James Cameron: Wonder Woman is ‘not breaking ground’ because she’s ‘gorgeous’

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Over the summer, director James Cameron tried to mansplain feminism to Wonder Woman. Seriously – go back and read my take on it. Cameron was asked about Wonder Woman and the rise of female protagonists in films, whether women should be action heroines, etc. His responses were not great. He basically believes that women can and should be heroines in action/adventure/sci-fi movies, but that it’s bad for feminism if those women are hot and/or objectified. Like, he won’t take a female character seriously if the actress is beautiful. So, Cameron is doing some press around some new announcements about Avatar and more, and The Hollywood Reporter asked him if he still had the same critique of Wonder Woman. Guess what? He steps in it even further.

THR: Well, you opened the door for the inevitable Wonder Woman question, so … you recently said in this summer’s film, Gal Gadot was playing an “objectified icon.”
Cameron:
Yes, I’ll stand by that. I mean, she was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].

THR: Director Patty Jenkins responded by saying not every woman character has to look “hard, troubled and tough to be strong.”
Cameron:
Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. … She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, “letting” a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period. I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is. Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I actually appreciated Wonder Woman’s costume because it didn’t feel hyper-sexualized. They contextualized the Amazons as these warriors who were about freedom of movement in battle, and I thought WW’s costume kept her very contained, all things considered. It wasn’t a bustier, it was like a strapless sports bra more than anything else. I just don’t get why Cameron is doubling-down on this idea that to be a “legitimate” action heroine, you cannot and should not have any sexuality. I loved how sex-positive WW was in this film – she was inexperienced sexually, but she wasn’t a wide-eyed naif with no exposure to human sexuality. She flirted brazenly and had sexual agency within the story.

All that being said, I half-way understand the point Cameron is struggling to make, which is that Sarah Connor (in T2) was not a “sex object” and her sexuality had nothing to do with story, and she still felt like a complete and badass character. Sure. But different characters are different. WW can be a feminist icon, a beautiful, intelligent woman, a demigoddess fighting bad guys in a glorified sports bra, and have sexual agency. That’s the point.

WW1

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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69 Responses to “James Cameron: Wonder Woman is ‘not breaking ground’ because she’s ‘gorgeous’”

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  1. Maya says:

    No uterus no opinion is something every single male should follow.

    So gorgeous women are not allowed to be badass? And sexy women are not badass? Only women who aren’t sexy are badass?

    • Milla says:

      Sarah Connor was sexy, and he said recently that she was the original female superhero or sth stupid like that.

      He just wants attention. Get him some old whiskey and very young girl.

    • INeedANap says:

      Is he implying Sarah Connor was not a gorgeous, loin-stirring character?

      …just me?

    • kay says:

      Come on, anyone is allowed to have an opinion. No uterus, no say in what happens in mine and obviously men’s opinions should not count for more than women’s opinions, which is so often the case.

    • Addison says:

      So a woman needs to be ugly in order to be a hero so she is not sexualized? He needs to stop talking and stay home. Never watch anything from him again.

      He’s just jealous.

    • Aaliyah says:

      I completely understand what he is saying. I was incredibly disappointed in Wonder Woman though not because of the casting but because the movie itself was terrible. The editing was shoddy, the fight scenes were cheesy (this is a DC problem though) and the script was so flimsy. I felt hoodwinked when I went to see it since it was so universally praised. I was thinking to myself,” what am I not seeing here?” Meanwhile Terminator 1&2 still hold up

      • KittyKat says:

        I agree with him about Sarah Conner. Yes, she was attractive and many people found her hot, but it wasn’t central to the story and it wasn’t lingered on. I was disappointed in the WW move. I was expecting this great feminist movie that showed heroic women in a new light and it didn’t.

        WW is traditionally gorgeous, wears a skimpy outfit into battle, has sex with the traditional main character, speaks her mind enough that she’s admired as “spunky”, but not enough that she turns anyone off or comes across as hostile. It was an enjoyable movie, but after all the hype about how it was so different, I was underwhelmed.

      • makersmark says:

        @Aaliyah

        THIS!!!

    • hmm says:

      Really? No uterus no opinion? That’s horrible. That is how the world becomes a worse place.

      I don’t like Cameron, but my first thought when I saw the movie was how hyper-sexualized the costumes were. If it had been males wearing armor it would have looked nothing like that. The costumes were all about being sexy and weren’t really at all logical for a warrior tribe and it bothered the crap out of me.

    • FLORC says:

      Maya…
      No. Uterus doesn’t make a woman. Or a feminist. I get what you’re trying to say, but it feels like the point got lost in the wording. Like Cameron.

    • Luna says:

      Wonder Woman is not human. She is a demi-god or whatever and she has a magic lasso and magic bracelets. (And a magic top [a long-line bra or perhaps literally a bustier] that is made of magic lycra.)

      A human woman with a quick honed-for-fighting mind and not-impossible weapons along with hard-earned skill — that would be a feminist icon. That make me or certainly younger women seek out that same power for themselves. It might make male criminals think twice about being able to overpower a woman.

      WW = neat escapism. But Loki, with his quick mind and, compared to Thor, inferior (Agh, am I saying this?) muscle power — he’s more of a feminist icon than Wonder Woman. Black Widow? Her gymnastics and un-leveraged strength are not believable for a human woman, at least to me.

    • Lwithearts says:

      And he has a massive fetish for ripped women! Alien 2 ‘ Avatar ‘ Sarah Connor …he has a stiffy for muscular babes! We see you James…
      Top of the food chain wanker Will never have insight into this backlash from his comments sadly.

  2. KJA says:

    He’s right about one thing, what he is saying is simplistic and the kind of thing I would have said at 15. Strength in a woman doesn’t mean completly removing anything ‘traditionally’ feminine. Femininity is not automatically weakness. We can have different forms of strength in women-because there is more than one type of woman.

  3. Tanguerita says:

    what a f…king d..k. That’s all I have.

  4. Alix says:

    He should really STFU.

  5. littlemissnaughty says:

    1. Being attractive does not automatically make one a sex object.
    2. James Cameron usually does not cast unattractive women. Does that mean he took none of them and their characters seriously?
    3. The condescension is almost suffocating. They LET a woman direct a big budget action movie? How very noble, how gentlemanly.
    4. It’s really not like his films are all that groundbreaking story-wise. He’s an incredible director and has been a step ahead of most others when it comes to CGI, the technical aspects etc. But … I mean he’s not the most advanced or inspired writer. Solid stories, yes. Entertaining. But groundbreaking? No.

    • ell says:

      ’3. The condescension is almost suffocating. They LET a woman direct a big budget action movie? How very noble, how gentlemanly.’

      it’s letting between brackets, he was being sarcastic about it. he obviously thinks women should direct, and no one should ‘let’ them.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I realize that. But does he mean it? Maybe if they’re unattractive I guess. You can’t make fun of Hollywood being behind the times when you spout such nonsense. The rest of what he said negates his “I’m so above that, OF COURSE I’m pro-female-directors.” You ARE Hollywood.

      • KLO says:

        He used to be married to Kathryn Bigelow. So…….hmmmmm saying he is against female directors is a LITTLE far-fetched.

      • M. says:

        @klo. Yeah, I think he was being sarcastic. Never realized he was married to Kathryn bigelow

    • Ourobo says:

      2. Even when he casts attractive women, he’s nasty to them. His nickname for his lead Titanic actress was “Kate Weighs-a-lot”. Because he’s an idiot.

      • KLO says:

        He probably is a dickwad but I have never gotten the impression that he respects women less than men. Sarah Connor in my eyes is one of the most perfect female characters I have ever seen in a movie. Someone you could actually root for because they actually DO something.

        Rose in Titanic also had a LOT of agency. She chased things and got them.

  6. Lucy2 says:

    This guy. If it’s not exactly the way HE would have done it, it’s wrong. Heaven forbid something be different but also good.
    Though I guess her costume would’ve been OK if she were painted blue underneath, huh?

  7. grabbyhands says:

    We get it, Cameron. You are still a sexist asshat and you realize that you haven’t been relevant for years and this is the best way for you to get attention in advance of releasing more Avatar movies that will be long on effects and short on story just like the first one was.

  8. Jerusha says:

    I cheered when ex-wife Bigelow’s Hurt Locker beat his Avatar for Best Picture in 2008. He’s always seemed like a jerk.

  9. Jenna says:

    Am I even allowed to say that Gal was sweet and brought a certain amount of innocence and wide eyed wonder to the role, but she was not my ideal Wonder Woman. Not to knock her physically, but the bottom half of her body looks underdeveloped. The skirt just sort of flapped on her rail thin legs and nonexistent hips.

    A man is expected to encapsulate the physical expectations for an iconic role (see Brolin training his butt off for his turn as Cable). But Gal gets a pass because pretty/charismatic?

    To further bring out old issues – Angela Basset should’ve been Storm, and Halle Berry – dear God who greenlighted that mess of Catwomam and why are the story lines still running with that rendering (other than the When in Rome series which returned us to vintage Selina).

    I’m nervous about tepid Amber Heard being introduced to the franchise. Natalie Portman was such a weak one note character. Thank god for my beloved Blanchet bringing some MORE in Thor.

    Anyways. Lot to unpack ^^ I just wish they would stop casting pretty popular women in these iconic roles.

    • BaronSamedi says:

      *standing ovation*

      I feel like people are purposefully misunderstanding the very valid points he is making because he is a man?

      Gal Gadot was great in the role. She is also a model and OF COURSE she was cast because she is hot as burning and men would find her attractive. You only have to look at the treatment of Serena Williams to know why she didn’t put on more muscle mass for the movie too.

      It’s a bit disingenious to act as if we don’t all know why the female costumes in all of the comic book movies are skintight and the women in them have model proportions.

  10. Carol Hill says:

    Take a seat, James. There are multiple types of strong, bad ass women out there. You do not get to mansplain it to us.

  11. Kata says:

    Well I kinda agree with him, sort of? Of course you can be brilliant and strong and smart and beautiful and sexy, but Hollywood always casts “conventionally” beautiful women for everything. Wonder Woman is a supermodel, lawyers are supermodels, chefs are supermodels, soldiers are supermodels, factory workers are supermodels, etc. A woman who does not look like Gal Gadot headlining a blockbuster would be incredible, but I don’t think it will happen for a very long time.

    Wonder Woman was groundbreaking in the fact that a woman was finally given a superhero franchise. And I loved the role reversal in which Chris Pine was the damsel in distress.
    But was the movie or the portrayal of the character that groundbreaking? Not so much.

    • Renee2 says:

      To an extent I’m inclined to agree with you, and with Cameron. Although she wasn’t wearing a skin tight bodysuit her outfit was still skimpy. But beyond that, the story centered around her relationship to Chris Pine’s character, and when she sets out to end the war the group that she gathers about her are all men, and she gathers her strength to vanquish the antagonist based on her male love interest.

      Now I do think that JC has a problematic history with women and that these comments are mainly fueled by professional jealousy. But that doesn’t negate the points he is making.

    • Tobbs says:

      I agree with you. Wonder woman was a fine film, an entertaining superhero flick and it was refreshing to see so many women kicking ass in a superhero movie. But there wasn’t any groundbreaking feminism in it and I felt uncomfortable when it was heralded as such. It feels like we’re forgetting the real hard work women (and men) have laid down before us fighting for our rights when we all applaud a supermodel looking-white woman playing a fairly one dimensional superhero character as groundbreaking feminism, patting our back for it. I mean that goes with the genre, superheroes are one dimensional good vs evil escapism. WW was a small, enjoyable step towards equality but show me a black woman with a strong physique like Serena Williams’s being cast as a rightfully bad ass hero and then I will give my standing ovation.

  12. ell says:

    unpopular opinion, but i can see what he’s trying to say (badly).

    i loved WW and loved the way they made her super badass and sweet and kind, because you can be both and it was lovely to see. but i would also love to see women as heroes or anti-heroes or whatever, looking rough or being snappy and unpleasant. i think the point he’s making i.e. that we still have a long way to go when it comes to equal representation, is valid.

    • Naddie says:

      I agree with you and halfly with him. Her beauty was one of the main characteristics, but she managed to bring much more than this, unlike Black Widow and Lara Croft who are the usual female action heroines who are 30% emotion and 70% hot, or the other option, who’s the old damsel in distress. Also, being pretty and hot is really one of the trademarks of Wonder Woman, like it or not, so we really can’t compare her to Ripley or Sarah, who have a more mature and real storyline to start.

    • lucy2 says:

      Reading your comment reminded me that the problem is the numbers. We’re all wanting Wonder Woman to be all things, because there are SO FEW other female superheroes/action stars. We’re left pinning everything onto just her, whereas the men have so many characters to spread those various traits around.

  13. Veronica says:

    Oh yeah, Sarah Connor. She was a real dog there. 9_9 This from a man who stuck breasts on his alien cat women, despite the fact that they acknowledged they weren’t mammalian and it made no sense.

    While I have issues with Wonder Woman’s costume (let’s face it, it’s always been vaguely sexist), she’s probably one of the few cases where her beauty is actually justified by her background. The Amazons are literally immortal women created to soothe humanity’s wars. WW isn’t what I’d call a perfect feminist film, but what makes it great is that while the lead character is beautiful, she’s never objectified. We get flashes of thigh and chest, but never in a way where those aspects of her body are the main focus. There’s no lingering camera shots on her breasts. The only vaguely upskirt shot we get is when she dives into the water to save Steve (and it’s obscured by bubbles). Even with all that skin showing, she’s still given the respect of normal camera angles.

    That’s the difference. It’s not that a woman can’t be beautiful and be powerful. This is Hollywood – we expect beauty. Neither Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill are ugly men, for point of fact. The problem has never been the beauty ideals; the problem has been that women have always been defined ONLY by that beauty. And Diana actually gets to be human – she’s not an object and she’s not perfect and she makes mistakes. I would like to see her get a little dirty and mussed up, but baby steps, dude. Baby steps. It’s not like you’re going to wipe out a hundred years of Hollywood nonsense in one movie.

  14. Nicole says:

    He’s going off this insane idea that women cannot have sexual agency or enjoy sex as much as guys too. Which is stupid. I get the whole “she shouldn’t HAVE to be sexualized to appeal to men” but women are full characters. That includes sexual desires.

    • ell says:

      tbf, sarah connor has a consensual sex scene in the film. i feel like some of the commenters here haven’t actually watched terminator.

    • Tobbs says:

      I don’t feel like that’s what he’s going off at all. I feel like he’s saying that the film was enjoyable, but there’s nothing groundbreaking about having yet another beautiful white woman being sexy and perfect in every way while being a superhero.

    • Naddie says:

      I think it’s more about portraying women as human beings who sweat and look bad during a fight, and who have a raw and real sexuality, like real people actually do. He’s a bit right, but I think this is asking too much for a character who was created to be enjoyed by all ages, children also.

    • KLO says:

      @Nicole have you ever seen Titanic and Rose brazenly and happily flaunting her tits in Jacks face? No?

  15. Bobbymilly says:

    My uterus didn’t enjoy the bloated Winter Wonder Woman.

  16. Lynnie says:

    I have nothing to add except that I was floooooooored when the camera was panning up from her feet and I noticed she was wearing wedges. WEDGES. When I pointed this out to my friend she was all “Oh it’s to make her legs look longer.” As if her supermodel ones didn’t fit the bill 🙄. Little details like that make me see what Cameron meant by action movies immediately turning to 14, 18 sensibilities to sell a character. Don’t get me wrong the portrayal for the most part did a great job, but there’s still a long way to go before actual nuanced portrayals of female superheros and villains (both physically and emotionally) get on the screen. I don’t think that’s wrong to acknowledge.

  17. Serene Wolf says:

    Cameron should stfu!

    For what Freudian reason is he ranting about WW when he is such an abuser if women?

    I’ve read terrible blinds about his misogyny – one where he called Kate Winslett a “fat fuq” throughout the Titanic production. Apparently he was upset that she was thinner when she first auditioned.

  18. Merritt says:

    Interesting how he makes a point to mention that Gal Gadot was Miss Israel but ignores that she was also a soldier and is trained in combat. But that part of her biography doesn’t fit his narrative. Sit down James, Gal Gadot could beat the crap out of you because she was trained in the military to do so.

    • Kata says:

      The fact that she was a soldier gets mentioned quite a lot, but why is it relevant? Like she wouldn’t be cast if she wasn’t? This is Hollywood, only appearance matters.

      • Merritt says:

        1. I’m specifically pointing out that James Cameron ignored it because it didn’t fit his narrative but he made sure to talk about how she was a model.

        2. It matters in this case because in the film Wonder Woman was being trained to fight. She was from an island of Amazons and was training with them.

      • Whoopsy Daisy says:

        Do other actresses who played Amazons in the movie also have combat training? Come on now. Gal would be cast training or no training. Her military past only gets brought up as lip service.

    • lucy2 says:

      Good point, he really did focus on the aspects that suited his argument.

  19. pocket rocket says:

    So about the sequel he’s promoting…. sounds like the female characters don’t count by his own estimation. Definitely not seeing it now, if it ever comes out… in 2020 or whatever

  20. Dana says:

    Wonder Woman’s costume made me cringe a little because it reminded me of what I’ve read about stuntwomen – how performing stunts is often more dangerous for them than for their male counterparts precisely because of Hollywood’s insistence on women looking sexually appealing and feminine at all times.

    For example, stuntwomen basically having to do gymnastics & martial arts in high heels, or skin-tight and revealing outfits that leave their arms /cleavage/shoulders/legs bare, leaving no place to hide protective padding. Since male characters in action movies are way more likely to be realistically and appropriately dressed for intense physical activity, stuntmen also get to be realistically dressed and can be fully padded & wear supportive, stable footwear.

    It’s really kind of screwed up that “women look sexier in heels” is considered a reasonable justification for increasing a stuntwoman’s risk/severity of injury.

  21. perplexed says:

    He did mention Raquel Welch as an example. In context, his opinion about whether or not WW breaks new ground doesn’t seem that terrible. He didn’t say WW shouldn’t exist or that it was a bad film — he simply said he thought the film was a retread of what’s been done in the past, which I think is different from saying a woman can’t be sexy and strong at the same time.

    Maybe he’s not a great guy in private, but I’m simply going by the comments I see on the page. And I do get the sense that some of what he said might have been misinterpreted or looking for a gap he might not have addressed. He did also seem to say women should be given more types of roles, which doesn’t seem like a bad thing to say?

    Personally, and this has nothing to do with James Cameron’s opinion, but I do think more men were interested in Wonder Woman because of how Gal Gadot looked. I’ve heard men talk about her (which isn’t really a thing guys do with female movie stars from what I’ve noticed?), and I do think her attractiveness helps in terms of appealing to both genders from a business perspective. But this is simply what I’m saying, not what James Cameron is saying. Heck, I think women like Gal Gadot because she’s pretty.

  22. Grant says:

    So funny to me that he equates female sexuality with a lack of empowerment when Linda Hamilton won the inaugural MTV VMA for Most Desirable Female in 1992 (back when they still presented that award) … for her role as Sarah Connor … in Terminator 2. What a hack.

  23. dumbledork says:

    If I remember correctly, Sara Conner gets it on in Terminator. And Ripley is seen in her little white tank and underwear in Aliens. Hardly necessary based on what Cameron is saying here. I get his point, to a certain degree. But why hasn’t he come this hard at the other superhero movies then, and their portrayal of women? Why just this film? I think there’s a 10 percent valid point, and just 90 percent being a douchebag here.

    • Artemis says:

      Because Terminator wasn’t supposed to be a blockbuster. It was considered an unexpected hit on a small budget. It was a risky idea and was initially dismissed but once it got made, it made sense to keep the roles of the male hero with the pretty female interest (with the ultimate feminine power: being with child) to ensure success with audiences. It became big and then Cameron flipped the script and introduced a much more masculine Sarah and a softer Terminator (who ‘mothered’ John more than Sarah could during most of the film!) which was a big risk for a now big budget film.

      I agree with the Ripley scene but seeing as most of the film they are in a state of fear, suspense and panic and she’s probably sweaty and dirty towards the end, why would it be considered sexual for this woman to finally undress and shed her professional clothes? To reveal the human being underneath? To try and shed her experience of seeing or knowing the crew die? I see an act of normalcy, not sexuality but I understand the underwear throws people off. However her clothes are not her identity whereas many female superheroes’ identity rely on their clothing and getting it right (WW and her outfit was a BIG deal, Sue Storm, Black Widow, Lara Croft same and many others).

      Ripley is a woman who had to stay calm and professional despite not being liked or taken seriously but she had the burden to keep the people (mostly men) together because they were incompetent and erratic (traits usually reserved to downplay women!). Her taking of her clothes is finally being free of that responsibility and showed her vulnerability for the first time.
      So many female heroes run around in clothes that are inappropriate for the weather or environment conditions and exist purely for the male gaze (under the guise of maintaining authenticity). The fact that people still mention the ‘underwear’ scene is (I think) partly because Ripley was so unsexy and professional throughout the film and didn’t rely on nudity or sexiness so it’s a standout scene which is often misinterpreted. That’s just my opinion though.

  24. Irene says:

    He just doesn’t get it. He’s still basing his opinion on her level of attractiveness. He’s not considering her character, the plot, or the way she was filmed. He’s simply looking at her, deciding she’s f*ckable, and therefore declaring her NOT a feminist icon because he doesn’t actually understand what feminism is. But because he’s a MAN, he thinks he should be able to explain it to all us idiot women.

    And again, this is the guy who ran around the Titanic set calling Kate Winslet ‘Kate Weighs-a-lot’, so he needs to shut the hell up.

  25. annaloo. says:

    We’ve had characters like Sarah Connor (Terminator), Ripley (Aliens), where the film wasn’t playing like a set from a Victorias Secret shoot. We’ve had female action heroes on TV like Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched WW the other night and thought this wasn’t the feminist delivery I’d been sold. Sone good moments, but had there not been so much girl power hype, I would have had lower expectations: I didn’t see WW as groundbreaking. Entertaining, but not groundbreaking. I used to watch Xena the Warrior Queen, and WW felt like it was a little derivative of it. I may get blasted on this thread, but I see what he’s getting at.

  26. Artemis says:

    I…don’t get the outrage. Of course he’s up his own ass as he did do something groundbreaking and he’s reminding people of that. He’s proud of his work and the person involved in that work (Linda H.). But what he said made sense at some level.

    Terminator had a very feminine yet tough woman as the co-lead. Everything was soft and according to the norm. T2 saw the roles reversed and a woman who exhibited stereotypical masculine traits in both physique and personality. It was a complete 180 in an era where women where definitely not supposed to go against the grain. Sarah wasn’t a sex object but there was something sexy about her, Cameron said Linda looked ‘great’, he’s not calling her ugly or saying women should be ugly. He gave his lead woman range, an unappealing personality and a physique that could have turned (male) audiences off. Instead they were intrigued and Sarah Connor became an icon. She did look great with her muscles, sweat and cold personality. Women like that used to get side roles to deliver cool one-liners and being ‘one of the guys’ (making them butch and/or one-dimensional), they are rarely main characters with a real storyline. Look at how they treated Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, nobody was as masculine and unattractive like Melissa’s character yet Melissa is a beautiful woman, big or slimmer! She’s amazing in Spy but her character still got thrown indirect fat jokes at her. Women in Hollywood occupy a certain space depending on their level of attractiveness and personality assigned to that attractiveness.
    Some of the Amazons in WW were ripped but Gal has a soft body, exactly what the norm expects for a LEAD character. Some shots were designed to appeal the male gaze, surely that didn’t go unnoticed? The first shot we got from Sarah Connor was doing pull-ups, seriously having this:
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.digication.com/M3205bee87f841be3db77bc241efdb40c.jpg
    as a female lead was and is still unheard of and we’re 26 years later. I remember Gina Carano was deemed hot in Haywire but people still commented on her thicker body as a negative towards the end of the film.

    In T2 the killer robot was more motherly than the human mother herself but both set out to protect the boy. It was groundbreaking. The fact that she was deemed crazy and in an institution referenced to me how women are stuck in a system controlled by men and their thoughts are not validated until a man decides they are.

    WW was OK but in comparison to other films, it isn’t groundbreaking. And where is the lie tbh, it was clear that WW HAD to do good in order to get a sequel and unfortunately that means they have to have a wide appeal which only works if you meet the status quo somewhere in the middle. And the status quo means you have to appeal to boys and men who can’t feel too threatened. Cameron is fine with her being attractive, he just sees it as still conforming to be successfully commercial even though WW is still powerful without her sexual appeal. Like, I don’t know the big fuss about his comments, we all know it’s true.

  27. seesittellsit says:

    I am trying to remember where and when in The Guardian I read this, but a study was carried out (and what I can’t remember is, by whom, but it may have been the industry itself) and what it found was that young girls (and let’s face it, the audience for the superhero stuff is teens) were turned off by female superheroes if they were de-sexualized (by which I assume is meant, de-feminized). So perhaps what Cameron is referring to is not so much no ground being broken, but, again, the industry responding to what it believes the target audience has demonstrated in the way of preferences. And FWIW, I don’t think Chris Hemsworth got “Thor” because of the depth of his thespian abilities . . .

    There are no more men in the world like Thor than there are women like Wonder Woman, and both are vast extensions of people’s fantasies about gods and heroes, including their attractiveness.

    That’s as far as I can take it.

  28. Izzy says:

    I don’t understand. Was he up for the WW directing gig and lost out? Is that why he’s so butthurt?

  29. babu says:

    Outside of any other consideration about Cameron, I agree with the guy, and I thank him:

    I was 15 when I saw Terminator II in 91. The 1st scene with Linda Hamilton is her slowly doing a pull-up in a prison cell, in fatigues, seen from the back. A female screen character displaying physical strength and self-reliance without a care about her looks before one word was uttered, straight on.

    You have all seen Michelle Rodriguez and plenty others do it since, but this was the first time I saw a woman made to show something else than physical beauty, sexuality or feelings on a screen.

    Because back in the day, beyond, hotties just there to look good in the background or motherly figures of selfless love and patriarchy, remember that the MOST forward depiction of independent women in pop culture were :

    - cutie pies in tight suits doing extraordinary things in a fantasy world (like the old Wonder Woman) you cannot relate to
    - the independent women relying on their looks (Charlie’s Angels)
    - women pretending they are men to break the patriarchy but ultimately need then (Remington Steele), etc.

    But nothing like Sara O’Connor character, ever. And it blew my mind.

  30. angie0717 says:

    Said the ugly man director.

  31. Agent Fang says:

    I was on another forum when I came across a comment that reminded me of this article:

    ‘The problem with so many films right now seems to me to be tied to where the “new” is created and looked for, which is in some “acted” incident rather than as much in character or other more abstract elements of the films. Screenwriting right now in popular films is pretty dreadful, paint by numbers stuff. Where the ‘excitement” is in twisting a visual trope, say in finding some new way to show our hero is a bad ass rather than in really making the hero any different than the thousands that came before him.

    One particularly concerning trend is now in simply switching the gender of the hero but keeping most of the rest of the schtick the same.

    While I certainly believe having a wider representation of the audience portrayed as heroes is an unreservedly good thing in itself, keeping the rest of the toxic crap that surrounds those characters and labeling it now “feminist” or whatever is much more questionable.

    From my point of view the ideal of feminism shouldn’t be so strongly linked to accessing the “masculine” as its own reward, but at least as much about spreading a greater emphasis on the “feminine” to all realms of social interaction like the arts.’

  32. Ruyana says:

    The athleticism of *all* the Amazons was breathtaking. The fight scenes were tough and authentic. I’m pretty angry at Cameron anyway. Who takes 8+ years to put out the second part of a movie series? By the time he gets it in theaters I’m going to need a walker to get there.

  33. So says:

    From his point of view, the Ghost Busters remake should be “ground breaking” (female leads who are not traditionnally beautiful and don’t try to please the male audience). And yet look at all the hate it received…