Hey everyone On Friday night I went for the third time to see the brilliant Sophia Blackwell in her new show Becoming Wonder Woman having already attended the opening night of a show which examined both the powers and flaws of Wonder Woman and asked is this the trap we are setting for today’s women do they all have to become wonder woman? Who are the girls who have it all? Don’t they realise that they don’t? And if they haven’t realised this yet when will it begin to dawn on them that you don’t need it all to be happy?
With so many questions to be asked then answered it is perhaps no wonder this was such a high octane 50 minutes filled with feminism and power packed poetry of breathtaking quality.
As she started the show Sophia give a brief back story of Wonder Woman and how she came to be created. In her introduction Sophia said that whilst most male superheroes have an issue with the world which they want to sort out Wonder Woman was essentially good if at times a little bit prissy. She was essentially the good girl who wanted the world to be a better place.
This Sophia said kind of mirrored her own life as she could only think of two occasions when she had been a bad girl one when she was very young involving spitting and the other when she was 18 involving baking
Sophia’s first poem was titled There Are Things I’m Not Afraid Of. This showed the powerful and determined side of our would be Wonder Woman and believe me it’s a good job she’s not afraid as during this run she has been faced with a unique set of challenges which could and would have floored many others so Wonder Woman’s ‘super heroism was something she was going to need by the proverbial bucket load.
Trust me there are some situations during the run of any show which prove to be a real test of character and this was no different. On this occasion she played to an unfairly small audience however the ever assured Sophia passed with flying colours. Anyway she had far more difficult dynamics to deal with last Saturday as during that performance the stage was invaded by another Wonder Woman who turned out to be Cumnock’s very own Sammy B and then lights failed due a technical hitch. However, unflappable as always Sophia proved the truth of the old saying there’s no business like show business by simply getting on with the show. So if she could cope with those setbacks the bold Ms Blackwell could cope with anything the fringe could throw at and it seemed at least to me that given the circumstances and challenges of the fringe. Things I’m Not Afraid Of was the perfect poem to open the show.
As she moved on to her next poem Mad Sophia demonstrated that there are times when it is appropriate for any true wonder woman to simply let rip and express herself in whatever way she must. This poem reminded us all that a true Wonder Women must inhabit forbidden planets and I don’t just mean the comic store which she touched on later in the show. I mean my definition of forbidden planet. To me this is any space that men say is a no go zone to us. There shall be no locked gates, there shall be no glass ceilings we will open those gates we shall shatter those ceilings and embrace in our inner super heroine though getting men to realise we have made these changes may take just a wee bit longer.
In the show Sophia examines her life as from troubled teenager who if such a thing is possible cares about others too much and thinks about death which she explains brilliantly in the very edgy So Many Ways. During this period she discovers three things, all of which played a part in the creation of her becoming her own personal Wonder Woman. The first is she has a fascination with and fear of death as so many poets do in this period of our lives especially poets like her and I who have what we think are dark secrets to keep hidden from our families and the world.
The second is that she is a lesbian and therefore according to a society which had not yet learned to value difference as it does today and therefore did not fit in to her perceived gender role in life. You know the one the press and media and society wants women to conform aka the nuclear family model of job, marriage, and babies. There may I think be a very good reason this is called a nuclear family it has the potential to explode at any time. This means you need something you can escape to and that brings me on to our heroine’s third discovery.
This discovery was comic books. Sophia became fascinated with them particularly those with strong female super heroines. This positive image of women was something Sophia valued, rather than being dismissed as only a girl as she had been by a boy in the school playground when she was five she saw through comic books that women could kick ass just as much if not better as any man. This, I have no doubt helped her not only to believe in but to create her own wonder woman. The woman that she is today
This heroine is she claims someone every woman can become. This however involves fighting and winning one essential battle which she explores in her poem Wrestling The Angel. In this poem Sophia explores the idea that every girl is born with an angel which if it goes unchecked will condemn her dreams to dust and get her to settle for so much less than she could have had if she had taken the occasional risk arguing that you need get the angel before she gets you and clips not only your wings but the chances of fulfilling your potential.
During the next part of the show we are taken on a journey through the coming out process and the world of dating and relationships and a poem on family weddings and marriage tells of the pressures of young twenty something lesbians from a society which insists today’s generation of women can have it all. That is of course should the woman want it all and begs the question what it is it the all we are supposed to want to have.
As it turns out the all we are being conditioned to want are a career and children. This our stated our heroine is like the Ryan Air version of having it all because as it turns we are not having very much and anyway I am fairly certain that both of these are covered in the Human Rights Act This I am sure you would agree makes them pretty unambitious targets to set ourselves. Sophia best summed up this period of her life with the poem The Wilderness Years. The tone of this piece was of defiance as she illustrated in no uncertain terms that what others may perceive as entering the wilderness she viewed as a journey of discovery. It was an important time she said because
It was during her twenties that she discovered and ran open mic nights, met people like herself and realised not only how big this big wide world really is but how much she wanted to explore it.
It was during this period that she realised not only was she not in a minority as some people aka The Sun and Daily Mail readers would like to claim, but also if you combined enough minorities you could become a majority coalition. I mean that as a force for good unlike the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. During these times Sophia started attending festivals and not just the big ones but those festivals where her voice and that others could be heard.
As she reached the end of her twenties Sophia Blackwell was now becoming a name on the spoken word scene. Writing poems based on her experiences of dating, institutionalised sexism, and the way she viewed the world this was the wonder woman the world was waiting to discover but always true to her friends she was now as she entered her thirties being asked to write wedding poems. This is something she has done for her friends both straight and gay and When It Finds You is a lovely poem written for two friends on celebrating their nuptials.
Another poem on a similar vein is the stunningly beautiful Christmas In July which I think she should save for her own wedding should she and her lovely girlfriend ever get round to naming the day. Well not every Wonder Woman wants a man in fact some Wonder Woman need another Wonder Woman to bring out the best in them.
After filling us in on a few more things she’s not afraid of Sophia concluded her show with the poem which should be the mantra of every would be Wonder Woman I Want To Do More Than Survive. This poem to me at least what life should be about which is living rather than surviving. It rejects the fake worlds of Towie and Real Household and promotes the values of enjoying your life, the friends you make, and the journeys you take along the way. It is in my opinion fitting that this empowering poem was where Sophia Blackwell’s journey ended and as I left at the end of the show I thought to myself I should search for my own inner goddess but then I remembered I didn’t need to do much searching for my inner wonder woman as I had already found her and you know what I think every woman trans women included, can do the same simply by looking in the mirror. However it is possible that to find her we may have to wrestle with our angels.
Love And Best Wishes