When Diana Met Sammy

We need to talk about this scene in Wonder Woman, y'all. But first, some back story. 

When I was 15 I got my first actual job as a waitress at Johnny Rockets. There was a guy there named Mathias* who was very short. And he liked to give all the women hugs. Now, at 15 I was built like a surfboard (at least on top) and had no endowments to speak of. Most of my male friends were decent teenage versions of human beings, or considered me their sister, so I didn't get a lot of physical harassment. And I was naive. So the first time Mathias hugged me, I didn't notice that his face went straight into what served as boobs at the time. (Seriously, I wasn't even an A cup. I had nothing.) Only after that did a few of my friends give me the warnings. Don't let the guys follow you into the walk in. Don't fall for their shit, they will hit on you. And don't let Mathias hug you. 

So when I was watching Wonder Woman.... (minor spoilers follow)

I saw something similar that happened. When Diana meets Sameer, the smooth talking actor, he is first struck by her beauty. Then there is the battle of wits, and he sees her display of intelligence. After that, he tries to hug her, but she comfortably takes his shoulders and eases him away from her. He's much shorter than her, so his face would've been right in her decolletage. 

Flashback! 

Believe it or not, I loved this detail. It was exactly what a lot of women go through. It was such a common and honest moment. Someone sees us, thinks we're attractive in some way and tries to become physically affectionate--even with something as seemingly innocent as a hug--and we're left with a choice. We can go with it even though we don't want to. We can push them away or say no, and thus run the risk of an incident. Or we can junk punch them right in the man business and stomp on their hopes and dreams, I suppose. 

Anyway, we have all been there. And Diana handles it with grace. She's a bit annoyed with him and doesn't trust him, but she's gently assertive. She makes it clear she doesn't want him to touch her without a single word. 

And you know my favorite part....? Can you guess? 

He accepts it silently, backs off and continues the conversation. From then on, he sees her as an equal or a superior. He treats her with respect and kindness. And while the cynical side of me can snark off that this reaction (or lack thereof) is how we know Sammy is a sci-fi/fantasy character, at the same time, I saw young boys taken to the movie by their fathers. They're watching, too. They see Diana receive the respect of the men around her for being smart and capable, not just because she can smash the fuck out of an army. 

So this moment in the movie is a best-case-scenario. In real life women get verbally abused, doxxed, beaten, death threats or worse for saying no. 

Between this scene and Steve's very plain comment that it's not polite to assume a woman will sleep with you, consent was discussed in this film in positive ways without being pedantic at all. And that gives me some hope. We need more quiet examples like this. 

*That's totally his real name.