The Power of Wonder Woman

I’ll be the first to say that I thought I was Wonder Woman when I was younger. In preschool I had a red velvet ribbon that I would wave around as my Lasso of Truth. Nowadays, anyone who knows me knows how big of a Marvel fangirl I am. However, if you asked me which superhero movie has had the biggest impact on me, the honor goes to DC’s latest Wonder Woman.

I grew up on Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League Animated Series, so I’ve been waiting for a good adaptation for a while. Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman didn’t do it for me. My worst fear was that these same filmmakers would ruin my Wonder Woman as well. However, with female director Patty Jenkins, I instead found myself crying three separate times during the movie.

From the start, Diana is a girl who wants to kick ass and take names. She wants to be able to fight alongside her people and protect those she loves. As she grows, her goals never change. She changes, seeing what the outside world is like once she leaves her homeland, but always her mission has been peace and protecting humans. The opening scene she runs from the cozy plan laid out for her and heads to the training grounds to imitate the warrior women she looks up to. Watching young Diana throw punches at the air like she’s one of the great women of Themyscira made me tear up. I could see her drive and her desire to be just as strong as everyone else.

What I thought was the most telling about Diana and how inspirational she is had nothing to do with her badass fighting. The first time Diana is exposed to the bombs and bullets of our modern world, her first instinct isn’t to take up arms and fight. Instead she tries to stop Steve, Chris Pine’s character, and insist that she help every single person she passes. The crying civilians and wounded soldiers clearly affect her and inspire her to fight to protect them from any more pain. Gal Gadot really brings this empathy to life and convinces the viewer that Diana has an investment in the lives of others. It hurts her to see suffering and she’s willing to lay down her life and leave her comfortable homeland to save the world.

Diana is the hero I need, the one who doesn’t give up even when the world seems to be a terrible place. The DC Universe right now is too dark and hopeless about the state of the world. The Marvel Universe is a bit lighter but there aren’t any female characters I can really look up to and say “That’s who I want to be like” (sorry Black Widow). The first female led superhero movie in some time has given me a woman with emotional intelligence and physical prowess. Personally, I can’t wait to see how she takes the Justice League to new heights and saves the world yet again.

Finding Inspiration in Mad Men

By: Alexis Clemons

The television show Mad Men only has a few episodes left before its series finale and I’ve been feeling very sentimental. As a Marketing Communications major at Emerson, I enjoy watching a show that’s centered on my favorite subject. However, Mad Men seems to have a stigma around it in the academic marketing world. I can clearly remember the first day of my Intro to Marketing Comm. class, the professor asked us all, “So how many of you are here because you’ve seen the show Mad Men?”. We all glanced around nervously. Several students raised their hands with sheepish smiles on their faces. “Well, let me remind you that Mad Men is a fictional show. Don’t be fooled by its glamour. We’re here to learn what real marketing is,” my professor replied.

He went on to admit to liking the show himself and I’ve found this to be true among most people who warn against taking Mad Men as fact. It’s hard to deny the quality of the show, yet it’s easy to scold young people against idolizing the world of Sterling Cooper. Personally, I think that students should be encouraged to be inspired by shows like Mad Men and the reality series The Pitch. Seeing their future occupations on TV can inspire marketing and advertising students and influence them in ways that real life isn’t always able to.

I didn’t decide on my major until I was a senior in high school. Previously I had considered a degree in marine biology, teaching and psychology. I didn’t want to go into college undeclared so I eventually landed on marketing. I took one class at the high school level and performed well enough to want to pursue it. I liked the idea of marketing, but I wasn’t passionate about it. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that one night, while sitting in my dorm room, I decided to start watching the show Mad Men.

I was looking for a new show to start and with the wide world of Netflix at my disposal, I decided to see for myself what my dad, a longtime viewer, and many other fans had been talking so highly about. I quickly became obsessed. I fell in love with the characters, the historical accuracy, the storylines, and surprisingly, the work. As a student who seemed to like her major so far but wasn’t totally invested, it really propelled my interest in the world of advertising.

I loved the work that the characters got to do at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and I could suddenly see myself doing that work as well. I didn’t want to be those characters necessarily, but I was certainly inspired by what they did. I never had the opportunity to see a pitch or a client meeting in real life, and seeing it on Mad Men gave me a better understanding of what marketing and advertising professionals do. I know the world of advertising and marketing has changed drastically since the 60’s, but the show still inspired me because it gave me a glimpse of the profession I was pursuing in a glitzy, glamorous, televised way.

As long as you don’t take it as complete fact, there is no harm in enjoying the world of Mad Men. The show takes place 50 years in the past and is certainly over dramatized, but as long as you remember those facts then it seems reasonable to be inspired by what they do. The character Peggy Olsen has been a huge inspiration to me. Her determination, her creativity and her passion are all traits I aspire to have and bring to my own work. I may not be faced with breaking the glass ceiling like she had to, but the way in which she’s unafraid to speak up and refuses to be pressured by her mostly male competitors is something to look up to. Her growth from quiet secretary to head Copy Chief is immensely enjoyable to watch and I will continue to list Peggy as a personal role model.

So I ask, what’s wrong with wanting to be the next Don Draper? (That is, as long as you aspire to be him in regards to his creative and leadership talents and not his ahem other traits). Being inspired by brave, creative, or intelligent characters can be traced back to the early days of storytelling. Why should being inspired by television characters be any different? Be inspired by anything you find inspiring and Mad Men is no exception!

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