy. Steve is her guide to the outside world, but never once is Diana abnormally impressed with his insights or his teaching moments. Ice cream vendor, though? He should be very proud.
4. The born sexy yesterday trope is predicated on the idea that a woman falls in love with the first schlub she sees and worships him. That emphatically does not happen. In fact, it’s a running gag that Steve is trying to convince Diana that he’s above average. Only when he proves it to her – through his kindness and his bravery – does she fall for him.
5. The thing that happens in the middle? Not the “prize” saved for the hero’s reward like it is usually is in the Born Sexy Yesterday trope.
So, yes, Diana is a fish out of water. Yes Gal Gadot is a stunner. But those two elements are not what make born sexy yesterday such an egregious violation of female agency. Wonder Woman does not exist to be taught by a mediocre man who she holds up as god’s gift than for no other reason than that he’s breathing near her.
Instead, she learns and teaches equally in reciprocation with a true partner–aka my favorite feminist fantasy trope.
Right now, it’s just me and you. We’re all stressed, overwhelmed, feeling anxious about things and especially because we spend so much time on the Internet. We’re having all of these conversations in our mind, especially when you’re thinking about oh, drama happening in school, on Facebook, or oh, drama happening with my favourite fandom on Twitter or oh, I saw this argument. There’s just a lot of noise in your head, we are reading all of these imaginary conversations from the Internet. And before the Internet, I don’t think this happened, because people had real human interactions or watched TV but now because so much of our communication is reading text and voices in our heads, we have this constant noise in our minds and meditating is something very good where you take a moment to just be quiet. Still. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Try as hard as possible to empty your mind of all that shouting, of all the imagining, of all the people typing, and talking on the Internet. Like forget what’s trending. Forget what is the thing that’s happening that you need to talk about because everyone is talking about it. And just be like ‘it’s just me, I’m alone, there’s nobody in my head’. Try to connect to the physical world, if there’s no one in the same room as you, then be like 'I’m just a person, alone in a room’. Think about what you’re touching, what’s touching you. Just breathe in and out. And if you do that for like ten minutes you’ll be like way more relaxed and stuff. It’s something I should do more often but I don’t, so I just freak out all the time.