First, I think: well duh. We didn't forget that characters like Buffy, Xena, and Ripley (from the Alien franchise) existed. And the effects of those characters are still there, and valid.
Second, I think: but it's not the same.
Ripley was a bad-ass, but she was future sci-fi woman struggling with aliens and restricted by being a normal human.
|Cat, child, helpless prisoners...|
Ripley's motives had a
distinct slant to them.
Xena was a bad-ass, but she still lived in a world where her sexuality was a thing, and she used it several times. Her relationship with her god-nemesis Aries (same nemesis as Wonder Woman, BTW) was one of him trying to bone her. Plus, Xena faced the world knowing how people viewed her, both as a woman and as a reformed villain. She had things she dealt with on those fronts.
but still in a
So bad-asses in their own right, but not the same thing.
Third, I think: it's more complicated than that and this meme isn't fair to that, or us.
Wonder Woman, the movie, makes women cry. Literal tears falling down our faces. A lot of the men I know cried too. We weren't sad. We weren't angry or frustrated. Most of us weren't even under some illusion that this movie was Epic Beyond All Measure (tm). In fact, most of us have struggled to figure out WHY we were crying.
That's right. We don't know. We FEEL the why, but the words are not springing to mind to explain to ourselves or others WHY it touched us so much.
So when people blog or post about it, they use the words they have, struggling through the muddle of language and understanding. We say things that are mostly right, but may not be nail-on-the-head right. And as we blurt out these mostly-truths, trying to figure out the right way to express this unprecedented feeling...
We are told that we are wrong. That our facts are incorrect. That we didn't get all our shits together enough.
Women are a disenfranchised group, along with POCs, LGBTQ+, and many others. We live in a world designed for someone else, not us. We live in a world where our entertainment has been, to some degree, formed around someone else. We live in a world where "real" characters like us have certain ways of viewing the world, or baggage, or something.
We got to see something different in Wonder Woman. It is literally so different from the norm that many of us don't know how to describe it. And because we struggle with the words and phrases that we must create or redefine or recombine to do this, we and our experiences are dismissed with a reminder that there have been other characters kinda the same.
And the fourth thing that comes to mind is this:
Were we supposed to be satisfied with those previous bad-asses and not be SO thrilled when we get someone who (once again) steps up the female-character game? Sure, those previous nibbles were nice (great, even, for their time), but I'm in search of the woman-character feast.
See, we aren't stupid. We know we had great female characters. But we also know that some wall was broken through with this one. We can't explain it, yet, but we know it. We will not be forced to be grateful for tokens and crumbs