The 'Wonder Woman' Makeover Scene Flips The Classic Movie Trope On Its Head
If there was ever a character in the history of cinema who does not need a makeover, it's Princess Diana of Themyscira, aka Wonder Woman. But in the new movie, when the Amazon warrior steps foot in early 20th Century London, she finds the need to change up her look in order to blend into non-superhero society. Luckily, the Wonder Woman makeover scene flips the movie trope on its head by rejecting the male idea of what a woman should look like, and emphasizing the fact that there is only one person who will decide what Wonder Woman wears: Wonder Woman herself.
The makeover scene in Wonder Woman, as teased in trailers, occurs early on in the film, after Diana chooses to leave her home of Themyscira to fight in WWI with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). When she arrives with him in London wearing nothing but her superhero outfit and a big cape hiding her sword and shield, Steve immediately takes her on a shopping trip. He even invites his secretary, Etta Candy, along to make sure that Diana looks as ordinary as possible, and that means putting her in a corset and dress, fit for any average London woman. Instead of trying to glam her up, as is the custom in most makeover scenes (The Princess Diaries, She's All That), Steve actively tries to make her less "distracting." But that's not what makes the makeover scene significant. What is significant is how Wonder Woman refuses to let Steve dictate her look.
Diana isn't going to wear a dress simply because Steve tells her to, especially not one that impairs her mobility. She doesn't like the petticoats or the lace, the flowery hats or the boots. She needs to be able to move, kick, punch, and jump in whatever she's wearing, and she's not giving that up just to fit Steve's idea of what a woman should look like. So in the end, she picks a long skirt, a collared shirt, a coat, and a black hat — an outfit that looks like it was taken from the men's section of the department store. To top it all off, Steve insists that she wears a pair of glasses, which, as Etta so usefully points out, will do nothing to make her stand out any less.
The scene could have very easily gone too far in trying to subvert the classic geek-to-chic makeover by doing the opposite, because pretending that an objectively gorgeous woman can be made to look plain by putting on a pair of glasses can be insulting. So it's fitting, then, that those very glasses end up crushed on the pavement after Wonder Woman saves Steve's life in an alley.
The Wonder Woman makeover scene perfectly encapsulates what makes Wonder Woman such a valuable hero: her independence from men. As an Amazon princess, Diana grew up surrounded by women, and thus free of the societal expectations and restrictions placed upon women by men in the "real world." She's not limited by men's ideas of women, not on the battlefield, and definitely not in the dressing room.