A war has broken out. On Twitter. Which isn’t a strange occurrence nowadays. This time it is rooted in comments Terminator + Avatar director James Cameron had to say about Wonder Woman.
Here’s what James Cameron had to say about Wonder Woman:
All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!
I take issue with this statement. Mostly because Sarah Connor was most definitely not a bad mother. But the idea of a troubled hero I do understand. It humanizes and provides an emotive connection to the audience. But I don’t think you either have to be beautiful (in the cosmetic model sense) or strong. There, like nature, is always a balance.
And Patty Jenkins claps back via Twitter in her own response, which understandably, was more than 140 characters:
James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman. Strong women are great. His praise of my film Monster, and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated. But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we. I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can sure choose and judge their own icons of progress.
It’s easy to get a cloudy judgement when conversations circle feminism, race and the rest, as opinion will always be skewed to one side or the other. I agree with Jenkins in terms of Wonder Woman’s importance to girls and women around the world. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. But it’s still a matter of which connects best with the human condition. Conflict builds story. Not just physical hardships but inner turmoil. Wonder Woman diminished that when they made Ares her ‘brother’ and not her father.
But no sense recapping all that here – check out the review.