Wonder Woman, Feminist or No?
A STEP FORWARD | Alexander Elmore
Wonder Woman was applauded by critics and audiences alike for its strong female protagonist, thoughtful storyline, and impressive action sequences when it opened worldwide this summer. However, people have recently begun to speak out against the film, calling it “anti-feminist” and saying the film itself is not as large of a step forward for women in the industry as it claims to be.
This is not true.
Many critics of the film were quick to point out that only two minor characters were women of color. While this is true, the film deals with a more underrepresented minority. Gal Gadot, who portrays the titular heroine, is an Israeli native. Casting an Israeli actress as the lead is a bold move not only for a superhero film, but for big budget Hollywood productions as a whole.
An Israeli person has never portrayed a role of this magnitude, so Wonder Woman is important when it comes to minority representation.
Others commented on Gadot’s costume, which shows heavy amounts of skin, calling it objectifying. In the comic and the film, Wonder Woman is a Greek warrior, so her costume is modeled after battle armor of the era. Her clothing is minimal in order for better performance in combat.
Wonder Woman is also feminist in its behind-the-scenes aspects. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins, an award winning female director. Few action films, even those considered feminist such as Mad Max: Fury Road, are directed by women.
In fact, Wonder Woman is the most expensive and highest grossing production ever directed solely by a woman.
Women have been directing films almost since the industry began, but not like this. Since Wonder Woman’s release, more women have been hired to direct big budget films than ever before. Disney’s upcoming A Wrinkle in Time and Sony’s Silver & Black will both be directed by women and have budgets that will likely amount to over $100 million each. Sony has additionally announced three other upcoming multi-million dollar projects to be directed by women as a direct result of Patty Jenkins’ success.
Wonder Woman is undeniably feminist, without it being necessary to pick apart the actual content of the film something that deserves an award all of its own.
A STUMBLE BACKWARD | Jaleesa Fobbs
There’s no denying the fact that Wonder Woman is a long-awaited film. Breaking box office records both foreign and domestic, Wonder Woman is empowering and action-packed. People and celebrities alike are rooting for Diana Prince, calling her an icon for women across the globe and praising the film as a symbol of feminism; however, there are reasons to believe that Wonder Woman isn’t the “feminist film” that people applaud it to be.
First off, the portrayal of Diana’s character is merely a sexual appeal for the audience. Throughout the film, Diana is constantly being complimented on her beauty to the extent where one character makes the statement that he is “both frightened and aroused” a statement that would never be said about a male superhero. Diana’s character wears a skirt that is barely there as part of her battle uniform, which is not only eye candy for the audience but also completely unrealistic.
One of the most celebrated parts of the film is the statement Diana makes about men, saying they are integral for reproduction but unnecessary for pleasure; but skip to later in the film and this statement is contradicted when Diana and Steve shut themselves into a hotel room.
There is also a lack of representation of women of color, specifically African American women, throughout the film. The only women of color in the film are Phillipus (portrayed by Ann Ogbomo) and Artemis of Bana-Mighdalland (portrayed by Ann Wolfe) who only get about 10 minutes of screen time.
Wonder Woman also enforces many false stereotypes. For example, the “evil character is ugly” stereotype is seen through the female antagonist in the film who is ultimately defeated by the beautiful Diana Prince. In addition, the “chubby” woman used as a sense of comedic relief for the film is seen through Etta, Steve’s secretary. It’s 2017, where women of all shapes and sizes should be celebrated, this is just a step backward for women.
Despite the cinematic feats Wonder Woman accomplished, it shouldn’t go down in cinema history as a symbol of feminism.