A few days back, James Cameron panned Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and it’s director Patty Jenkins about their failure to portray real feminism!
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Wonder Woman, the iconic comic book character, is a dividing figure among her audience. Some people take her as the embodiment of women empowerment. Others, not so much. According to them, the portrayal of her in early comic books and by Linda Carter in the 70s TV series was just another blunt attempt at objectifying women. Needless to say, the most recent incarnation also faced some flak, most recently from renowned director James Cameron. On the occasion of the Digital and Blu-ray release of the most successful movie of summer 2017, let’s try to deduce who’s right and who’s not.
Origin and Inspirations
Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8, released in October 1941. William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, already famous for inventing the polygraph, was credited as the creator of this then-to-be-iconic comic book character. Marston was a proclaimed feminist and he wanted to create a superhero that young boys and girls alike can look upto. His wife Elizabeth suggested that he should make the character a woman. Marston designed Wonder Woman to be an allegory for the ideal love leader; the kind of women who (he believed) should run society. “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” (source: Wikipedia)
The 2017 Movie Incarnation
Before the release of the movie, people were going crazy about how this was the movie the time demanded, this was the beacon of women empowerment, and so on and so forth. It is impossible please everyone’s opinion and certainly very hard to live up to the hype. It is good to see that the movie didn’t even try to do that. Especially Gal Gadot deserves a lot of praise for that. Wonder Woman, in this movie, is a badass who goes crazy over ice-cream. She can put herself in front bullets, but also succumbs to her maternal side when she sees a baby on the road-side. She does a lot of “heroic” things in this movie, but never once she does it to prove that she can as woman, she does it out of her compassion, love and bravery. Of course, when demanded, she called a room full of powerful men “coward” right on their faces.
Even her relationship with the supporting characters reflected upon this. It took time for the male companions to accept her superiority. But once they did, not once the movie lead us to believe that four men are following a woman. The complimentary “love angle” was also out of mutual admiration, not an act of seduction by the male counter-part.
Such is the character developement od Diana Prince, that in the end, when she was under dire circumstances, you don’t feel pity for her because she is a woman. You, regardless of your gender, feel the pain and struggle with her and victorius on her ultimate triumph. You go beyond the outfit, the physical appearance and you feel the heroism of ahuman being embodied by a woman.
Wonder Woman – A Celebration of Feminity
What is women empowerment? Is it just about women also doing the things that men can do? No. Absolutely not. Women empowerment in neither about men, not it is not about letting off your feminity. It is the freedom of women contributing to the society in whatever manner they want and society in turn accepting it.
Wonder Woman embodies this concept. Women, by nature, are more compassionate, loving and emotional. We just labeled these characteritics as the only properties of feminity and said bravery and heroism are only for men. Wonder Woman shows that true heroism comes from the fundamental emotion of love and compassion for all. Wonder Woman combines the so-called “feminine characteristics” with her innocence and bravery, and shows us a hero that we can equally root for. In the words of her creator Marston – “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”
James Cameron, you are wrong.
From The Other Side,