I know you think I don’t love you. I know you get tired of me sweeping in and out of your life, one day I’m here and have a schedule and the next I’m off in radio silence. Yeah, well sometimes it be’s like that.
Actually, I haven’t said anything because I haven’t had much to say. It wasn’t writer’s block—it was life’s block. In the last month or so, my life has been 2 parts Brian McKnight’s Where Do We Go From Here? and 1 part Bebe &Cece Winans’ It’s OK and while things are cool (or getting cooler), they demanded my focus. Oh yeah, in the midst of this nonsense, like a disease, I contracted a hater too. But, as much fun as it would be, I’m not gonna talk about that yet—we’ll save it for Tuesday.
But today, in the afterglow of Thanksgiving and the advent of the holiday season, I’m feeling thankful. I’m thankful for you, for hanging with me after all this time. I’m thankful for every eyeball on my words, every comment and like and Share. I’m thankful for the Swoaps (say what???) and DMFRHs and Friday Night Fiends and Stacy Case and…my hater.
Today, I want to revisit an older idea. A little bit ago, I wrote a post about misogyny, particularly in superhero movies. I lamented the lack of female heroines in the movies, highlighted Scarlett Johannsen’s portrayal of the Black Widow in The Avengers, and dogged the shit outta Warner Bros and DC for their hesitance in bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen because she was “tricky.”
Well, this week somebody called my bluff. If you haven’t heard already, not only will Diana Prince be in the next Man of Steel movie, she’s already been cast. Say whaaattt? Yep, in 2015 we’ll see some incarnation of the Amazon princess in a major motion picture and she’ll be played by Gal Gadot.
Aw, that’s aweso—wait, who?
Yeah, that’s the first thing I said: who the hell is Gal Gadot? Then I looked at the pic:
Oh, she’s one of the women who look like the other women from the Fast and Furious franchise?
But the first reaction I got was, “She doesn’t look like Wonder Woman. She’s too skinny. She’s too small.” Same reaction you heard too, right? If you checked the comments on any site anywhere that reported on her casting, all the responses where about her physical appearance. My problem was, those reactions I was hearing came out of my own house. And some of them came out of my own mouth.
Now I don’t generally debate a woman’s physicality. I watched every episode of Linda Carter as Diana Prince didn’t have an issue. I bought Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman and buff-ass Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Michele Yeoh will beat the shit out of all of us. Anne Hathaway made it happen as Catwoman. Zoe Saldana is rail thin but have you seen Colombiana? She scares me.
But when they said Wonder Woman, here’s where I went:
That’s Gina Carano. She’s a UFC fighter. She’s RAW! She’s tall, beautiful, curvy, got muscles and the fearsome demeanor, and a thing going with Henry Cavill—but she can’t act to save her life. She has this movie called Haywire (you can find it on Netflix) that I’ve tried to watch twice but can’t stomach it. And that’s saying a lot: I liked the first Wolverine movie, am a fan of Out of Sight with Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, and have watched (and loved) almost all of the Godzilla movies. I like shitty movies. I couldn’t do this one.
Here’s the thing: I bought hook, line and sinker into an overly-sexed, objectified view of a what a powerful woman must be. Because it’s Wonder Woman, does she automatically have to look like Jessica Rabbit? She’s the most iconic, most powerful woman in DC or Marvel universes and she’s relegated to wearing a bustier and hot pants—the idea is we wouldn’t buy her power, her capability, if she didn’t show cleavage.
And I’m mad at myself that I went there too.
Wonder Woman is strong, complex, beautiful and a warrior. Gal Gadot meets all the requirements for the role. She is actually an actress. Say what you want about that franchise but she’s been in movies that have grossed nearly $1B at the box office. That means she can carry the nuances of a character that has spent her life as a warrior and a princess of an island full of women and acting as an ambassador to the rest of the world. Complex? Check. Gadot is beautiful, no question about that. She was Miss Israel in 2004 and has been a model. So we can check off pretty. And she can fight. See, Israel has this mandatory 2-year service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). They have their own martial arts called Krav Maga. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s an exceptionally efficient, brutal technique of disarmament and overpowering. She can kick some ass. And she does all her own stunts in the Fast and the Furious. So strong and a warrior? Yeah, check.
Lastly, she actually looks like Wonder Woman. Like the comic initially intended.
Actors transform themselves for their roles. Christian Bale last 50 pounds for the Machinist and then adopted both an American accent and that heavy growl for Batman. Henry Cavill for so bulked up and sculpted my mother said “I think he is sexy as hell” (which set up an exceptionally awkward night of movie watching). Heath Ledger went from being a gay cowboy to a psychopathic, anarchist, murderous clown in what has become the definitive portrayal of the Joker. The point is we can do better. I can do better. Instead of focusing on how that woman looks or whether she measures up with some comic book ideal of what a powerful woman should look like, I decided to take a page from the Honey Badger. I told her Wonder Woman was finally making it into the movies. She just smiled and said, “Cool!”
I disagree. Call me a misogynist if you want, but I think Gal Godot is physically miscast as Wonder Woman, unless the plot calls for WW to fight an eating disorder or heroin addiction. Dude, Wonder Woman is an Amazon, and Amazons have specific physical traits that Kate Moss’s half-starved cousin doesn’t possess. Is that misogynistic? No. I would have said the same thing about Christopher Reeve, had he not bulked up to play Superman. Israeli trained, my ass. All the enemy would have to do is throw the poor waif a roast beef. Game over. When I think Wonder Woman, I think Carrie Anne Moss, of the Matrix movies, sexy and powerful, and not tripping over her breasts in each fight scene. Readjust your misogyny meter, sir. This outcry is legit.
Thanks for commenting. I do, however, disagree with your assessment.
First, Amazons don’t actually exist. There’s not a real world representation of them so any idea of how she must look is built from a 2D comic book–which we KNOW are fonts of anatomical accuracy.
Second, Carrie Anne Moss isn’t a physically imposing specimen either. However, the right outfit, the right moves, the right sunglasses and she becomes Trinity. On the street, she wouldn’t be any more exceptional than Cobie Smulders.
Third, the point was that we said she MUST have this physical body to play this role. She hasn’t even made it to the screen and she’s criticized. For all you know, or I know, she could be a passing cameo in a 2 minute post-credits scene. I’m fairly positive there will be some physical training that goes along with this role.
Michael Keaton was Batman. I remember that outcry, which everyone said was legit. And then we saw the movie and it wasn’t. Heath Ledger WAS the Joker. I recall that outcry too. Woefully misplaced.
Wonder Woman has never had a cinematic presence EVER. Be happy she made it to the screen, to the casting phase, before you criticize something you haven’t seen.
Misogyny meter is good. I can count on one hand the number of super heroines I’ve seen on screen. 2 have ever carried their own movie. Perhaps we shouldn’t jump to “here’s why it’s gonna suck because she’s not the woman I would have chosen.” It’s Wonder Woman, no woman will ever meet that standard.