Time Magazine has an excellent article about one of the most anticipated films of 2017, Wonder Woman – you can read the full piece here. It works as a primer on the history of WW in the comics, as well as a primer on Wonder Woman’s history of controversy. WW always got sh-t for being pro-feminism, for being a superheroine for little girls, for looking like a sexy pin-up, and for daring to be glamorous AND strong. The most recent controversy for Wonder Woman saw her getting fired from her United Nations special ambassador position because she was deemed too sexy to stand up for exploited girls and women. In this Time piece, Gal Gadot speaks directly about the UN debacle and more. Some highlights:
Gadot on the UN firing Wonder Woman: “There are so many horrible things that are going on in the world, and this is what you’re protesting, seriously? When people argue that Wonder Woman should ‘cover up,’ I don’t quite get it. They say, ‘If she’s smart and strong, she can’t also be sexy.’ That’s not fair. Why can’t she be all of the above?”
Filming with a bunch of ladies in Italy: “It was like a kibbutz, all of us living in little bungalows, beautiful and green with no cars. We had all these women in armor fighting on the beach, and meanwhile all the men—husbands and boyfriends—are walking around with strollers and taking care of the kids.”
Gadot didn’t want Wonder Woman to be bossy: “We knew it was tricky. We wanted to find the balance between portraying her as confident and strong and feminine and warm. I didn’t want her to be a ball buster. I didn’t want her to be bossy. You can be powerful and also loving.”
Even though she served in the Israeli military, she’s a pacifist: “I know it sounds cheesy, but I wish we didn’t have to have an army at all.”
Wonder Woman and feminism: “I think people take it the wrong way when I say I’m a feminist. Feminism is not about burning bras and hating men. It’s about gender equality. Whoever is not a feminist is a chauvinist… We need to educate boys, show boys strong women in powerful positions. It’s all about expanding the possibilities of what women can be. I know I couldn’t do this without my husband.”
The body criticism she received: “Did you see the feedback I got from the fans after they cast me for this role? It was all about my breasts and bottom literally being too small.”
I agree with her about Wonder Woman being strong, powerful, smart AND sexy, and that it’s absolutely ridiculous for WW to be fired from the UN just because she looks like a pin-up. Here’s what bugs me about what Gal says though: “I didn’t want her to be a ball buster. I didn’t want her to be bossy.” This is a trap. This is the trap that Hollywood falls into time after time. Only women are called “bossy.” Only women are called “ballbusters.” Men who are strong and take-charge just get called superheroes and bosses. Only women and only female characters have to pass some kind of unwritten likeability/warmth/femininity test. What if Wonder Woman was “bossy”? What if she didn’t give a sh-t about busting everyone’s balls? Why would that be a problem?
Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.
Why don’t female police officers wear a bustier and high heels when they fight crime? Probably because that would be completely impractical. I think Wonder Woman would have come to the same conclusion, especially in winter.
This! I watch Supergirl (so sue me!) and I always think “How is she flying around with that mini skirt?” But I can’t get too mad because poor Superman and Batman may be covered up, but they have those unfortunate cod pieces. :-/
Well not many complained about Xena Warrior Princess who wore something close to what this WW is wearing now.
I was thinking about why Xena and Lynda Carter’s version of Wonder Woman don’t bother me as much as Gal’s WW. I think it’s about presence and maturity. Gal comes across as a catwalk WW model for horny teenaged boys. Xena always looked strong, capable and fierce, that’s why WOMEN loved her show.
Lynda Carter’s WW also was portrayed with such intelligence, wisdom and maturity that what she was wearing was irrelevant. All you remember are her bracelets and her lasso of truth. Although slim, she seemed solid in terms of bone structure and inner strength. I never view her as “sexy”.
Gal’s version really is just problematic. I can’t take her serious. She doesn’t come across as being strong, intelligent or wise. Just a sexy model type fit the male gaze.
As I have said before I didn’t think Gal was a good fit for WW. After seeing her in BvS I’m willing to give her a try. In that film she didn’t come across as sexy or unintelligent to me. I know some people are put off by her accent as I have read on other sites; they say it makes her sound um, not so bright to put it mildly.
But I disagree about Gal being the sexy model type to fit the male gaze in this modern time. The comic book version when it was created, yes I agree that it was for the satisfaction of men. But Gal version is not. It is mostly men that are saying she is not sexy to them or she doesn’t fit the character of WW because she is too skinny, with no chest or ass. I think Hollywood is going against the grain on this one.
If you compare her to Black Widow most men loved Scarlett’s curves, they are not to keen on Gal.
Thank you! I’m in full support of the co-existence of strong and sexy. I do not understand why- when her fellow superheros wear garb long enough to keep their balls from hanging out and getting a chill, she would not do the same.
It’s just a reminder that, badass as Wonder Woman may be, she is a character designed by males for the male gaze.
She has super powers and flies and invisible plane. The UN hired a comic book character apparently without thinking about how it would play in all the cultures of the various women she was appointed to empower. It isn’t a practicality issue.
What absolute bollocks all of this and below. I have been on verge of quitting this ridiculous inane pandering site for a while and this has just done it. It’s definitely not smart or open minded.
ah, she’s so lovely.
I can’t wait for Wonder Woman.
I do agree with her that women can be smart and strong AND sexy, but with these comic book heroines, they were written specifically for the male gaze and there is something exploitative about that.
And I think the criticism of her casting was somewhat just – there are very very few roles for women who are not her body type, and when a heroine comes along who was supposed to be amazonian, they gave it to a typical dainty woman.
Having said that, I really like Gal. But I have only seen her in Fast and Furious and her acting was atrocious. I hope she’s improved.
Agreed 100 percent. I had low expectations of her in that John Hamm/Isla Fisher/Zach Galif movie and I was pleasantly surprised. She was really good, held her own and not over the top.
“…comic book heroines, they were written specifically for the male gaze and there is something exploitative about that.” Agreed. They are Barbie dolls draped in body-hugging tiny armor.
Its also a little disturbing to me that she implies other depictions would not be “sexy”. If she were built for battle like Serena Williams and dressed in less lingerie-like wear, that could still be sexy. She seems to have this very one dimensional idea of what sexy is and for her its skinny girl in skimpy attire.
“Its also a little disturbing to me that she implies other depictions would not be “sexy”. ”
I’m not seeing where she implies that. I see where she is implying that a lot of people didn’t think she would be a good pick for WW because she has no breast or an ass. To me it is completely against the male gaze. Here you have a woman who is very slim without curves. WW in the comics that was for the male glaze had curves, she d breast. She is basically saying that because she is skinny, she is not sexy enough to play WW.
V4Real – In the first quote she sort of indirectly implies that covering up would make Wonder Woman no longer sexy.I didn’t get the size part either.
WW was created by a man, but with quite a lot of influence from two women in his life. She was developed as a feminist symbol, not so much for the male gaze like other superheroines or female comic book characters. Its part of why I love her 🙂
I still disagree, because while either sexiness or modesty can play into the male gaze and patriarchal beliefs about ideals for women in different ways, a sexy portrayal or a modest portrayal of a female character isn’t automatically exploitation all by itself. When the woman gets turned into one-dimensional eye-candy who has nothing to offer character-wise or plot-wise than being sexy for the fanboys, while the men in the story get to be fully developed characters who contribute to the plot, it becomes a problem, but that doesn’t apply to Wonder woman. She’s a multidimensional, independent character with agency and an interesting backstory of her own.
It does get ridiculous though when people try SO hard to make female warriors (whether the person has created their own amazon, a kryptonian, a saiyan, or some story with human warriors) that they’ve created sexy that they put them in outfits that are basically nothing but a bra, panties, and sky-high stillettos that they regularly do actual combat in.
The body criticism she received: “It was all about my breasts and bottom literally being too small.”
She must have missed my corner of the internet. We wanted to know that like every other male action lead, she would bulk up for an asskicking role. She of course chose to go with the Victoria Secret body because everybody knows VS models are the quintessential action hero. Lord help you if a Hadid girl throws a punch at you.
I was one of those saying that she is not a good fit for WW. But she is right. She got more criticism from men for being too skinny and flat chested. She has no muscles, she has no ass, she has no breast. Maybe it wasn’t her choosing, maybe she just couldn’t bulk up. But since WW was meant for the male glaze perhaps she and the director, casting agent all went against the grain. Instead of this curvy sexed up crime fighter they went with a slimmer version. I know some people are saying that she is fitting into that Hollywood construct of what women should look like but I think in this case it’s the opposite. Because if it was known that Gal didn’t get the role of WW because she was too skinny women would be up in rage that she’s being discriminated against because she is too skinny. What’s the word they like to throw out now, oh, yes skinny shaming.
And I know that WW is supposed to be this Amazonian with meat on her bones but that doesn’t mean that every Amazon was curvy. As for throwing punches, let’s not forget that WW strength doesn’t come from her muscles, it was a magical gift given to her by Zeus.
@Coco I’m not sure if you’re comment is directed at me or if I’m interpreting it wrong. But I think I was saying the same thing you said. Gal is being discriminated against because of how she looks.
Gal Gadot did a stint in the Israeli army, didn’t she? You don’t need to be bulked to be strong. Ballet dancers are some of the strongest & fittest athletes around & they are generally lean.
I totally agree with your point—- but the Hadid’s might be a bad example. Did you see the video clip of one of them throwing a punch? She was no joke. lol
Diana is a demigod. She does not need to be mucle-bound. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the WW renderings show her built like a 80s supermodel / 00s lingerie model.
She is practically indestructible and stronger than Superman in many ways. Her powers are godly, like that of Thor. Definitely stronger than Batman, Ironman, Hulk, Captain etc. in her natural state.
Diana needs no muscles. If she needed muscles, she would not be WW.
And even if she had built all the muscle mass she could, she could still not beat up a man like Henry or Ben. When it comes down to an actual fight and beating the shit out of someone, it is all down to your weight and height. That is the brute force. Rarely a light skinny thing will be able to beat a 6+ something male.
I have a real problem with body armor that does not protect the body. And I’m REAL tired of female warriors dressing like pinups. If you’re going out to kick butt, wear the uniform for gawd sakes.
Diana is a demigod. She can go out naked, wear a clown costume with 7 inch heels, or resemble a snail. An actual snail.
She will still be near impossible to scathe. Her power comes from the Olympians.
Yeah, I’ve always wondered if high-heeled (but not ridiculously high) boots on a fictional warrior character really count as too impractical if the character is of some powerful race that has the ability to fly. Wouldn’t that erase the problems you’d normally expect from someone trying to be active in a 2 or 3 inch heel?
My problem with her body was that she had no muscle and WW is usually depicted with muscles. She’s too skinny and doesn’t look physically strong in a way that I’m used to seeing WW.
Lynda carter didn’t have any muscles and her arms and legs were just as skinny as Gals
Wow, and now the comments are all about her body, of course. I thought wonder woman was super strong supernaturally and not because she had trained
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the film, I enjoyed the trailer, don’t see anything strikingly wrong with gal in this role, looks mighty fine to me
It is just as annoying when men on film are ‘ball busters’.
It worked for Jeremy Piven on Entourage and Lucy Liu on Ally McBeal, but they are the exception that proves the rule. Normally, it is fucking annoying. You cannot have your likable lead like WW or Superman portrayed as a ball buster.
Even RDJ is cleaning up his act as Ironman.
I agree with her point about Wonder Woman. The whole “Yikes, we can’t have Wonder Woman representing anything that has to do with feminism, female empowerment, and fighting against exploitation and abuse of women and girls while she’s a not-exactly-modestly-dressed attractive woman” reactions from some women/feminists seemed far more problematic (and really, smacks of victim-blaming) and counterproductive than anything about Wonder Woman’s clothing or body-type. If anything, NOT reacting like every woman has to play the whole ‘dress to not be harmed or disrespected’ game to fill those roles would have been a more empowering and progressive statement.