Chapter 31: Wonder Woman and Ramadan

Hello all! So these last couple weeks have been very full and exciting weeks. Mostly because of the landmark events that took place. First, we saw Wonder Woman!!! It was incredible to see a movie where not only was the main superhero a woman who kicked butt just as hard as any male hero but she was surrounded by other awesome female characters. It was also so cool to see a movie Heather worked on on the big screen. In film there's a test that is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction. It's called the Bechdal test and consists of four questions:

  1. Does the film feature at least two women or girls?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk about something other than a man or boy?
  4. Are they named?

Wonder Woman passed the test with flying colours. Literally, the first 45 minutes was just powerful female characters. The movie starts with a shot of Diana (Wonder Woman) as a child sneaking into a training ground of Amazons training for battle. Often times in film when there is a woman fighting she is choreographed to look delicate and pretty in her fighting and this was not the case for any of the Amazon choreography. At one point I got a little teary eyed. She was also sensitive and strong emotionally, morally and compassionate too. Walking out of the theatre we all felt that this was a ground breaking movie that stands as a landmark for future movies with female heroes. Heather read an article on the effect this movie is having on young girls shared by a elementary school teacher. In it she talked about how all the girls in her class said they wanted to be Wonder Woman and when they couldn't decide which one of them was gonna be her they decided to all just be amazons to save the world with truth and love! It's hasn't been two weeks since the movie came out and it's already having this effect on young girls. We definitely would recommend seeing it if you haven't already.

Last Wednesday the youth in our ward had a talent show for their mutual activity and Heather and Amber decided to participate. For those of you who don't know, Heather grew up doing Highland and Irish dancing and so did Amber. They decided that they wanted to dust off their hard shoes and pull together something for the talent show. They decided this on Monday and by Wednesday they had a choreographed dance and they did an amazing job! Irish dancing being a percussive dance just sounds incredible, especially when performed with hard shoes and it was so cool seeing how good the two of them were even after years of not dancing. The rest of the talent show was fun - there were magic tricks, dances, songs performed and I pulled out my Golum monologue for good measure.

Last weekend we hosted a interfaith break the fast/Iftar dinner at our chapel with a local Muslim congregation. We were one of four groups of LDS and Muslim congregations that got together to share this experience along with our different perspectives of fasting and its benefits from either faith. For those of you who are unaware, those of the Muslim faith are currently observing Ramadan during which they fast every day for a month from sun up till sun down. The meal that they have to break their fast at the end of the day is called the Iftar. A member of our public affairs committee was organizing the Iftar with Sarif, the representative of the Muslim congregation, but couldn't pull it together last minute due to conflicting plans so she asked if we we could take it on and Heather and I were happy to oblige. From what I understand this is the second annual break the fast dinners in our area so we're very excited to have been a part of it.

The dinner was held at our chapel and we began the evening by giving our new friends a tour of the building. We talked about the sacrament and about Christ and the different classes and activities that take place in the building. Then we gathered in the gym and sat intermingled at the different tables and we began the Iftar. It started with a prayer which was presented in the form of a song and it was beautiful. We had a speaker from both parties talk about the reasons and beliefs behind fasting and it was very surprising to discover that we fast for pretty much the same reason. There is a strong focus on the spiritual and putting off the natural habits and desires and an emphasis on clothing and feeding the poor and less fortunate and they spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year.

The dinner was delicious. Nearly all of it was brought by their congregation. While we ate we shared personal stories and got to know each other better. We learned that a large majority of the congregation is from Turkey and a lot of them are teachers because of how much of a focus their culture places on education and learning. I got to bring my camera and document the event. We also brought our photobooth set up so everyone could take photos with their new friends. At the close of the night we gave them hydrangeas as parting favours. The hydrangea, as Heather has discovered, symbolizes openness and we thought what better gift to represent the evening. It was a wonderful experience and we all left with a resolve to have events like this more frequently so we don't have to wait till next year's Ramadan.

Until next week. - Steven